The wait is finally over. Tomorrow we get underway in Game 1 of the NBA Finals!
Toronto secured the rights to face off against Golden State after defeating Milwaukee in a tense 6 game series. Kawhi Leonard was near unstoppable as he managed to get what ever he wanted, while also locking down the soon to be named MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
He showed everyone why he has been the best player in the NBA Playoffs.
You couldn’t help but get emotional looking at what this win meant for Toronto. Watching Kyle Lowry break out one of the biggest smiles you’ll ever see in the closing seconds of the game, while flashing to the scenes of Jurassic Park outside the arena, it was like the Raptors had won the NBA Championship.
But on court, the players knew this was only half the job done. They brought Kawhi in to help them compete for a championship, and they’ve got home court advantage to help them this series, something the Warriors have never faced in their historic championship run.
The trade of Kawhi Leonard for DeMar DeRozan brought about plenty of scrutiny. Loyalty was questioned within the team, and Kyle Lowry had just lost his best mate for a 1-year rental. But this rental could all be worth it, as he’s clearly shown the difference between a really good player (DeRozan) and an absolute superstar/closer in Kawhi.
That brings us to Game 1 on Friday.
Golden State have freshened up after sweeping Portland, and any niggling injuries will have been sorted out by now. There’s still no signs of KD (who you wouldn’t imagine to take any part in Games 1 and 2 at the very least), and DeMarcus Cousins is still in doubt, there’s never been a better time for the Raptors to take full advantage of the situation at hand.
There’s one more key injury coming into this series and if he doesn’t play any part in this series, the North could be crowned NBA Champions.
Andre Iguodala is enormous for the Warriors. He or Klay Thompson will get the job on Kawhi, and they’ll need every bit of their defensive brilliance to stop a man who’s just been able to get anything he wants lately.
Portland couldn’t hold onto big leads against Golden State in the Conference Finals, and you’d like to think if the Raptors have the chance, this team of veterans aren’t letting leads like that slip away.
While Portland had the talent, they’re lead guards are also incredibly streaky. They didn’t have a Kawhi Leonard, who not only was a bucket getter in the conference finals, but the perfect game manager to get his teammates wide open looks due to his outstanding play.
The public seems to think this series is over in 4-5 games, as Golden State are simply that good. But they’re depleted. Toronto have enough tools to take advantage of their weak bench. Enforcers like Ibaka and Gasol have been around the traps long enough and have waited for this moment (particularly Gasol), through the grit and grind days in Memphis.
This series will go at least 6 games, and Toronto must win game 1 to show the world they are legit and can knock the Warriors off their perch.
If you thought Jurassic Park was wild in Game 6 of the conference finals, we haven’t seen anything yet!
Enjoy the ride it’s going to be a cracker!