The NBA Conference Finals concluded in a span of five days, as the Golden State Warriors swept the Portland Trail Blazers exactly a week before Memorial Day to earn their fifth consecutive NBA Finals berth, and was followed up five days after that with the Toronto Raptors eliminating the league-best Milwaukee Bucks to earn their first ever NBA Finals berth.
And now that the aforementioned Conference Finals have concluded, the NBA Finals kick off, with Game 1 between the Warriors and Raptors set to occur tonight.
The matchup is listed via the bullet point below:
- #1 Golden State Warriors Vs. #2 Toronto Raptors-One streak ended once the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated from the Western Conference playoff race, and that was the consecutive of NBA Finals (eight) appearances by one LeBron James. However, another streak remains intact, and that is the amount of consecutive NBA Finals appearances for the Golden State Warriors with that total being up to five now. The Raptors, on the other hand, have had their best season in franchise history, by erasing a 2-0 series deficit against the Bucks to of course earn their first ever NBA Finals berth. And the catalyst for them to get this far has been Kawhi Leonard, the league’s best player on both ends of the floor. Leonard is no stranger to facing the Warriors in the postseason, as he had the San Antonio Spurs (his former team) rolling against them in Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals before he suffered a series-ending ankle injury, by way of that dirty play made by Zaza Pachulia. As much of a class act as Leonard is, I have the feeling that the competitor in him will use that as extra motivation against the Warriors, a team whom is resembling the 2014 Miami Heat, in terms of the likely end of a superstar’s stint on that team and the fact that they look somewhat mortal now. The common thread against both that Heat team and this Warriors team is Leonard, who I expect will play with extra motivation. He was the catalyst in ending the Heat’s reign as NBA champions in 2014, and he will play a similar role five years later as a member of the Ratpors. The Cleveland Cavaliers won their first ever NBA championship at the expense of the Warriors in 2016 in an NBA Finals series, which marked the only time that the reigning two-time champs lost a playoff series in the Steve Kerr era. The Raptors will win their first one at the expense of the Warriors as well in five games, the same amount of games that it took the Spurs to dethrone the Heat. And just like that series, Leonard will win Finals MVP.
Well, that’s it for this edition of Steve Believes. I’m not exactly sure when I’ll be back blogging about sports again. However, it will be before September 4, 2019, as that’s the eve of the 2019 NFL regular season. So with that being said, keep checking this page, as well as The Nog for updates. So long for now, everybody!