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Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant made his series debut in game 5, with the Warriors happy to have him back as he and the team got off to a scorching start. It felt like they would win Game 5 easily when disaster struck early in the second quarter as Durant went down with an apparent achilles injury and wouldn’t return. Golden State showed their championship mettle by staying focused after trailing most of the second half to come back and getting the victory in a must win game.
Keys to the game
On offense, Toronto must not get enamored with jacking up too many three pointers because most of their success has come off attacking the rim. They need to move the ball and make the extra pass for the best shots and stay away from that one on one hero ball. Not only must the Raptors win the turnover battle, they must make Golden State pay by turning them into points.
On defense, the Raptors must use their length to contest shooters and not give up too many open shots. They also need to keep their fouls low to prevent the Warriors from scoring off free throws. Toronto has to control the back boards to limit Golden State’s second chance opportunities.
Offensively, Golden State needs to use player and ball movement to their advantage and create mismatches. They must dominate from three point range and use it as a weapon to go on scoring runs. The Warriors have to keep their turnovers to a minimum to prevent Toronto from scoring in transition.
Defensively, the Warriors have to keep the paint clean and not allow the Raptors easy access to the rim. They can’t afford to put Toronto on the free throw line where they are making them at a high percentage. Golden State must finish their defensive possessions by securing the ball and not giving them extra possessions.
The x-factor for Toronto will be Pascal Siakam and Danny Green. When Siakam is scoring efficiently, it takes the pressure off Kawhi to score big and opens the floor for his teammates. Green has the ability to stretch the floor with his shooting and makes it harder to double off him.
The x-factor for Golden State will be Demarcus Cousins and Andre Iguodala. When Cousins is engaged on offense, he’s another threat and third option to keep the offense balanced. Iguodala must be aggressive to keep the defense honest and had a knack for hitting big shots.
Prediction-Golden State made it back home to see another game and won’t waste the opportunity. The crowd will be super hyped and the team will feed off that energy to get off to a good start. The Warriors will win a close one to force a Game 7 back in Toronto.