The Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors continue to exchange punches in this year’s NBA Finals. Golden State won Game 2, but Toronto has now won Game 1 and Game 3 behind superior depth.
In today’s Game 4, the Warriors will get a much needed boost with All-Star wing Klay Thompson and starting center Kevon Looney likely returning from injuries sustained earlier in the season (9 p.m. ET Friday on ABC). The team won’t get Kevin Durant back, but Thompson and Looney coming back would provide a major lift for the Warriors playing at home for the second straight game.
So far in this series, Toronto has clearly been the better team. The Raptors are getting into the paint on offense consistently and mostly keeping the Warriors contained to the perimeter on the other end. Will that continue?
We’ll discuss some major factors facing these squads in Game 4 before deciding how this game will end up from a betting standpoint with our Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors predictions.
Will DeMarcus Cousins Be More Engaged From the Tipoff?
With no Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson or Kevon Looney in Game 3, the Warriors needed Cousins to play at an All-Star level to pull off a victory against a Raptors squad that clearly had more available talent on the floor.
The results weren’t pretty for Cousins: four points, three rebounds, two assists and three turnovers on 1-of-7 shooting in 19 minutes of action. This was especially disappointing considering the strong impact he made in Game 2. On Sunday, he was a force on the glass and in the paint, drawing tons of fouls. He also passed for six assists in 28 minutes. None of those statements were true of him on Wednesday.
Cousins needs to come into this game with focus and intensity, ready to impact the game with his size. Stephen Curry dominated the ball in Game 3, and it seemed like Cousins was forcing shots in the few times he got the ball. Whether or not he gets the ball very much, Golden State’s center needs to play smart in Game 4 and use his size and skill to his advantage.
Can Toronto Keep its Foul Problems in Check?
Despite the Raptors’ 2-1 lead in this series, foul trouble has impacted them in some way in all three games. In Game 1, Marc Gasol had six fouls and Kyle Lowry had five. In Game 2, Lowry fouled out and Gasol and Siakam each had four fouls. Danny Green had five fouls and Gasol and Serge Ibaka had four in Game 3.
Toronto has still played great defense in the series, allowing Golden State to a mere 43 percent shooting percentage from the field. It’s just that the Warriors have a 29.5 percent free-throw rate this series, despite the fact that the Raptors allowed just a 19.0 free-throw rate during the regular season.
The Warriors have knocked down a fantastic 88.1 percent of shots from the charity stripe in this series, as well. Toronto’s defense is aggressive, which is good, but it needs to be careful about overexerting itself in Game 4.
Will the Warriors Make the Raptors’ Shooters Drivers?
Danny Green, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet shot a combined 14-of-25 (56 percent) from three-point range in Game 3. Prior to the game, their average postseason contest had them making 5.1 threes on 14.4 attempts per game (35.2 percent).
Obviously, the number of total makes and high percentage for the trio is impressive. However, it’s notable that their total attempts also was much higher than normal. The trio only took nine combined two-point shots and two shots from the free-throw line, so basically all of its damage came from behind the arc.
In Game 3, all 14 made threes by Green, Lowry and VanVleet were assisted by opponents. It’s clear that the Warriors are having trouble closing out on shooters after the Raptors collapse their defense. Golden State needs to be quicker to jump out to the three-point line, forcing the Toronto shooters out of their rhythm to force either a drive or a different jumper than the shot they would prefer immediately after the catch.
Our Preview’s Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors Game 4 Betting Picks & Predictions
I think the boost of likely getting Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney back will be substantial. As great as Stephen Curry is, it’s not ideal for him to be carrying as heavy an offensive burden as he did in Game 3. Thompson should be able to chip in 20 points or so to help Golden State’s cause and drastically improve the spacing on offense.
Thompson and Looney’s impact will also help on defense. Their presence will eliminate the need to play reserve types like Shaun Livingston, Quinn Cook, Alfonzo McKinnie, Jonas Jerebko, Andrew Bogut and Jordan Bell a combined 103 minutes like they did in Game 3.
Golden State won’t blow the Raptors out, but I do think the reuniting of the Splash Brothers plus the all-around impact of Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala and a better game from DeMarcus Cousins will be enough for a win by several points. So these are our Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors Game 4 predictions for this preview:
- The Warriors are 4.5 or 5-point favorites for Game 4 with the major U.S. oddsmakers. Put some cash down on the Warriors -4.5pts @ -110 with Bovada, Intertops, BetOnline or Bookmaker.
- I see the Raptors’ shooting coming down to earth a bit, and I also see the referees getting a bit less strict on defensive fouls. Thus far, they have been very stingy with contact, which is uncharacteristic for this point in the playoffs. I recommend placing your bet with the under 215.5 total points being scored @ -115 with Bovada. The other firms have a fraction lower points total.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.