Warriors

Warriors Under Review: Draymond Green bounces back, leads win over 76ers

Warriors Under Review: Draymond Green bounces back, leads win over 76ers

For a back-to-back defending champion, there can be no signature win in the regular season. But what the Warriors pulled off Saturday in Philadelphia surely provided immense satisfaction.

They used a paste made from grit and sweat to come back for a 120-117 victory over the 76ers. Down 14 in the third quarter, the Warriors regrouped and swept the Sixers off their own floor.

Beating the best team they’d seen since the All-Star break, the Warriors brought a disappointing four-game road trip to an impressive conclusion.

Here are some of the positives and negatives from the game:

POSITIVE

Welcome back, Draymond

Put simply, Draymond Green was not a factor in Miami or Orlando. It’s odd, because he has a way of making himself a factor without gaudy numbers. He knew he needed to bounce back, and he did, picking apart the Philly offense with his playmaking and practically devouring the offense with his omnipresent defense. Green scored two points in 18 second-half minutes, yet was plus-12.

This team’s defense follows the lead of Green. If he’s bringing it, they’re shamed into sharing the load. He redeemed himself.

POSITIVE

JB brings it again

Even when most of his teammates were snoozing through Miami and Orlando, Jordan Bell was working. Given his youth and sparse playing time, he has plenty of energy. So for the third consecutive game, he was productive. He scored only three points, but he had three rebounds, two blocks and a dazzling assist in 16 minutes. He also did some nice defensive work on Tobias Harris.

Bell’s turnaround is timely enough, but with Kevon Looney unavailable Saturday, there was an urgent need. Bell delivered. He is earning his minutes.

NEGATIVE

Charity? No thanks

The Warriors entered the game ranked fourth in free-throw percentage at 81 percent, with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant ranking in the top 10. They went to the line 34 times, two short of their season-high, and they missed 10, tying a season-high. Durant missed four (10-of-14), as did Cousins (6-of-10). As a team, the Warriors missed six in the fourth quarter.

Because they don’t get to the line very often, ranking 24th in attempts, they need to exploit all opportunities for easy money. They were fortunate to dodge disaster.

[RELATED: Warriors will be fine if they mirror needed win in Philly]

POSITIVE

The Hustle Game

It was impressive enough that the Warriors came up with 14 steals and seven blocks. What was more remarkable was the breadth of contributors. Six different players got at least one steal, with Curry swiping a team-high four. Four different players had at least one block, with Andre Iguodala rejecting a team-high three shots. That’s 21 effort points -- with 14 coming in their ferocious second half.

Steals and blocks are a great way to measure a team’s defensive tenacity. We’re confident that assistant coach/defensive coordinator Ron Adams was pleased.

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 Saturday night, the Warriors' NBA Finals matchup is confirmed. 

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

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

For now, here are the biggest things to watch heading into the series, which starts Thursday night in Toronto.

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

The Warriors will be without Durant for at least the start of the series with a calf injury. Cousins, who began practicing with the team this week, could make his return from a torn quad in Game 1 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 was a dependable second scorer 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 playoff rounds. Former Warrior Patrick McCaw signed with the Raptors midseason after declining an offer from the Warriors and having 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, Toronto's Nick Nurse is putting together a Coach of the Year-worthy campaign. He helped guide the Raptors to 58 wins in his first season, despite Leonard missing 22 games.

Under Nurse's tutelage, the Raptors finished with the league's fifth-best offense, and he oversaw a defense that largely shut down 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