The NBA Finals showed yet again why it’s one of the premier events in sports on Sunday, as the Golden State Warriors defeated the Toronto Raptors 109-104 in Game 2 to tie the series at one win apiece.
The two excellent squads threw strong punches at each other at various points, but Golden State was able to ward off fatigue and a major offensive drought in the fourth quarter for the win. Andre Iguodala made a three-pointer with five seconds left to clinch the Warriors’ win.
In Wednesday’s Game 3, the series will move from Toronto to Oakland for a Warriors home game (9 p.m. ET on ABC).
There’s definitely reason to believe both teams could win. The Raptors’ defense is top-notch and the Warriors have some injury issues, but Golden State does have a battle-tested roster with a lot of high-IQ players.
Let’s ask some tough questions about this game and then ultimately decide on which lines you should bet on with our Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors Game 3 predictions.
Will Toronto Devise a Non-Traditional Defensive Scheme to Stop Golden State?
The Warriors struggled with the Raptors’ stifling half-court defense for much of the first two games of this series. However, the Warriors really began to catch on to what the Raptors were doing in the latter half of Game 2. When Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were aggressively trapped, Golden State would very quickly get the ball to one of their teammates and then attack the paint for a lob, dump pass for an easy basket or an open three-pointer.
In the fourth quarter when Thompson sat out, the Raptors tried an unconventional box-and-one zone defense that keyed in even more on Curry. It actually worked very well, as the Warriors went several minutes without scoring.
With some other key Warriors returning, the squad will have more personnel to attack that box-and-one, if the Raptors try it again. However, the Warriors showed that they figured out how to beat a simple trap on the perimeter. We will see if Raptors head coach Nick Nurse has another interesting adjustment for his squad.
Will Pascal Siakam Take a Page From Draymond Green’s Book?
Siakam was amazing for the Raptors in Game 1, contributing 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting. However, he came crashing back down to earth in Game 2 with 12 measly points on 5-of-18 shooting. His Warriors counterpart, Green, was excellent in Game 2. Dray contributed 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists on much better efficiency than Siakam.
An issue with Siakam is that he has improved so much as a scorer that it seems he sometimes forgets that he is capable of leaving his fingerprints on the game in other ways. He can energize himself and the team with great one-on-one or help defense, or with a big rebound or nifty pass. Those are all things that Green does regularly. Siakam has the physical tools and the IQ to do those things frequently, as well.
Mainly, though, the Raptors can’t afford to have Siakam shoot that much if he’s not on his game as a scorer. His main priority should be to play well, whether that means scoring five points or 30 points.
How Will the Warriors Treat The Status of Their Injury-Plagued Regulars?
The Warriors have a long list of players with injury concerns after Game 2. Kevin Durant is questionable to return for Game 3 with his leg injury, and Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney both suffered minor injuries in Game 2. DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Iguodala are not at 100 percent with injuries suffered during this postseason run.
If Golden State sees Game 3 as a must-win, the squad will rush Durant back. Thompson, Looney, Cousins and Iguodala will all play their normal minutes, as well. Of course, there is a risk in doing that, because the risk of re-injury for any malady is very high when the original injury is still healing.
Steve Kerr and the Warriors could very well take a more conservative approach here, knowing that the worst that could happen is to be down 2-1. In that case, Durant would sit out again and the minutes of Thompson, Looney, Cousins and Iguodala would all be closely monitored.
Of course, the more aggressive approach improves the odds of a Warriors victory in Game 3, though it’s questionable whether that’s the smart move for the series as a whole.
Our Preview’s Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors Game 3 Betting Picks & Predictions
I think the Warriors’ injuries will benefit from two whole days of rest between Game 2 and Game 3. Also, Golden State has the home opener in its last 12 playoff series. The Oracle Arena crowd will be rocking and help the team’s banged-up players push through their physical limitations.
Toronto’s defense is very good, but I think DeMarcus Cousins’ emergence, the team’s overall passing excellence and the potential of Kevin Durant returning makes me think the Warriors will have a good offensive game.
Coming to the betting tips, our Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors predictions for Game 3 are:
- The Warriors are listed as a 5.5-point favorite with all United States of America betting sites. I advise betting on the Warriors -5.5pts @ -110 with Bovada, BetOnline or Intertops.
- Golden State struggled offensively down the stretch of due to fatigue and some key players being injured, but the Warriors’ home court should spur them on to a big game. You should bet the over 213 total points being scored @ -110 with Bovada, Bookmaker or Intertops.