Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, May 31, 2019 at 12:00 AM
THE 2019 NBA FINALS
RAPTORS ROCK-N-ROLL TO GAME 1 WIN AS 118-109 TRIUMPH MARKS TORONTO'S FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN /COVER THIS POST-SEASON
Okay, so hockey will always be the national sport North of the Border but a whole country tuned in and was turned on by Game 1 of the NBA Finals with last night's electrifying 118-109 win / cover by the Toronto Raptors (- 1.5) over the two-time defending league champion Golden State Warriors.
Hey, who needs pucks, anyway?
The bottom line is the Raptors - who entered this best-of-seven series at + 240 to win it all (the Warriors were - 300) - sure didn't show any stage fright in their own backyard here in this series opener and the resounding win gave Toronto five consecutive wins /covers in these playoffs while dating back to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals versus Milwaukee.
P.S., Toronto is now 8-3 ATS (against the spread) as hosts in this year's post-season ... another reason that "Jurassic Park" has been a nuthouse this spring!
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the NBA Playoff Conference Finals winners after winning game one with the Raptors and losing the UNDER. We continue with Sunday's Game 2 clash between the Golden State Warriors at the Toronto Raptors. Get the Sides & Totals in all the showdowns in this best-of-seven series plus get all the Major-League Baseball winners too at 1-800-323-4453.
THE NBA FINALS
TORONTO 118, GOLDEN STATE 109 - Raptors lead series 1-0 / Game 2 is Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Granted, the Raptors' home success in this year's playoffs probably has not received as much attention as it deserves but still ... raise your hand if you thought the fact that Toronto wound up the Game 1 betting favorite seemed a tad strange to you.
Okay, so the Las Vegas price bounced around a bit in the days leading up to Game 1 - some locales actually had Golden State a 1-point fav for a brief time - but when all the dust settled it was pretty standard stuff that the Raptors were either a 1- or 1.5-point favorite and they were clearly the "right side" here even though megastar Kawhi Leonard (23 points but just 5-of-14 field-goal shooting) was far from the best player on the court. No, that went to lead-pipe cinch "Most Improved Player" Pascal Siakam who poured in 32 points in 39 minutes while going 14-of-17 from the floor with 8 rebounds and 5 assists. And don't forget this dude's defense either.
In fact, when you watched all the post-game coverage on ESPN and/or NBA Network, you got the sense that Toronto's defense and Golden State's lack of transition defense really were the keys to this Game 1 bash plus Siakam was just better than anyone out there. Gotta say, though, that none of the "analysts" made a fuss about Toronto's late first-half run that really busted things open 'cause G-State was within shouting distance despite playing uneven ball for the game's first 22-or-so minutes but Siakam, Leonard and big man Marc Gasol (20 points / 7 rebs) - plus key reserve G Fred VanVleet (15 points and a + 11 on the night matching Leonard and G Kyle Lowry) -- simply lifted their games and made it a 59-49 game at the half and things never did get all that much closer.
The Warriors' Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green wound up with a collective 65 points - remember our Jim Sez Game 1 preview said they had to get their composite playoff average of 60 ppg in order for Steve Kerr's club to win - but who knew the bench would be a minus 6 overall and that Golden State would surrender some 24 fast-break points plus commit 16 turnovers ... ugh!
Kerr was miffed big-time afterwards - he ripped his club in a late-game huddle - and Warriors' backers are pretty miffed too considering this three-time-champ-in-the-last-four-years is a rotten 7-9-1 ATS this post-season and, ladies and gents, that includes a lackluster 4-4-1 spread log away ... remember when the Warriors were ultra-pumped to strut their playoff stuff on the road in recent years?
That wasn't the case here in Game 1 where - aside from Curry - this club didn't play smart, didn't play inspired and didn't play with a swagger. Maybe Game 2 will serve as a wake-up call for the Dubs. Catch our Jim Sez Game 2 preview in tomorrow's Jim Sez and make sure you're cashin' all series long.