Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Raptors do have a distinct chance tonight to go up 2-0 on the Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals. Am I jinxing the entire endeavour by thinking and writing this way? It’s possible. Or maybe the Raptors are just that good, and the Warriors just that compromised, to make my way of thinking not just possible, but probable.
We’ve been seeing a lot of unlikely things lately. Outside the arena, legions of people are currently (and voluntarily) wearing Burger King-style paper crowns sponsored by New Balance that say “King of the North” on them. This is not something anyone could have predicted back in, say, November. Meanwhile, inside the arena, the Raptors are feeling confident. I’m projecting of course, but can the idea be proven wrong? Unlike the Raps of the past, this squad knows how to stay the course better than before, and is able to bounce back or build on past performances better than they ever have in all the years of their existence. Having Kawhi Leonard as your bedrock does a lot for a team in that regard. (Also, add the possible return from OG Anunoby tonight into the “unlikely but possible” folder; we weren’t sure we’d see him until Game 4 as recently as four days ago.)
Still, the Warriors. Without Kevin Durant, Golden State still managed to close out two wins on the Houston Rockets and then follow that up with a murderous sweep of the ascendant Portland Trail Blazers. Those teams were confident too, and probably felt there was a window of opportunity there in the absence of Durant. Is Toronto better than those two squads? Well, they’re in the NBA Finals, which counts for something — but, in truth, they are also playing that waiting game. A 2-0 lead here before heading west would be huge, especially if Durant is true to his proxy word and apparently set to return sooner rather than later.
In any case, that’s a problem for another day. Right now the Raptors have to contend with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and whatever else the Warriors can scrounge together. They’re still quite dangerous in their current form, and it would be best not to take them lightly — my loose talk in this post excepted.
If you’re looking for a longer take, here’s Satbir Singh with the full Game 2 rundown from this morning.
Now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch:
TSN at 8:00pm EST
Toronto – Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Golden State [Updated] – Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins?
DeMarcus Cousins, I'm told, is being moved into the Game 2 starting lineup by Warriors Coach Steve Kerr— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 2, 2019
Toronto - OG Anunoby (appendectomy – probable)
Golden State – Kevin Durant (calf – out)