2019 NBA Finals

The 2019 NBA Finals is the concluding championship series of the National Basketball Association (NBA)’s 2019 playoffs to determine the champion for the 2018–19 season. In this best-of-seven playoff, the Eastern Conference champion Toronto Raptors will face the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors. The series begins on May 30, with a seventh and final game, if necessary, on June 16.[1]The two-time

defending NBA-champion Warriors,[2] for the first time in five consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, will not have home-court advantage in the series. It was awarded to Toronto, who finished the regular season with one more win (58–24) than Golden State (57–25). Also for the first time over those five postseasons, the Warriors

will not face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the championship round.[3] This is also the first finals since 2010 to not include LeBron James, who played in the past eight finals with Cleveland and the Miami Heat.[4] This is the first ever appearance in the finals for Toronto, and it will also be the first NBA Finals with games played outside of the United States.[5]

The Warriors finished the 2018–19 regular season with a 57–25 record, winning the Pacific Division and securing the 1st seed in the Western Conference. During an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in November, Draymond Green cursed out teammate Kevin Durant, who becomes a free agent after the season, and he was suspended for the much-publicized blowup.[6][7]

In the playoffs, Golden State defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in six games in the first round, despite blowing leads at home in Games 2 and 5.[7] In a sign of respect and with an increased urgency, head coach Steve Kerr opened the following round against the Houston Rockets by moving Andre Iguodala from the bench and starting the Hamptons Five for the first time in the season.[8][9] With the Splash Brothers, Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, struggling with their shooting, Kevin Durant had been the team’s best player in the playoffs, averaging a team-leading 35.4 points entering Game 5.[10] However, Durant left the game late in the third quarter after suffering a strained right calf;[10][11] he was later ruled out indefinitely. Led by Curry and Thompson, Golden State pulled out Game 5 without Durant, and won the series in six games.[11] [12] In the Western Conference finals, Golden State swept the Portland Trail Blazers 4–0, with three of the wins including comebacks of 15 points or more. After starting nine consecutive games,[2] Iguodala missed the deciding Game 4 with a sore left calf injury from Game 3.[13] Curry averaged a series career-high 36.5 points, the highest average by a player in a four-game sweep in NBA history.[14] This will be Golden State’s fifth consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. They are the second team in NBA history to achieve this feat, joining the Boston Celtics, who played in 10 straight Finals (1957–1966)

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