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Can banged-up Warriors keep the Raptors down, laying 5.5-points at Oracle in game 3?

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Golden State earned a series split in Toronto but is dealing with injuries, favored by 5.5-points as the NBA Finals shift to Oakland.

2019 NBA Finals - Game Two
DeMarcus Cousins had an outstanding performance in his second game back from quadricep injury.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

After game one of the NBA Finals, knee jerk reactions indicated that the Golden State Warriors wouldn’t be able to win Finals games or beat the Toronto Raptors without Kevin Durant, that Steve Kerr giving DeMarcus Cousins so much playing time in his first game back from serious injury was a lapse in judgment, Andre Iguodala was too badly hurt to make plays and the Warriors’ bench was too ineffective and lacking in defensive intensity to revitalize the true spirit of Strength In Numbers.

It turns out that those reactions and many of us underestimated the heart of a champion and the Warriors’ toughness, and now Golden State has stolen home court advantage with their 109-104 win at Toronto, though they are contending with multiple injuries as the series shifts to Oracle for game three.

Here we discuss the game three odds and analysis from a betting perspective:

When: Wednesday June 5th, 2019 at 6:00pm PST

Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, California

TV: ABC

Line: Warriors -5.5, o/u 213.5

Injuries: Kawhi Leonard (knee) is probable and OG Anunoby (appendix) is questionable for the Raptors.

Klay Thompson (hamstring) and Kevin Durant (calf) are questionable and Kevon Looney is out for the Warriors.

Toronto Raptors

As expected when a regression to the mean occurs, Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol did not continue to shoot like Larry Bird and Tim Duncan, respectively, and it proved to not be necessary or optimal to keep trapping Kawhi Leonard on each of his offensive touches and leaving his teammates open like the Grand Canyon.

Not unlike how the Warriors defended Kawhi in game one, the Raptors went all out to stop Stephen Curry in the fourth quarter of game two and at the end it left Andre Iguodala open for the dagger.

The Raptors were able to turn on the defensive intensity in the fourth quarter but missed a lot of open shots, failing to fully dig themselves out of an unbelievably carved, third quarter hole and defend their home court, but one should expect that they will come out swinging in game three.

Toronto is led by Kawhi Leonard with 30.9 points, 1.5 steals and 9.1 rebounds per game, Kyle Lowry with 6.4 assists per game and Marc Gasol with 1.3 blocks per game in the playoffs.

2019 NBA Finals - Game Two
Kawhi Leonard scored 34 points in game two.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Raptors are 48-53-1 against the spread (ATS), 53-48-1 to the over/under, 14-16 ATS after a loss, 11-8 ATS as an away underdog, 9-15 ATS with 2-3 days off, 8-16 to the over/under with 2-3 days off, 13-17 to the over/under after a loss and 14-15-1 to the over/under as an away underdog this season.

Toronto has an offensive rating of 109.0, defensive rating of 103.8, pace factor of 95.9 and are 11-9 ATS and 7-13 to the over/under in the playoffs, 1-1 ATS and 1-1 to the over/under in this series so far.

Golden State Warriors

Even after Kevon Looney and Klay Thompson went out of the game, the Golden State Warriors showed the heart of a champion and that the spirit of Strength In Numbers is alive and kicking as long as Steph Curry and Draymond Green are active because their presence facilitates the whole Warriors team being greater than the sum of its parts.

Steph’s influence on this team and Golden Age of Warriors basketball cannot be overstated, inspiring future hall-of-famers to play through pain and have his back through thick and thin.

And while Steph may be the face of the franchise and draw the most defenders, the Warriors don’t come this far in the playoffs or win game two in Toronto without Draymond Green, as he has been the most potent and consistent force in these playoffs for the Warriors, a leading Finals MVP candidate.

Among players most likely active for game three, the Warriors are led by Stephen Curry with 27.4 points per game, Draymond Green with 9.9 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 1.6 blocks per game, tied with Klay Thompson with 1.4 steals per game in the playoffs so far.

2019 NBA Finals - Game Two
Draymond Green was an assist short of another triple double in these playoffs.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Dubs are 43-55-2 ATS, 49-51 to the over/under, 29-38-2 ATS after a win, 19-28-1 ATS as a home favorite, 14-12 ATS with 2-3 days off, 20-28 to the over/under as a home favorite, 13-13 to the over/under with 2-3 days of rest and 38-31 to the over/under after a win this season.

