After an entire season of action, the 2019 NBA Finals matchup is finally set, as the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors will take on the Toronto Raptors, who are making their first Finals appearance in franchise history.
Though the Warriors were the top overall seed in the West and the Raptors were the second seed in the East, the Raptors will have home court advantage in the series as they finished the season with a better regular-season record (58-24) than the Warriors (57-25).
The two teams played twice during the regular season — once in Toronto and once in Oakland — and the Raptors won both times, though both games were before the calendar flipped over to 2019. As one of the most talented teams in league history with ample Finals experience, the Warriors enter the matchup as heavy favorites.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 2019 NBA Finals between the Warriors and Raptors.
No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 2 Toronto Raptors
How to watch Game 1
- Date: Thursday, May 30
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Scotiabank Arena — Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- TV channel: ABC
- Streaming: WatchESPN
- Live stats: GameTracker
- Odds: Raptors -1 (Over/Under 215)
Finals series schedule
*All times Eastern
- Game 1 (at TOR): Thursday, May 30, 9 p.m. — TV: ABC
- Game 2 (at TOR): Sunday, June 2, 8 p.m. — TV: ABC
- Game 3 (at GS): Wednesday, June 5, 9 p.m. — TV: ABC
- Game 4 (at GS): Friday, June 7, 9 p.m. — TV: ABC
- Game 5* (at TOR): Monday, June 10, 9 p.m. — TV: ABC
- Game 6* (at GS): Thursday, June 13, 9 p.m. — TV: ABC
- Game 7* (at TOR): Sunday, June 16, 8 p.m. — TV: ABC
All games during the Finals will air on ABC.
Odds and Analysis
Check Sportsline’s NBA pick sheet for all your daily odds.
Warriors: Golden State enters the series with the chance to make major NBA history by becoming one of the few teams to complete a three-peat. The future is uncertain for the Warriors, but they seem determined to maximize the present. Their biggest concern heading into the series is the health of Kevin Durant, as it is not yet known if he will be able to play in the Finals — at least the start — but at the end of the day, they could very well still take care of business without him.
Raptors: Just making the Finals can be viewed as a victory for the Raptors, who have never made it there before in franchise history. It can also be viewed as a victory in terms of the team’s efforts to keep Kawhi Leonard around long-term. The team couldn’t have made a much better pitch in terms of on-court product, even if Leonard did have to do a lot of the heavy lifting himself. Like the Warriors, the Raptors also face an uncertain future, but this season couldn’t have gone much better.
Matchups to watch
- Toronto’s backcourt vs. Splash Brothers: How well Toronto’s backcourt is able to control — and keep up with — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will go a long way toward determining the outcome of the series. If the Raptors are able to get some consistent production on the offensive end and dedicated defense from their rotation of Kyle Lowry, Danny Green and Norman Powell, they will give themselves a chance. If not, this one could get ugly quickly.
- Superstars vs. health: The Finals should be a showcase of two of the best two-way perimeter players that the game has ever seen in Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, but both are hobbled by injury issues. Durant missed the entirety of the Western Conference finals following a calf strain that he suffered against the Houston Rockets in the second round, and his status for the Finals remains uncertain. On the other side of the floor, Leonard has been bothered by his own lower leg injury, though he has continued to play through whatever it is exactly that is ailing him. Ultimately, the Raptors need Leonard more than the Warriors need Durant, but how these players are impacted by their injuries will be something major to monitor over the course of the series.
- Battle of the benches: We know all about the stars and starters in the series, and those players will be relied on heavily, but both teams will also need big bench boosts in order to seal the deal. The Warriors will need guys like Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKinnie to step up and make plays, while the Raptors will continue to need legitimate production from Fred VanVleet, Powell and Serge Ibaka. Whichever team gets more production from its contributing players will have an advantage.
Warriors in six: The Warriors are four wins away from their third consecutive NBA title, and though the Raptors represent some stiff competition, ultimately Golden State will walk away with the hardware. The Warriors have both the talent and the experience to overcome virtually any opponent in a playoff situation, and heading into the Finals they appear to be clicking on all cylinders, despite the injury issues that they have dealt with throughout the postseason. Steph Curry looks as good — and confident — as he has in recent memory, and the same could be said for Draymond Green. Also, Klay Thompson seems to be playing with a chip on his shoulder, and being snubbed from the All-NBA teams should only add to that.
The Raptors might be able to take a pair of games from the Warriors in the series, due to the fact that Kevin Durant will miss at least one game, and that Kawhi Leonard has been playing arguably the best basketball of anyone in the playoffs. Ultimately, though, Golden State’s combination of talent and experience will prove too tough for Toronto to overcome. (Courtesy of Michael Kaskey-Blomain | cbssports.com)