This is an interesting NBA Finals. Raptors are in it for the first time ever after getting Kawhi Leonard in the offseason (wow great move, huh). The Golden State Warriors are looking to “Threepeat” without Durant for the time being, who was the best player in the playoffs before he got hurt. Durant in 11 games averaged 34.2 ppg, on 51% FG, 42% 3 PT, 90% FT, and 5.2 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.2 spg, and a block per game. Of course Golden State still has Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and a very motivated Draymond Green, so it’s not like they don’t have great weapons. They also have DeMarcus Cousins back for the series.
The question is can Kawhi overcome this all star team, Leonard has been the best player in these playoffs other then Durant arguably. Kawhi in 18 games has averaged 31.2 ppg, on 51% FG, 39% 3PT, and 88% FT, to go with 8.8 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.6 spg, and half a block per game. So again the question is can Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, and even the Fred Van Fleets of the world, continue to provide enough support, for an all time great player to topple a dynasty?
Kawhi Leonard had one of the most dramatic game winning shots in NBA history with the quadruple bouncer in game 7 at home against the 76ers. It was his 39th shot of the ball game! He almost single-handedly beat the uber talented albeit notably flawed Sixers. He had little help from the bench in that series although Kyle Lowry played better then he’s known for playing in the past, (Lowry averaged 13.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 6 apg in the Philly series) and Gasol held up against a noticeably exhausted Embiid. Siakam struggled at times, but still contributed 19.4 ppg, and 6.1 rpg. Leonard took over in the end, and won that series.
He then went on to win the duel with Giannis Antetokounmpo and defeat a less experienced Bucks team. Giannis throught the playoffs in 15 games averaged 25.5 ppg, on 49% FG, 33% 3 PT, and 64% FT, 12.2 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.2 spg, and 2 blocks per contest! There were some fluky things that happened in this series like Van Fleet going 7-9 from 3 PT land in Game 5, and the double OT win for the Raptors in which Giannis only scored 12 points. All in all the bench stepped up enough for Kawhi, and the Bucks players were not able to knock down enough open shots to counter Toronto double and triple teams on Giannis (Mirotic shot 19% from 3 PT, Bledsoe 17%, Lopez, 31%). Key shooters went cold for the Bucks in this series, and Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and other role players including Norman Powell(12.3 ppg, 42% 3PT. and Van Fleet 9.7 ppg, 57% 3 PT) stepped up and took advantage of every opportunity.
The Warriors shooters probably are not going go as could as Milwaukee’s did. Kawhi will need to continue his dominant play. Durant could potentially return to play hero if this series goes further then 5 games, which it will if Leonard has anything to say about it. If Curry can’t beat Toronto (Curry in 12 playoff games is averaging, 27.3 ppg, on 45% FG, 39% 3 PT, 94% FT and 6.3 rpg, 5.6 apg) The rest of the Golden court will do their best to protect the throne, and they may mean some sort of Game 7 Durant vs Leonard thriller…One can only dream!