Raptors Eye the Warriors’ Elusive Championship Title


Courtesy of Sweetwater Music Hall and RaptorsHQ

The Golden State Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, and the Toronto Raptors, powered by Kawhi Leonard, are set to clash in this year’s NBA Finals. Both teams have earned their spots on the world’s biggest stage.

Ajinkya Rane and Jordan Lee

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This year’s NBA season was slated to be a repeat of the last. The Golden State Warriors were still a West Coast powerhouse, and LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers seemed unstoppable. That all changed when James signed a 4-year deal with the Lakers, opening up a spot for a new championship contender.

On the West Coast, the Warriors led yet again with 57 wins, and the playoff favorite Houston Rockets had 53 wins, led by superstars James Harden and Chris Paul. The Eastern Conference saw a change in powerhouses with the Milwaukee Bucks ranking first with 60 wins, led by rising star Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Toronto Raptors, who collected an equally impressive 58 wins, were led by former San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard.

After edging out the Bucks (4-2), the Raptors will face the Warriors in the finals, who swept the Trailblazers (4-0). The Raptors have the home court advantage during their finals matchup, but the Warriors will still look to shut down Leonard with their defensive tank Draymond Green. Green has shown lackluster performance throughout the postseason, but recently lit up with a series of triple-double performances against Portland in the Western Conference Finals.

However, this year is not like the past for the Warriors. The perennial champions have faced injuries such as superstar Kevin Durant’s calf strain, and new signee Demarcus Cousins’ constant knee troubles. Additionally, they’ve faced conflicts off the court, with inconsistent regular season performances from key players such as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and constant scrutiny from the rest of the league.

The Raptors, on the other hand, are looking much stronger offensively. Powered by Leonard’s consistent dominance of opposing defensive players, Toronto is in a crucial position to exploit Golden State’s lack of a defender, who is versatile enough to counter the former San Antonio star’s overwhelming scoring ability. Adding on impactful shooters such as Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet has only bolstered Toronto’s ability to outplay opponents, and this series will not be anywhere near as easy as the Golden State’s past playoff games.

Despite the Warriors’ rocky season, they have played extremely well in the playoffs thus far, and both Curry and Thompson have put up impressive stats.The Warriors are seasoned NBA Finals veterans, and the Raptors clearly have the offensive prowess to end their dominant reign. Only one thing is for certain: this series will be one of the most unpredictable yet enjoyable matchups in NBA history.

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