NBA Finals: A Look Inside the Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors

Not a lot of people are surprised that the Golden State Warriors have reached the NBA Finals for a fifth consecutive season. However, there are people that are surprised that the Toronto Raptors have reached the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

The NBA will have an intriguing finals this season and it will begin on Thursday night in Toronto. The finals were very poor in the last two seasons. I think it will be a lot better this season. A lot of people are expecting Golden State to take care of business and win an NBA title for the third consecutive season.

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It would be the first time since the 2000-2002 Los Angeles Lakers that a team in the NBA would win three championships in a row. The only reason why there is some speculation why the Warriors may not three-peat this season is because of how dominant Kawhi Leonard has been this postseason and how good defensively Toronto is.

It is unknown whether or not Kevin Durant or DeMarcus Cousins will be available for the NBA Finals. If one of them becomes available, it will be a major bonus for Golden State.

Possible Finals MVP for the Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, or Kevin Durant (if available).

Some possible Finals MVP for the Toronto Raptors: Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, or Pascal Siakam.

Possible X-Factors for Golden State: Shaun Livingston, Kevon Looney, or Andre Iguodala.

A couple of possible X-Factors for Toronto: Danny Green, Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol, or Norman Powell.

The series itself: (W1) Golden State Warriors vs (E2): Toronto Raptors

The Toronto Raptors finished with a 58-24 record during the regular season and the Golden State Warriors finished with a 57-25 record during the regular season. Toronto beat Golden State twice during the regular season and one of those games was when Kawhi Leonard did not play. That is something that can not be ignored heading into this series. It shows that the Raptors are a better basketball team than people give them credit for. Toronto plays stifling defense. They played a pack-line defense (matchup zone) against the Milwaukee Bucks and it worked. I think they could do the same to the Warriors and it could cause problems for them. Kawhi Leonard will be looking to win his second championship in his NBA career and his first since 2014 with the San Antonio Spurs.

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Toronto has more veterans on the team than people think. Other than Kawhi Leonard, they also have Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, Danny Green, and Kyle Lowry. They have a good mix of young players and veterans and this is their best chance to win the NBA Title. OG Anounby might be returning in the finals and it would be a big deal for them. He has not played since April 9 because of an injury. Anounby will provide some key defensive minutes off the bench.

In saying that, it will be tough to knock off a team that has won six straight games and also back-to-back championships in the Golden State Warriors. They also have that championship pedigree for a reason. Steph Curry and Draymond Green will continue to play at a high level. In spite of Kevin Durant still being out due to injury. I think having home court advantage will be a big deal for Toronto. Especially if this series goes to a seventh game. The pick: Raptors in 7.

How do you feel about the upcoming NBA Finals? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Glenn on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

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