Golden State has an offensive rating of 116.9, defensive rating of 111.1, pace factor of 98.4 and are 8-9-1 ATS, 11-7 to the over/under in the playoffs, 1-1 ATS and 1-1 to the over/under in this series so far.

Analysis

When Steve Kerr started the fourth quarter of game one with DeMarcus Cousins in his first game back from a quadricep tear, Quinn Cook and Jonas Jerebko on the floor while trailing the Raptors, some of us wondered why Kerr would get cute and use the first game of the NBA Finals as a feeling out process and a time to test things out.

It turns out the instant-gratification needing, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately insisting masses are too short-sighted and reactive to respect and see that Kerr was playing chess and not checkers, planning for a marathon and not a sprint and his investment in Cousins and Quinn Cook in game one paid huge dividends in game two.

Quinn Cook led all Warriors in scoring in the second half with some clutch three point shooting.

Even Andrew Bogut made solid contributions in the second half of game two with three alley-oop finishes.

Those who have disparaged and questioned Steve Kerr’s coaching have lost touch with the reality that Kerr inherited a team from Mark Jackson and helped them truly understand how the individual sometimes needs to sacrifice for the good of the team, how a team-first attitude manifesting in ball movement, moving without the ball and defensive intensity could take them to the next level, how there can be strength in numbers; and Kerr was fortunate to have also inherited players in Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson whose natural skill set and capacity for altruistic play are the perfect core for this culture.

It’s because of this culture that the Warriors were able to explode for a classic third quarter trucking, going on an 18-0 run that effectively broke the Raptors spirit, one that also doesn’t happen without Klay Thompson’s uncanny two-way ability. It’s because of this culture that the Dubs were able to turn on the defensive intensity in the second half, holding the Raptors to 21 and 24 points in the third and fourth quarters, respectively. It’s because of this culture that the Warriors assisted on 34 of its 38 field goals and on all 22 of their field goals in the second half.

The Warriors had 29 to the Raptors’ 25 assists in game one and 34 to the Raptors’ 17 assists in game two, and Kerr used 12 players to the Raptors’ 9 players in game one and 11 players to the Raptors’ 8 players in game two while defensive adjustments helped to drop the Raptors effective field goal percentage from .591 in game one to .431 in game two.

As exemplified by the injuries sustained up to this point and the physical play that led to them, the NBA playoffs and Finals are a war of attrition and even though the Warriors are banged up, their culture, coaching and players are designed to win this battle.

We fully expect the Raptors to come out swinging and highly physical in game three, possibly leading to the Warriors being down at half for the sixth straight game with potential value in taking Toronto +3 for the first half of game three, especially with Klay injured and Kevon Looney out, though Klay says he will play.

As the playoffs go deeper, we anticipate more physical play and attrition manifesting in tired legs that can affect jumpshots in the fourth quarter, as seen in the jumpers falling short and decreased scoring by both teams in the fourth quarter of game two, making it difficult to lay 5.5-points at this stage of the playoffs between two variably banged-up teams that also emphasize championship caliber defensive intensity.

But game three at Oracle will be pumped for its first contest of these Finals, one of the few remaining ever at the arena, and considering the experience these Warriors have on this stage, as perfectly displayed on the faces of Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston in the moment in the twitter video below, we can only predict that the Warriors win game three, barring any significant injury to Klay and with DeMarcus being able to stay healthy with more minutes to come in Looney’s absence.

Due to concerns about Looney being unavailable, Klay’s injury and the Warriors ATS record as a home favorite this season, we would avoid betting the full game spread before the tip and would instead consider a strategy of waiting until the game starts and if the Warriors are down a significant amount of points at any time, recently it’s been in the second quarter and halftime, and then betting the live spread or taking the moneyline with good odds, but only if Klay is active and good to go.

The pace factor for game two was 100 in a Warrior win, up from 93.6 in the Warriors’ loss in game one. Toronto started beating Milwaukee when they slowed the pace and the Raptors are likely to try and slow down the pace of games which, when taken together with the expected defensive intensity and tired legs, raise our expectations of lower scoring games, making us lean toward under 213.5 points for game three.

Poll

What is your best bet for Warriors vs. Raptors on 6/5/19 in game 3?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Warriors -5.5
    (199 votes)
  • 30%
    Raptors +5.5
    (159 votes)
  • 11%
    Over 213.5
    (62 votes)
  • 20%
    Under 213.5
    (109 votes)
529 votes total Vote Now