By DANIEL WATERS
NBA Finals Information
The Toronto Raptors’ gamble on Kawhi Leonard has paid off. They have advanced past the Milwaukee Bucks, securing a spot in the NBA Finals. There the Raptors will face off against the Golden State Warriors, who have been to the Finals in five consecutive seasons. Since Toronto had a better regular-season record than Golden State, they will possess home-field advantage for the series. Game 1 will be held in Toronto and televised on Thursday at 9 PM Eastern on ABC.
Personal NBA Finals Prediction
Until proven otherwise, the Warriors are the undisputed best team in the NBA. Even though Golden State has looked relatively vulnerable this year compared to others, they still finished with the third best regular season record. This is especially impressive when you consider that the Warriors’ head coach, Steve Kerr, has publicly stated that his team does not care about the regular season. Golden State’s focus and intensity took some time to adjust to postseason play, but it was evident in the Western Conference Finals where they beat the Portland Trail Blazers 4-0. In that series, they battled back from being down by 15 points in three different games while limiting Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Toronto, by contrast, was all-in on a title from the beginning of the season, finishing with the second-best record in the NBA and beating the Warriors twice in two games. As of late, the Raptors have played excellently, but momentum is not a factor with the first game in the series being so far away. The rest of Toronto’s postseason has been shaky, particularly in their series with the 76ers. Philadelphia took the Raptors to seven games and lost on a clutch buzzer-beater from Kawhi Leonard. In my opinion, the Raptors do not have enough experience winning big games to best the Warriors in a seven-game series. The only way for Toronto to win is to lock up the series before the return of Kevin Durant and Demarcus Cousins. Based on how well the Warriors have played without those two, I do not see it happening. Warriors in 6
Stanley Cup Information
The Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues will be playing a best-of-seven series to determine who takes home the Stanley Cup. Both teams have dominated in the regular season and in the playoffs, but Boston had a slightly better record in the regular season meaning that they have home-field advantage. Game 1 will be played in Boston on Monday, televised at 8 PM Eastern on NBC.