Raptors Still Best Bet to Win NBA Finals Despite Game 5 Loss
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Toronto Raptors fans and NBA Finals betting fans who picked them to upset the Warriors may be feeling a little nervous after Game 5.
The Warriors staved off elimination with a 3-point barrage on Monday night, earning a 106-105 victory and forcing a Game 6 in Golden State.
But fear not. The Raptors are still in control and oddsmakers feel the same way.
Toronto is still -286 to win the Finals, ironically the same number Golden State was at the beginning of the series.
The Warriors are +230 underdogs after winning Game 5 but losing Kevin Durant to a devastating Achilles injury.
Here’s why you should still be confident in Toronto.
Raptors Remain Confident with Odds in Their Favor
There doesn’t seem to be much panic coming from the Toronto locker room. Just as they were stone-faced after winning Game 4 in Golden State, the experienced Raptors remained focused after a deflating loss on their home floor.
As they should. Even with the Game 5 win by the Warriors, the Raptors are still overwhelming favorites to win one of the next two games.
Consider that teams leading 3-2 in a best-of-seven series go on to win 84.4% of the time (260-48).
In 2019, teams leading 3-2 have a 5-1 record, including two series wins from Toronto against both Philadelphia and Milwaukee.
Updated projection for the #Raptors-#Warriors series after tonight's win by the Warriors to bring the series to 3-2. The Raptors have an 83 percent chance to win the NBA Finals: pic.twitter.com/G9x0mvj79J— Jacob Goldstein (@JacobEGoldstein) June 11, 2019
No team has ever lost a playoff series after being up 3-1 while winning Games 3 and 4 on the road. The Raptors would be the first of 31 teams to take that lead in that fashion and blow the series.
Also, teams leading 3-2 in a best-of-seven series. Essentially all historic trends point to the Raptors being just fine.
Warriors Were Lethal in Game 5, Barely Won
One quick glance at the Warriors’ box score from Game 5 would have led one to believe Golden State had won in a rout.
Twenty 3-pointers, 27 assists, a near-triple-double from Draymond Green, 57 points from the Splash Brothers and 23 bench points.
Those 20 3-pointers were the most in NBA history for a road team in the Finals and the Warriors had 20 points off turnovers.
And yet, the Raptors were one shot away from winning the game. Toronto was sloppy, committing 13 turnovers at home, going 8 of 32 from beyond the arc and tallying just 19 assists on 38 made field goals.
Kawhi Leonard was inefficient (9 of 24) and Pascal Siakam was quiet (12 points, 4 rebounds).
The Raptors should feel good that they withstood all that and were in it until the end. In fact, a 12-2 run put them up 103-97 with 3 minutes remaining.
That was about as well as the Warriors could have played, and they barely pulled out their first of three required victories.
Injury Bug Reappears for the Warriors
The Warriors looked like a different team in Game 5 while Kevin Durant was on the floor. Durant, in his return from a month-long absence, had 11 points on 3 of 5 shooting in 12 minutes.
The Warriors led by as many as nine with Durant in the lineup and were up five when he suffered his Achilles injury.
A healthy Durant certainly could have turned the series, but now the Warriors are once again shorthanded against a fully healthy Raptors team.
Consider, too, that Kevon Looney reaggravated his chest injury and could miss Games 6 and potentially 7.
Looney doesn’t have star power but his presence was critical for a Warriors defense that hasn’t had the kind of success they’ve enjoyed in previous years.
Without Looney, and obviously Durant, the Warriors are a different team, and one that the Raptors had figured out in the first four games of the series.
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are still standing upright, and DeMarcus Cousins could play an X-factor role, but the deflating feeling from the Warriors locker room in the wake of Durant’s injury could be too much for the two-time defending champs to overcome.