Game 6, 3-2 Raptors
Well, this has become very tricky for me. I didn't plan to bet this game cause I didn't see this game being played at all. I expected Raptors to take the job done last time. But, it didn't happen, GSW won and now it's tricky from betting angle. Tricky cause this now smells on Game 7 but there is no any reason to back the Warriors.
I know Game 7 brings huge money but are Raptors really care about that? Of course not. NBA itself is with big interest to we see Game 7 but honestly this is not Serbian league where referees clearly have instructions to favor one team. NBA is still serious competition and I don't want to take into consideration rumours about sure Game 7. I must take into consideration only facts from the court and there for me Raptors are better of these two teams.
Brief analysis of Game 5. IMO only some unfortunate circumstances led to Raptors' loss. Plus couple unbelievable bad decisions by Raptors' head coach, Nick Nurse.
Firstly, I said in preview for Game 5, Durant playing is only plus for the Raptors. And I am sure about that even more after what happened. I am sure his injury in mid 2nd quarter was crucial point. With him playing till end, Toronto would easily win. Yes, he scored few from downtown as everyone expected but come on, the guy was injured, seriously injured, even light training was big risk for him. He wasn't able to play defense, as I expected and as game would going on, Raptors would heavily take advantage of that. Every jump was risk for Durant. I saw on pregame warming, he scored 5 straight 3-pts from different positions, but without real jump shot, only slight jump and every time keeping his injured leg in the air and landing only on the left leg. And when game started, after mentioned several great shots, he got injured on simple change direction, without any contact.
That was crucial thing IMO. In that moment Cousins entered the floor. Interesting fact about Cousins was that Stev Kerr obviously didn't plan to use Cousins at all. That's 100% sure. Cause, even Bogut entered the game before him (and before Durant injury) and that was clear indicators that Kerr finally after several terrible games, decided to write off Cousins.
Also Cousins's face on the bench was clearly telling he is not going to play. But, after Durant got injured, Cousins entered the game and in one such mood where he was extremely motivated, he had by far best minutes in entire series. This was something like 6 minutes till HT and for that time he scored 9 pts out of which 7 pts I think were straight, plus some assists. And for me exactly Cousins was the key, and we are talking about guy who wouldn't play at all if Durant didn't got injured.
How much Durant wasn't helpful (in defense first of all but also in offense he would be stopped sooner or later), we could see by the fact that Warriors were up 14 pts deep into second half already for long without Durant. But I knew Raptors are going to make comeback, after all they did it so many times this season and they are probably the No.1 team in making big lead in very short period of time. Here it was such case so Raptors from -14 went on +6, so 20 pts difference in not to big interval.
And then we are coming to other crucial point and that was something for what Raptors could blame only themselves, to be more correct, all blame is on Nick Nurse. Namely after Kawhi Leonard went crazy and all alone made 10-2 series and Raptors took 103-97 lead and then also played good defense and took the ball, Nick Nurse decided to call time-out??? So, on only 3 minutes left on the clock, after your team is on amazing run, in one great momentum, and is 6 pts up and your team also has ball possession while opponent completely lost the compass, you call the time-out. Ridiculous. And what happened after it? It happened that Raptors didn't use the possession after it, in fact they were without points in four straight possessions after it while GSW in their own four possessions have scored 3 times 3-pts and once Cousins had dunk but that was overruled due to offensive goaltending. And just like that, from +6, Toronto is on -3. Only then the Raptors scored (in 5th possession after time-out) and were 1 point down with 30 seconds left. Cousins made illegal block and gave the ball back to Raptors with 15 seconds left. Raptors have one more time out, but what Nick Nurse is doing? Nothing, he decided not to take TO. And Raptors played terrible possession. Kawhi was doubled, so had to give the pass back to Fred who started panicking, in last seconds decides to give the pass to Lowry in the corner but that was so bad shot, I think it was air ball, maybe even blocked shot and time expired. If they at least took the shot few seconds earlier, there would be time to send Warriors to free throw line and then with Time out left to inbound the ball from Warriors half court. This obviously was the reason why Nick Nurse didn't take time-out on 15 seconds left, to have another chance if they miss, but in such case Raptors had to attack the basket much earlier.
In any case, very very very bad coaching from Nick Nurse late in the game, it was so bad that it is unexplainable. No one, from coaches, former players, tv analysts, no one was able to figure out what Nick Nurse was doing.
And why all this is important? Because to people realize how GSW have won the game that they clearly should lose. Something like this won't happen again. Cause, except mentioned ridiculous final 3 minutes, Nick Nurse was doing good job and IMO he outsmarted Steve Kerr during entire series. And I mentioned how Kerr didn't plan Cousins to play Game 5 at all, so one more bad decision. I don't blame him cause everyone saw Cousins sucks, but obviously leaving him on the bench was mistake which Cousins showed after Durant's injury.
That being said, probably Cousins is going to have a lot of playing time in Game 6. But IMO, today we are going to see bad old Cousins how he was in entire series before Game 5.
I really don't see how GSW could win. Ok, in defense now they could look better than they were early in last game with Durant but on offense they won't be so dangerous like early in Game 5 cause now they are going to be pretty predictable. Curry will take too many shots. Even when he scores around 50 like in that one of previous games, that's bad for GSW offense cause all other players are out of rhythm while Warriors need much more than only Curry and Thompson to have big games.
For me this is Raptors' around 10 pts victory. But let's take the points and don't make mistake from previous game. In fact I didn't lose even back then cause as mentioned in that preview, with probable Durant playing, odds are moving against Raptors and my advice was to wait till tipoff. At the end I took +1.5 pts which was in fact widely available even in the time of post, I don't know why I didn't chose that for pick but went with Money Line.
In any case, let's now cut the risk and take this few available points on the Raptors just in case we see again some drama ending and Warriors prolonging series to Game 7 with one possession win. When you think more deep about it, maybe such scenario would be the best. GSW wins but handicap bet on Toronto cashes and then super strong pick on the Raptors in Game 7.
But hardly it's going to happen such scenario. IMO Raptors are going to win tonight. For me as mentioned earlier, GSW are done. Their era finishes this season, if not tonight, in 7th game for sure. Let's be completely honest. Kevin Durant and all other problems that Warriors have had, that's not excuse. Don't forget Kawhi Leonard's knee but he and Raptors don't talk about that. Plus, just remember last season. If Chris Paul wasn't injured, the Warriors' era would already be history.