The Raptors need to close this series in Game 5. No one could have expected the Raptors to take two games at the Oracle. However, now that the Raptors are here, they need to take advantage of the opportunity. The Warriors have come back down from 3-1 before, against Kevin Durant’s own Oklahoma City Thunder. The Warriors are still a championship caliber team, and there is no way around it. Despite going 3-1 down, one should know that the Warriors aren’t going to fold easily. This is a team with multiple championships, the two best shooters of all time and a former DPOY. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry are still a formidable opponent, even without Kevin Durant.
The Raptors locker room is quiet, reserved, again no celebration…. their poise on this stage against this team in this building has been beyond impressive.
— Cassidy Hubbarth (@CassidyHubbarth) June 8, 2019
Now, there is no question that the team isn’t afraid of facing anyone. The Raptors threw a haymaker at the Warriors and now the defending champions are down 2 games. However, if one knows something from watching the Warriors dynasty, it is that it’s never over with them until it’s over. We have all seen Golden State’s drubbing of Portland, despite the Trailblazers holding a lead at half in a lot of those games. The Warriors have two of the best shooters in the game, and they are all players who know how to win. The Raptors aren’t going to be given the title: they have to earn it by going all out.
Not prolonging the series has a lot of benefits beyond just winning the series. Kevin Durant may come back or he may not, but the longer this series is, the longer he has a chance to get healthier. A healthy Kevin Durant + the current Warriors has been a recipe for continued success, netting the Warriors two rings since his signing. They are the most top-heavy roster in the NBA and at full strength are a powerhouse. Ideally, the Raptors do not face that version of the Warriors, and to ensure that they need to take over Game 5. With Kawhi Leonard, one shouldn’t worry. This is a different team. But it is difficult to envision an easier road to winning than winning in Game 5, and closing this once and for all.
With Kawhi Leonard the Raptors have an ace in the hole in any eventuality. This is a player who can make difficult shots from anywhere on the floor, and watch out for the 4th quarter. Kawhi Leonard is staying calm and he just wants to enjoy these Finals and win. In the end, it doesn’t matter. The Raptors have the manpower to defend the Warriors, and they should be equipped to deal with the Warriors with or without Kevin Durant. Maybe he comes or maybe he doesn’t. A good team prepares for absolutely any eventuality. The Raptors are a good team. Therefore it would be foolish to think that Nick Nurse hasn’t prepared them for every eventuality. Let’s see the team close it out.