Not that fans needed it, but due to the way the Eastern and Western Conference Finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs worked out, everyone receives a few extra days to prepare for the championship. There are no playoff games tonight, Monday, May 27, thanks to the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors’ strong showings in the previous round.
With the Warriors sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals, they’ve had plenty of time to rest and prepare for the NBA Finals. Golden State was also able to sit back and watch how the Eastern Conference Finals played out, as the Raptors got the job done in Game 6 to close out the series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Following the semifinals matchups, it means the Warriors are set to head to their fifth-straight NBA Finals while the Raptors are making their first appearance in franchise history. In a piece of info that’s likely tough to hear for Bucks fans, Monday would have marked Game 7 of the series, and set up a win or go home matchup to decide which team met the Warriors.
We’re going to take a look at the NBA Finals schedule and offer up a prediction on the series.
NBA Finals Schedule & Preview
The Raptors will receive five days to prepare for the Warriors after closing out the series on Saturday night. On the other side, the Warriors will come in refreshed and possibly a bit more healthy, depending on how things go with Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. It hasn’t been revealed yet if either player will return at the start of the NBA Finals, but the team has until Thursday, May 30 to decide.
Here’s a look at the NBA Finals schedule, per Sports Media Watch.
|Thurs., May 30||Warriors vs. Raptors Game 1||9 p.m. ABC|
|Sun., June 2||Warriors vs. Raptors Game 2||8 p.m. ABC|
|Wed., June 5||Raptors vs. Warriors Game 3||9 p.m. ABC|
|Fri., June 7||Raptors vs. Warriors Game 4||9 p.m. ABC|
|Mon., June 10||Warriors vs. Raptors Game 5||9 p.m. ABC|
|Thurs., June 13||Raptors vs. Warriors Game 6||9 p.m. ABC|
|Sun. June 16||Warriors vs. Raptors Game 7||8 p.m. ABC|
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The series will begin in Toronto thanks to the Raptors finishing the regular season with a slightly better record than the Warriors. With this being the first appearance in the championship for the franchise, the atmosphere should help create an incredible opener on Thursday night.
NBA Finals Prediction: Warriors vs. Raptors
The Warriors received major love from oddsmakers once the NBA Finals matchup was revealed. It was expected that they would be favored to take the title, but it appears many people don’t view it as being a series that will wind up incredibly close.
As Odds Shark revealed, the Warriors opened at -300 to win the championship while the Raptors were +250. Some places have already seen those odds increase quite a bit.
Although the Warriors should have the firepower even if Durant and/or Cousins are unable to play for the bulk of the series (or possibly all of it), I think the Raptors make this a good matchup. Unfortunately, the play of Stephen Curry paired with Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and a few others will be tough to overcome, even with Kawhi Leonard playing at an unreal level.
I’m going to take the Warriors to win the series, but to get it done in six games.
Prediction: Warriors defeat Raptors in six games