The Toronto Raptors are now just one game away from winning the NBA Finals in their first Finals appearance. Will they get it in today’s Game 5, or will the Golden State Warriors keep the series going by making the game score 3-2? (9 p.m. ET Monday on ABC).
The big story around Golden State for Game 5 is whether superstar forward Kevin Durant will play despite his calf injury. He did practice on Sunday, but his status is still questionable. Even if Durant is limited, the Warriors could definitely use his production.
So far in this series, the big difference for the Raptors has been depth. They simply have more players playing well at this point, while the Warriors are relying too heavily on Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. All three have had problems with injuries or inconsistency themselves.
We’ll examine some factors that will determine whether Toronto will finish this one off at home in Game 5. Finally, we’ll offer some advice for betting on the outcome of this game with our Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors Game 5 predictions.
Can the Raptors Keep Forcing Live-Ball Turnovers?
One of the Warriors’ biggest problems in Game 4 was how careless they were with turnovers. The Raptors stole the ball 12 times, compared to just six times for the Warriors. Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins (nine combined turnovers) were big culprits for Golden State with their ambitious pass attempts and forced drives.
Simply put, the Warriors need to be more careful with the ball. More live-ball turnovers means a faster pace, which benefits Toronto’s superior depth. Especially when an out-of-shape Cousins is on the floor, Golden State needs to keep the Raptors in the half court when the Warriors are defending.
All those quick possessions and running from end to end is not going to help maintain the energy level of the Warriors’ key players.
Will the Non-Splash Brother Role Players Hit Threes?
Warriors not named Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson shot a combined 0-of-8 from three-point range on Friday. In a league where three-point shooting is so vital to offensive success, it’s basically impossible to succeed with only two players producing from behind the arc.
To be honest, the Warriors aren’t all that great at shooting threes aside from Curry and Thompson. Getting Kevin Durant back obviously would help this issue, but Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, DeMarcus, Quinn Cook and Jonas Jerebko (if he plays) all need to be focused and ready to shoot in Game 5.
If Golden State once again has to rely solely on Curry and Thompson for outside shooting, that’s a recipe for disaster. The Raptors have Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam all as potential threats from three-point range.
Will the Warriors’ Starters Get More Minutes?
This is a key question whether or not Kevin Durant plays in Game 5. If Durant plays, that helps solve Golden State’s depth problems quite a bit since he might be able to take on 30 minutes or so even in his injured state.
However, there’s still major issues. Quinn Cook, Alfonzo McKinnie, Jonas Jerebko and Andrew Bogut are not players who are good enough to be in an NBA Finals rotation, but they have all played quite a bit. Shaun Livingston is well past his prime and arguably belongs in that group, and DeMarcus Cousins in his reduced state doesn’t warrant a lot of minutes.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr needs to realize the significance of his situation and just play Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all at least 43 or 44 minutes. Iguodala should be close to that, too.
Potential fatigue and foul trouble could make things tough for Golden State, but the Warriors’ key players need to power through and play almost the entire game if they plan to win on the road.
Our Preview’s Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors Game 5 Betting Picks & Predictions
The Raptors just have so many players playing well right now, and I’ve officially given up on the Warriors’ depth pieces providing any sort of consistent impact. A limited Kevin Durant very well could push Golden State over the hump, but I’m not going to count on it.
With many Toronto players thirsting after that first ring of their careers, I see them pulling out this win on their home floor. Here are the Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors predictions for this Game 5 preview:
- The Raptors are very slight favorites with USA sportsbooks across the internet. My recommendation is take the Raptors -1.5pts @ -110 with Bovada.
- Toronto’s identity is based around its defensive excellence right now and the Warriors don’t have the depth of offensive options to put together many big scoring runs. Put your money on the under 214.5 total points @ -110 with Bovada. The other firms have a slightly 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.