2019 NBA Finals Preview: Game 6

Will Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors bring home the title after Game 6 of the NBA Finals? Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi

By Da’Vince “Dino” Wright

Game Info
Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors
Thursday – June 13 – 8:00 p.m.
TV: ABC
ORACLE Arena – Oakland, California

Series Records Before the Game
Toronto Raptors 3-2
Golden State Warriors 2-3

Game 5 Recap
Golden State 106 – Toronto 105
KD was the spark that the Golden State Warriors needed. His timely 3-point shots opened the floor for Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors hit their first five 3-point attempts and rocked the Raptors from the opening tip. KD went down with the same calf strain that kept him out for the beginning games of this series, which was later revealed as a ruptured Achilles. In the latter part of the 3rd and midway through the 4th quarter Kawhi Leonard went on a tear and his team followed. The Raptors defense fell short of protecting the three point line and it cost them. The one point win on the road gave the Warriors the swag they need to play Game 6 at home. Let’s take a look at the game for both teams.

Toronto Raptors
Toronto has to be focused on rebounding and shot selection. At critical times of the game Pascal Siakam forced some bad shots. Kyle Lowry also took some ill advised three pointers with no board coverage that gave GS +12 on the open floor. This team can’t give up easy buckets complaining to the referees about missed calls. Transition defense leaves players no choice, but to foul stopping fast break plays because a player took a bad shot and didn’t get back on defense isn’t the best strategy either. You can`t give a wounded team any confidence especially when you’re not playing defense. Toronto has to be a bit more physical on the defensive end as well. You will see a different team in Game 6.

Golden State Warriors
I wrote Golden State off! Kevin Durant’s spark in Game 5 changed the landscape of the series. He scored 11 point before being injured. His play gave his team confidence on the defensive end as well. There were no free baskets in the time he was on the floor, but on offense his play allowed spacing for Klay Thompson and Steph Curry to run to open spots hitting 3’s in open spaces. When KD went down with the injury, the Warriors struggles began again. No spacing on offense and points given up in the paint went from -10 to +12 in a quarter and a half. In order to force a seventh game, Golden State has to play defense. Easy layups keeps the Raptors close leading into the 4th quarter in every game. Defense will be key for winning Game 6 at home.

Prediction
I was totally wrong about the heart of champion. Golden State never gave up after being down by seven points late in the fourth quarter. I remember years ago when Steph Curry said, “It’s good coming back to Cleveland. I can still smell the champagne in the locker room!” I wonder if that statement will bite him in the end. I’m taking Toronto by 6. Hopefully the Raptors will leave a champagne scent in Oracle.

Final Score
Raptors 113
Warriors 107