Warriors

NBA Finals odds: Warriors heavy favorites in showdown vs. Raptors

NBA Finals odds: Warriors heavy favorites in showdown vs. Raptors

The stage for the 2019 NBA Finals now is set.

The final leg of the two-time defending champion Warriors' quest to three-peat will go through the Toronto Raptors and Kawhi Leonard. 

On Saturday, Leonard and the Raptors erased a 15-point deficit in Game 6 against the Bucks to eliminate Milwaukee and claim the first Eastern Conference title in franchise history.

Now, they'll face a Warriors team that has been firing on all cylinders, even without Kevin Durant. The Dubs have gone 5-0 since Durant suffered a right calf strain in the third quarter of Game 5 of their second-round NBA playoff series against the Houston Rockets. 

Even with Durant expected to miss the beginning of the series, the Warriors still are heavy favorites to win their third straight NBA title.

As for Game 1, which tips off Thursday night at Scotiabank Arena, Golden State has opened as a slim favorite to steal home-court advantage. 

And here are the prices for each possible outcome in the series, via The Action Network's Matt Moore.

The Warriors opened as -275 favorites to win the title at Westgate, per ESPN, but that was raised to -310 shortly after posting. The series price reflects the possibility of Durant playing at some point in the series

[RELATED: Awkward? Raptors superfan Drake sports Steph, KD tattoos]

The Raptors took both games against the Warriors during the regular season, winning 131-128 in Toronto and 113-93 in Oakland.

Warriors' Draymond Green out, Eric Paschall doubtful Friday vs. Jazz

Warriors' Draymond Green out, Eric Paschall doubtful Friday vs. Jazz

It's always tough to beat the Jazz in Utah, as the Warriors were reminded last month. Golden State was going to be a massive underdog Friday night as it was, and Thursday's injury report certainly won't change that.

After suffering an embarrassing home overtime loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, the Dubs will try to right the ship against Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert & Co., but they'll have to do it without at least one of their best players -- and we don't mean Steph Curry or Klay Thompson.

Draymond Green is listed as out (rest) for Friday's game at Vivint Smart Home Arena, while rookie Eric Paschall is doubtful with left hip soreness. Additionally, both Ky Bowman and Alen Smailagic are on G League assignment. 

[RELATED: Dubs' Bowman won't play vs. Jazz, will make G League debut]

With Green out and Paschall doubtful, one would expect Golden State's (relatively) healthy bigs like Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss to get some extended playing time against the Jazz.

Why Gary Payton believes Warriors' Steph Curry isn't true point guard

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Why Gary Payton believes Warriors' Steph Curry isn't true point guard

You might think of Steph Curry as a point guard.

After all, he's short, brings the ball up the court sometimes and appears on the far left of those nifty starting lineup graphics prior to tip-off with PG next to his name.

But in this age of run-and-gun positionless basketball, is Curry really a point guard? Not if you ask Gary Payton.

In fact, the nine-time NBA All-Star believes there only are two true point guards left in The Association.

"That's a question that is kind of difficult for old people," Payton told NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock and Kerith Burke on the "Runnin' Plays Podcast" when asked about the best point guards in today's game. "You look at Stephen Curry. You put him as a point guard. He's not a point guard. He's a two-guard. You look at [Russell] Westbrook. He's not a point guard. He's a two-guard. You look at James Harden. He's not a point guard, he's a two-guard.

"To me, there are only two guards in this league that are true point guards. That's [Rajon] Rondo and Chris Paul. 

"Now, Chris Paul has turned into a shooting guard more, but Rondo is a true point guard," Payton continued. "He looks first to get people off. He does his defense and he makes people better around him. Not, let me score 30. Not, let me shoot a jump shot first. He's not doing that ... If we name a lot of point guards that's right now in this NBA, they are not point guards."

At least Harden can finally be in the same category as Steph, right?

[RELATED: Loss to Knicks shows Warriors have earned NBA's worst record]

While Steph might not be the prototypical point guard in the old-fashioned sense, there's no doubt he'll one day be enshrined in Springfield, Mass., as one of the greatest scoring guards in NBA history.

In any era, that's pretty, pretty good.