Golden State Warriors forward Jordan Bell (2) goes up to shoot against Portland Trail Blazers forward Meyers Leonard, left, during the first half of Game 4 of the NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference finals, Monday, May 20, 2019, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors are waiting to see which Eastern Conference city they will have to travel to when they begin the 2019 NBA Finals. 

By clinching the Western Conference berth in the NBA Finals Monday, the Warriors earned nine days off before Game 1 of the championship series. 

Since the NBA Finals have a set date on which to start, the beginning of the series is not dependent on how long the Eastern Conference Finals last. 

Although we do not know if the Milwaukee Bucks or Toronto Raptors will advance to play Golden State yet, we are aware that the winner of the Eastern Conference holds home-court advantage in the next round. 

                     

NBA Finals Schedule

All Times ET 

Game 1: Thursday, May 30, 9 p.m. 

Game 2: Sunday, June 2, 8 p.m.

Game 3: Wednesday, June 5, 9 p.m.

Game 4: Friday, June 7, 9 p.m.

Game 5: Monday, June 10, 9 p.m.

Game 6: Thursday, June 13, 9 p.m.

Game 7: Sunday, June 16, 8 p.m.

All games will be broadcast on ABC and live-streamed on Watch ESPN and the ESPN app.

                       

Will the Warriors Have Durant For NBA Finals? 

As speculation continues to run wild about Kevin Durant’s future after this season, the 30-year-old is attempting to recover from his calf injury for the NBA Finals.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, all signs point to DeMarcus Cousins being closer to cleared from his injury layoff than Durant. 

Durant dominated the first two rounds of the playoffs before going down with a calf injury in Game 5 against the Houston Rockets. 

Ben Margot/Associated Press

There is no debating Durant’s presence on the court will help the Warriors in their bid for a fourth title in five years, but the team has done well for itself in his absence.

Without Durant, the Warriors took care of Portland in four games, with Stephen Curry emerging from a slow playoff start to average 36.5 points per game in the series. 

Klay Thompson and Draymond Green accompanied Curry in stepping up to play a larger role in the team’s success in the Western Conference Finals. 

The Warriors also received key contributions from Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie off the bench to soften the blow of the Durant injury.

However, there is one concern about the Warriors that Durant would be able to fix. The Warriors had to erase a double-digit deficit in three straight games versus Portland.

While they proved they can come back from a losing position, the Warriors will not want to be in that situation in Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals against a team that is more well-rounded than Portland—especially if it is Milwaukee who comes out of the East. 

But containing a group of players, led by Curry, that enters the NBA Finals in terrific form is going to be a tough task for either Milwaukee or Toronto.

And with everyone else on the Golden State roster playing well, it is hard to imagine the Bucks or Raptors stopping the defending champion if Durant slots back into the lineup.

                           

East Winner Has Home Court On Its Side

Milwaukee and Toronto have defended their respective home courts well through the first four games of the Eastern Conference Finals. 

Whichever team makes its way out of the East to face the Warriors must benefit from its home-court advantage in the first two games in order to have a shot of upsetting the defending champion.

The Bucks recorded a 33-8 mark at Fiserv Forum in the regular season, while the Raptors went 32-7 at Scotiabank Arena. 

Milwaukee’s only slip-up at home in the playoffs came in Game 1 of the second-round series against Boston, while Toronto is 7-2 on its home floor in the postseason. 

But the East winner must be wary of Golden State’s success on the road. The Warriors went 27-14 on their travels in the regular season and picked up six road victories in the first three playoff rounds. 

Golden State’s rest will also play a factor in Game 1 since it will be going up against a team from the East with at least five fewer days of rest. 

In the previous four seasons, the Warriors have entered the NBA Finals on similar rest as the Eastern Conference champion. 

A year ago, the Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers both played seven games before advancing to the NBA Finals. 

                    

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90





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