NBA

The Toronto Raptors are on the road as they take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals Thursday night. The teams split the first two games in Toronto with the Raptors taking Game 1 118-109 before Golden State answered with a 109-104 win in Game 2. Toronto swept Games 3 and 4 at Golden State, winning 123-109 in Game 3 and 105-92 in Game 4 to take a 3-1 series lead. With their backs to the wall, the Warriors won a back and forth affair in Game 5, hanging on for a 106-105 win Monday night to extend the series.

There have been many challenges to the Golden State Warriors during their five seasons atop the National Basketball Association, but none have required the grit and determination the present situation now presents.

The Warriors have been down 3-1 in a series during their five-season run of excellence, overturning that deficit against Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016 Western Conference finals before having the trick turned on them in the finals that year by LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

No one expected the Golden State Warriors to have an easy time in their bid for a fourth title in five years in facing the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals, but the degree of difficulty for them continues to increase.

With Klay Thompson expected to return but Kevin Durant still out, the reigning NBA champions look to even this series at two games apiece Friday night while also guaranteeing one more and final contest at Oracle Arena.

Now that they have home-court advantage, the defending champion Golden State Warriors look to utilize it Wednesday night in their first game at Oracle Arena in 20 days as they host the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

The Toronto Raptors may have won Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but they also know it will mean nothing without protecting home court again Sunday night against the Golden State Warriors in Game 2.

That is the number that stood out to Warriors coach Steve Kerr to start his two days of stewing from Thursday night’s Game 1 loss. Twenty-four was the number of points Golden State allowed in transition, the most by any opponent this postseason.

Having made history as just the second team in history to reach five consecutive NBA Finals, the short-handed Golden State Warriors begin their bid to be the first team to “three-peat” in 17 years as they open the championship series Thursday night against the Toronto Raptors.

Having wrested control of the Eastern Conference finals by dealing the Milwaukee Bucks their first three-game losing streak of the season, Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors get their one chance at home to close out the series in Game 6 on Saturday night to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

Home court and bench play have carried almost all of the Eastern Conference series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors thus far. The Bucks look to reclaim the upper hand in both areas Thursday night in a crucial Game 5 that will have the winner one game from a date in the NBA Finals opposite the Golden State Warriors. The Raptors clearly needed their bench to deliver after Sunday’s double-overtime Game 3 victory, and they did just that in Tuesday night’s 120-102 romp that evened the series at two games apiece.

It took everything the Toronto Raptors had to get their first win of the Eastern Conference finals, which also begs the question: How much do they have left in a bid to even their series against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night? If the Bucks can take any positives from just their second postseason loss in 12 games, it was that the Raptors needed double overtime to defeat them with Giannis Antetokounmpo having an off game on the offensive end of the floor.

On the verge of becoming just the second team in NBA history to reach five consecutive NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors look to finish off the Portland Trail Blazers and complete a sweep of their Western Conference final series.

The last two games have been near-mirror images for the Warriors as they have started slowly and trailed Portland by double digits at halftime before turning it on in the third quarter to roar by the Trail Blazers.

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