The Toronto Raptors completed an impressive comeback in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to their first-ever NBA Finals. While the Raptors made franchise history with this appearance, their reward for doing so is a date with the Golden State Warriors, who have won three of the last four titles.
Golden State is fresh off a dominant Western Conference Finals sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers, which they completed without both Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. Durant is currently battling a strained calf while Cousins is attempting to return from a torn quad.
Although the Warriors are favored in the series against the Raptors, the regular-season matchups between the two teams make things interesting.
Raptors vs. Warriors Regular Season Series Record
The Raptors and Warriors squared off just twice during the regular season, with the two games coming within the span of one month. They first met on November 29 in Toronto, a game which the Raptors won in overtime by a score of 131-128. In that game, Golden State was incredibly shorthanded, playing without Curry, Green and Cousins. This led to Durant pouring in a game-high 51 points, although it wasn’t quite enough to get the win.
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Kawhi Leonard posted a big stat line of his own, scoring 37 points with eight rebounds while Pascal Siakam added on 26 points and Serge Ibaka tallied 20 points.
That game was followed up by a meeting on December 12 in Golden State and was an eye-opening win for the Raptors. Toronto left the Bay Area with a 113-93 victory and did so with Leonard sitting out while the Warriors had each member of their core other than Cousins.
So the regular season series went to the Raptors with a 2-0 record, which will help to make the NBA finals matchup even more entertaining.
NBA Playoff Dominance of Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard
While both the Warriors and Raptors have received big performances from a number of players, what Curry and Leonard have done stands out in a big way. After averaging an impressive 27.8 points per game through the first-round matchup against the Orlando Magic, Leonard has averaged 30-plus points per game in the next two series. This includes marks of 34.7 points and 9.9 rebounds in a seven-game series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
As for Curry, he posted averages of 24.7 and 23.8 points in the first two rounds, but following Durant’s injury, it led to the star guard shouldering a huge scoring load. Curry poured in 36.5 points over four games against the Blazers while averaging 8.3 rebounds and 7.3 assists over that stretch.
The play of these two stars will be a major talking point, but each side has a number of players more than capable of creating problems for their opponent.