NBA Finals

Raptors get NBA Finals déjà vu, ruin Warriors' big night on home court

Raptors get NBA Finals déjà vu, ruin Warriors' big night on home court

The Toronto Raptors have made a habit of reaching milestones spoiling the Warriors' big nights on Golden State's home court. 

In June, the Raptors shut the lights on Oracle Arena and lifted the Larry O'Brien Trophy after beating the Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. On Thursday night, Toronto spoiled Steph Curry's return from a 58-game absence with a 121-113 win at Chase Center

The Raptors also clinched their franchise-record seventh straight playoff appearance in the process. 

The circumstances of the Warriors' matchups with the Raptors have changed as much as any within the NBA over the last two years. But whether in Oakland or San Francisco and whether Kawhi Leonard -- now with the Los Angeles Clippers -- or Norman Powell -- who scored 37 points Thursday -- is leading the way for Toronto, the Bay Area has been Jurassic Park lately. 

[RELATED: How Steph channeled Kobe in long rehab from broken hand]

The Raptors have now won five straight road games against the Warriors in the regular season and playoffs, dating back to Dec. 12, 2018 and including three wins in The Finals last year. Toronto hadn't beaten Golden State in the Bay Area since Feb. 4, 2008 before then, losing 13 straight in a decade defined by futility. 

That losing streak is a thing of the past, with the Raptors' rings from last season the most obvious, diamond-studded evidence. The Warriors always will lament not having DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson healthy for the entirety of the NBA Finals, and "What if?" will be the most-asked question about the end of Golden State's dynasty. 

But the Bay Area once again belonged to the Raptors on Thursday. With that kind of ownage, they'll take whatever bridge they damn well please.

Masai Ujiri sued by officer from incident at Game 6 of 2019 NBA Finals


Masai Ujiri sued by officer from incident at Game 6 of 2019 NBA Finals

The Toronto Raptors won the final NBA game at Oracle Arena, beating the Warriors to clinch the 2019 Finals, the franchise’s first since joining the league in 1995.

On his way down to the court to celebrate with his team, Raptors team president Masai Ujiri reportedly was involved in an altercation with arena security after not showing proper credentials.

On Friday, Alan Strickland -- the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department officer involved in the incident with Ujiri -- filed a federal lawsuit in California against Ujiri, along with the Raptors organization, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and the NBA.

Strickland indicates in the affidavit that he “suffered injury to his head, body, health, strength, nervous system, and person, all of which have caused and continue to cause Plaintiff great mental, emotional, psychological, physical, and nervous pain and suffering.”

He says in the lawsuit that he suffered a “permanent disability” as a result of the altercation, alleging that Ujiri hit him “in the face and chest with both fists.”

Strickland is seeking general damages in excess of $75,000, as well as punitive damages and medical and legal costs associated with the incident and subsequent litigation.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office announced in October that no charges would be filed against Ujiri for the incident, which occurred on June 13, 2019.

Warriors-LeBron James Finals rematch possible per proposed NBA changes

Warriors-LeBron James Finals rematch possible per proposed NBA changes

When LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency, that all but assured there would be no future NBA Finals encounters between him and the Warriors.

Not so fast.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported Saturday that the NBA is considering making dramatic changes to the league calendar, citing sources. The potential changes include slightly shortening the regular season, instituting a 30-team in-season tournament, a postseason play-in setup and a reseeding of the four conference finalists. All changes would take effect for the 2021-22 season, the NBA's 75th anniversary.

The conference finalists would be reseeded according to their regular-season records. This would, in theory, increase the likelihood that the league's two best teams advance to the NBA Finals.

After facing LeBron in the Finals four consecutive years, you can be sure the prospect of facing The King again for the ultimate prize isn't an ideal scenario for the Warriors, despite the fact they prevailed in three of those four series. It's worth noting, though, that due to the timing, a fifth potential Finals matchup with LeBron might not be as daunting for Golden State as the last four.

Given that the proposed changes would go in effect for the 2021-22 season, the Warriors have reason to believe James wouldn't be as effective in their next Finals encounter as he is now. That's at least two more seasons of immense mileage for the active leader in career minutes played, and given the way the Lakers have looked to begin the current season, a lengthy playoff run wouldn't come as a surprise. Meanwhile, the Warriors essentially are taking an off-year, understanding that the current season is a lost one, but the next one offers the possibility of an expedited turnaround.

[RELATED: Warriors, resigned to their fate, smart to be looking ahead]

If and when the Warriors and Lakers meet in the Finals at least two-plus seasons from now, there's a good chance James won't be able to put his team on his back quite like Golden State has seen him do so many times.

Then again, we've never seen anyone like James, and he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. Until he calls it quits, the Warriors likely are going to have to go through him, whether it's on their way to the Finals, or for the championship.