Warriors

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in uneven 120-114 win over Cavaliers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in uneven 120-114 win over Cavaliers

OAKLAND -- In their quest to secure homecourt advantage throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs, the Warriors reduced their magic number to one Friday night.

With five players scoring in double figures, they hung on for a 120-114 victory over the game but ultimately overmatched Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Warriors (55-24) committed enough turnovers (13), especially of the live-ball variety (giving the Cavs 23 points) to provide a measure of suspense in the fourth quarter.

Here are three takeaways from a game in which the Warriors were just sloppy enough, with just enough defensive lapses to melt away most of what had been a 21-point lead:

Curry crushes the Cavs

Cleveland rookie point guard Collin Sexton is having a terrific second half and has been getting a lot of publicity, so maybe Stephen Curry wanted to properly re-introduce the kid to the NBA.

Curry simply unloaded, scoring a game-high 40 points on 12-of-21 shooting, including 9-of-12 from deep. It didn’t matter which defender was responsible -- though he was Sexton’s primary assignment -- Curry punished them all.

Sexton had a fine game (25 points), but it wasn’t enough as Curry -- after subpar shooting (3-of-14, 1-of-9 from deep) Thursday night against the Lakers -- reverted to his recent form. He entered the game shooting just below 43 percent from deep since the March 1.

Moreover, his recent numbers at Oracle Arena have been absurd. He’s 29-of-52 (55.8 percent) from beyond the arc over his last five home games.

For Curry, who moved into third place on the franchise career scoring list (16,280 points), it’s not just the contact lenses.

Splashing up a storm

Is there a way to preserve fantastic 3-point shooting? Can it be frozen or somehow packaged in a way to make it last another few weeks? If so, the Warriors would like to know.

They shot 54.1 percent (20-of-37) from beyond the arc, with Curry, Draymond Green and Quinn Cook doing most of the damage.

This was the season-high seventh consecutive game in which they shot at least 38.0 percent from deep. They shot 48.0 percent (118-of-246) from 3-point distance over those seven games, going 6-1 over that span.

These are numbers the Warriors would love to bottle and pull out during the postseason.

Draymond making them pay

One of the tricks opponents have used -- successfully at times -- against the Warriors is choosing not to defend Green and daring him to shoot, especially from beyond the arc.

It might be time to re-think that strategy.

Green scored a season-high 20 points, shooting 8-of-13 from the field, including 3-of-7 from beyond the arc. And this is not a one-game aberration. Green is 16-of-38 (42.1 percent) from deep over his last 12 games.

After spending most of the season shooting well below 30 percent, Green has found his stroke. At this rate, it would be risky, perhaps even foolish, if teams continue to ignore his scoring potential.

Warriors vs. Raptors preview: Who has edge in 2019 NBA Finals matchup?

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NBC Sports Bay Area

Warriors vs. Raptors preview: Who has edge in 2019 NBA Finals matchup?

With the Toronto Raptors beating the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night, the Warriors' NBA Finals matchup is confirmed. 

The best-of-seven series will pair the defending NBA champs against Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Drake (possibly) and a Raptors organization fresh off clinching its first Finals appearance in its 24-year history. 

For the first time during their current five-year run, the Warriors will not have homecourt advantage and could be without DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant at the onset of the series. 

For now, here are the biggest things to watch heading into the series.

Projected starting lineups 

Warriors
F Andre Iguodala
F Draymond Green
C Andrew Bogut
G Klay Thompson
G Stephen Curry

Raptors 
F Pascal Siakam
F Kawhi Leonard
C Marc Gasol
G Kyle Lowry
G Danny Green

Golden State will be without Kevin Durant for at least the onset of the series with a calf injury. DeMarcus Cousins, who began practicing with the team this week, could make his return from a torn quad in Game 1 of this series if he continues to progress in his rehab.

Still, the Warriors have the healthy Splash Brother duo of Curry and Thompson, who combined to score nearly 57 points per game in the Western Conference Finals

Meanwhile, Leonard has been productive all postseason for Toronto, averaging 31.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 18 games. Following a breakout season, Siakam has been a dependable second scorer for Toronto in the conference finals. Lowry is a reliable regular-season contributor but has routinely struggled in the playoffs, and a thumb injury could hamper his production. 

Edge: Draw (Until Durant comes back)

Bench

Like the Warriors, the Raptors have struggled to get contributions from their second unit this season, finishing the regular season 24th in bench scoring.

The postseason hasn't been much better for Toronto, which averaged just 25.1 bench points per game through the first three rounds of the playoffs. Former Warrior Patrick McCaw signed with the Raptors midseason after declining an offer from the Warriors and a brief stint in Cleveland. However, he's averaging just 2.1 points per game across the regular season and playoffs. 

With Durant out, the Warriors have gotten contributions from their bench. Jordan Bell, Quinn Cook and Kevon Looney have stepped up in particular, and all three will be counted on in the Finals. 

Edge: Warriors

[RELATED: Iguodala alludes to retirement when asked about workload]

Coaching

Although he wasn't nominated, Raptors coach Nick Nurse is putting together a Coach of the Year-worthy campaign in Toronto. In his first season, he helped guide the Raptors to 58 wins, despite Leonard missing 22 games. 

Under Nurse's tutelage, the Raptors finished with the league's fifth-best offense and oversaw a defense that largely shut down Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in the final two games of the Eastern Conference finals. 

However, Warriors coach Steve Kerr has presided over the best six-year run in NBA history and is on pace to win his fourth championship in five years. 

Edge: Warriors

2019 NBA Finals schedule: Warriors vs Raptors dates, times, TV channel

2019 NBA Finals schedule: Warriors vs Raptors dates, times, TV channel

Hurry up and wait.

That's what the Warriors did, after completing a four-game Western Conference finals sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, and now they'll visit the Toronto Raptors to start the NBA Finals after a nine-day layoff.

The Raptors finally punched their ticket Saturday with a 100-94 Game 6 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals. It will be the first NBA Finals appearance for the Raptors, and the first time the championship round will be played outside the United States.

It's the Warriors' fifth consecutive NBA Finals trip, but they won't have home-court advantage in the series because the Raptors finished with one more regular-season win. So, Games 1, 2, 5 and 7 are set for Toronto, and Games 3, 4, 6 will be in Oakland, as a fitting send-off for Oracle Arena.

Here's the schedule for the 2019 NBA Finals, with all games televised on ABC. NBC Sports Bay Area will have full pregame coverage, starting two hours before tip-off of each game, as well as postgame coverage, with analysis from Greg Papa, Garry St. Jean and Kelenna Azuibuike, and on-site interviews with Kerith Burke and Warriors players and personnel.

Game 1: Thursday, May 30, at Toronto, 6 p.m. PT
Game 2: Sunday, June 2, at Toronto, 5 p.m. PT
Game 3: Wednesday, June 5, at Golden State, 6 p.m. PT
Game 4: Friday, June 7, at at Golden State, 6 p.m. PT
Game 5*: Monday, June 10, at Toronto, 6 p.m. PT
Game 6*: Thursday, June 13, at at Golden State, 6 p.m. PT
Game 7*: Sunday, June 16, at Toronto, 5 p.m. PT
*If necessary