Watch NBA Finals 2019 live stream Golden State Warriors make history or can the Toronto Raptors complete their charmed run? Our writers predict the winner, key players and dark horses for the championship tilt For reasons no one needs to know—seriously, don’t worry about it—I watched the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the 2019 Eastern Conference finals at the Cheers bar in Boston. My friends and I were casually rooting for the Bucks, mostly because I cannot physically rest until extravagant and globally televised vengeance rains upon every enemy of the Philadelphia 76ers. (I was, however, rooting for Marc Gasol to have a good game, since he comforted our big man in his time of sorrow and I will remember and honour this fleeting act of human kindness until the day I die.)
If only to understand how and why they too are spending a Saturday night watching a basketball game at a tourist-trap bar based on a syndicated television show, it is customary to talk to the person sitting next to you at the Cheers bar. Our neighbour was a former Marine from South Carolina who was rooting for the Raptors, mostly because he’d been following Kawhi Leonard since seeing him play years ago at a San Diego State game and he had every reason to believe this was finally Leonard’s superstar-making postseason run. Fair enough. And so we and this stranger spent the next half hour cheering at different times, yes, and our moods were quite different upon leaving the bar, but even in such a polarised situation we were able to find some common ground. “Do you at least believe that Drake needs to chill?” I asked this man toward the end of the game. Oh yes, he said, without hesitation. Absolutely.
Before the evening of May 21, 2019, no shoulder massage in history had ever created more net tension in the world than it alleviated. And then, with nine and a half minutes to go in the fourth quarter of Game 4, popular musician and non athlete Aubrey “Drake” Graham snuck up behind Raptors head coach Nick Nurse like an entitled little Reiki elf, gave two vigorous rubs to his deltoids, and then—before Nurse’s face had a chance to register any awareness that this happened—exited frame to cause god-knows-what kind of untelevised mischief.
FULL NBA FINALS SCHEDULE — GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS VS TORONTO RAPTORS
Game 1: Golden State Warriors @ Toronto Raptors — Friday, May 31 (11am).
Game 2: Golden State Warriors @ Toronto Raptors — Monday, June 3 (10am).
Game 3: Toronto Raptors @ Golden State Warriors — Thursday, June 6 (11am).
Game 4: Toronto Raptors @ Golden State Warriors — Saturday, June 8 (11am).
*Game 5: Golden State Warriors @ Toronto Raptors — Tuesday, June 11 (11am).
*Game 6: Toronto Raptors @ Golden State Warriors — Friday, June 14 (11am).
*Game 7: Golden State Warriors @ Toronto Raptors — Monday, June 17 (10am).
With Durant set to miss at least one game of the Finals, the door is open for Curry to remain the key scoring option for the Warriors. He’ll face a tougher defensive assignment — likely Kyle Lowry, in a scheme that will switch a lot — but the greatest shooter in NBA history looks like he could be in a position to win his first Finals MVP award.
There’s a reason why a legitimate case can be made that Kawhi Leonard is the best player in the world.
His offensive exploits in these playoffs have been incredible, and he remains the most effective perimeter defender in the NBA. He showed all of it off in the Raptors’ conference finals matchup against the No. 1 overall seeded Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 29.8 points per game, while guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo perhaps as good as anyone can.
The superstar wing has been dealing with a leg issue for the past week, but has still managed to keep his production up. The Raptors will more than likely have to lean on Leonard for the bulk of what they do on both ends; will fatigue catch up to him, or will he solidify his place as the best player on the planet?
Outside of Curry, no-one has benefited more from Durant’s absence than Draymond Green.
He’s focused on finding his shot, has been pushing the ball a lot more, and is as engaged as ever on the defensive end. This impressive play actually began as soon as the postseason did, but, with Durant out of the picture, Green has just looked revived.
A lot of the Warriors’ offence goes through Green, so look for him to either be creating in transition, or as a short roller, but the other end of the floor is where his impact should really come to light. There’s a chance Green will be tasked with some of the Leonard assignment, while his versatility on that end will likely be the catalyst for the Warriors’ identity; a team that can get stops and push the ball quickly.
How well Lowry shoots the ball can be a barometer for how well the Raptors perform on any given night.
The point guard struggled from downtown in the second round of the playoffs — shooting just 23.4 percent — before lighting it up in the conference finals, connecting on 48.8 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
In the two regular season matchups against the Warriors — both Raptors wins — Lowry made his mark as a facilitator, so look for that to come to the forefront again, but all eyes will be on whether he can continue his impressive form from downtown. His matchup against Curry will also be important; can he slow down the two-time MVP?