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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 12:00 AM



There's a new "D" word in / around the Bay Area ... and it ain't "Dynasty"!

Nope, following Friday night's rock-solid 105-92 win by the 5-point underdog Toronto Raptors over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, the "D" word in these parts stands for "disaster".

Remember the Warriors entered this best-of-seven NBA Finals as a monster betting favorite - most books had the Dubs at - 300 (you took back + 240 with Toronto) - and most "in-the-know" prognosticators were quick to tell you that Golden State should wrap up the series in five or six games.

Surprise, surprise!

Now, it's the Raptors who can win their first-ever NBA title come Monday night - in five games, no less - and it's Canada's finest hoopsters that have cashed three-of-four wagers in this series and how about the fact Toronto's a slick 7-1 ATS (against the spread) ever since Game 3 of its NBA Eastern Conference set versus Milwaukee?

In yesterday's Jim Sez, we warned you that Golden State was only a modest 3-2 ATS when coming off a SU (straight-up) playoff loss this post-season - make that 3-3 ATS now, folks - and the Vegas number-posters "half-wayed" it by making Golden State a 5-or 5.5-point betting fav for Game 4 with the Warriors welcoming back smooth stroker Klay Thompson (that was expected) and also big man Kevon Looney (that was not).

In the end, G-State didn't take advantage of a rotten shooting first half by the Raptors - they couldn't hit the proverbial broad side of a barn and yet only trailed 46-42 at the halftime break - and so it's shaping up as a series in which the better team-plus-points formula worked wonderfully with Toronto cashing in both Game 3 and Game 4 (see our chart below) and now the $64,000 question is will we ever get to a Game 6 back in Oakland ... or will the Raptors wrap it all up by about 11:45 p.m. Eastern time come Monday night.

Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the NBA Playoff Conference Finals winners continuing with Monday's Game 5 bash between the Golden State Warriors at the Golden State Warriors. Get the Sides & Totals in all the showdowns in this exciting best-of-seven series plus get all the Major-League Baseball weekend winners when you check with us right here at 1-800-323-4453. Okay?



On Friday night, it was ... TORONTO 105, GOLDEN STATE 92 - Raptors lead series 3-1 / Game 5 is Monday at 9:07 p.m. ET, ABC

Let's not lose sight of what really happened here in Game 4:

The Warriors were on an emotional high with the Oracle Arena crowd in a heightened "sense of urgency" for the better part of the first half but Toronto megastar Kawhi Leonard (see 36 points / 12 rebounds) simply wouldn't allow Golden State to put any real scoreboard distance between the two teams. Boom ... right outta the third-quarter starting gate, Leonard banged home a pair of triples and off went the Raptors to a 37-point quarter along with plenty of breathing space throughout a rather anticlimactic fourth quarter.

Leonard was brilliant and he was clutch but he wasn't the lone star here as PG Kyle Lowry (7 assists but it seemed like more) and reserve Serge Ibaka (20 points on 9-of-12 shooting) shined against a very tired, very dejected Warriors team that lost its cool - Draymond Green could have / should have had more than just the one technical foul - and didn't play with the heart shown in that Game 3 loss without Thompson (team-high 28 points in Game 4).

Sure, it didn't help Golden State's cause that Stephen Curry - off that 47-point performance in Game 3 - had nothing in the tank with just 2-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc and he finished a minus 11 on the game and so the series-long absence of Kevin Durant has indeed caught up with a Warriors' club that is now a crummy 4-7-1 against the odds since May 3rd.

Here's the 2019 NBA Finals game-by-game results between the Raptors and the Warriors. Note home teams are in CAPS below:

5-30TORONTO- 1.5Golden St118-109
6-2Golden St+ 2TORONTO109-104
6- 5Toronto+ 2.5GOLDEN ST123-109
6-7Toronto+ 5GOLDEN ST105-92



TORONTO 13-9-1 (59.1%)
GOLDEN STATE 8-11-1 (42.1%)



The NBA Draft - set to take place on Thursday, June 20th in Brooklyn - is supposed to be a lead-pipe cinch as to whom the first three players will be as Duke's Zion Williamson (to New Orleans), Murray State's Ja Morant (to Memphis) and R.J. Barrett (to New York) have been practically written in stone. But we keep hearin' rumblings that the Los Angeles Lakers will deal off the fourth overall draft pick and both the Cleveland Cavaliers at #5 and the Phoenix Suns at #6 are ready/willing/able to trade their picks with Boston said to be very interested in gobbling up one of those 4-5-6 draft selections ...

Two risers on the NBA Draft board are Gonzaga PF Brandon Clarke and UCF giant Tacko Fall.

Okay, so Clarke's gonna be a top 15 pick - at least that's what everyone is saying - but he could go as high as #7 to Chicago or maybe Boston plucks him at 4-5-6 should the Celtics get in the mix. Meanwhile, the 7-foot-7, 290-pound Fall has impressed NBA people with his footwork and improved offensive skills. Word is Fall will be a Round II pick but there's scuttlebutt that both the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards like 'em.

One last draft board riser ...

Washington two-guard Jaylen Nowell was a dynamic player at the recently held NBA Combine and he could be an early Round II pick. Nowell wowed NBA folks with some skyscraping dunks off the fast break.

Still, after that above-mentioned top three of Williamson, Morant and Barrett we'd say the next three selections (all subject to change) are G Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech) at #4, PG Darius Garland (Vanderbilt) at #5 and either the aforementioned Clarke (Gonzaga) or F De'Andre Hunter (Virginia) at No. 6.
That's it for now.

NOTE: Catch our NBA Finals coverage right here at Jim Sez.

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