Both of these series have gone differently than I had expected. I never could’ve guessed that the Thunder would’ve been up 3-1 in the series prior to Game 5. I never could’ve seen the Raptors taking more than a game against LeBron and co. But now here we are, both series set at 3-2 heading towards potentially decisive Game 6’s. Coming into this round, I predicted the Cavaliers moving on to the Final’s in five games, that prediction is already out the window. On the other side, I trusted my mind more than my heart and went with the Warriors in 7, which is still plausible. It’s tough for the Warriors to win 3 straight to come back in this series, but last night they got the first one. And while it’s nearly impossible to come back down 3-1, if any team can do it, its these 73-win Warriors.
Cavaliers vs. Raptors
Headed back to Toronto down 3-2, the Raps are about to play the biggest game in their franchise’s history. And as they’ve held their home court against the Cavs so far this season and and in this series, it appears that they may be destined to play a third game 7 of this postseason. Big games from the All Star backcourt of Lowry and DeRozan will obviously be necessary, but this is a game where the role players will need to step up once again. Cory Joseph will be tasked with shutting down Kyrie Irving, Patrick Patterson or whoever is matched up on Kevin Love will need to stick to him on the perimeter, and Bismack Biyombo has to show why the media has been talking lately about him earning 15+ million dollars on the free agency market. In the two games at home, Biyombo has 40 rebounds. Yeah, you read that correctly, 40. Obviously this is a must win for Toronto, but either way making it this far gives the franchise a lot of hope going forward. Going toe-to-toe with the unanimous pre-season favourite Cavaliers has put the 6 on the map, and while I have them winning at home, I don’t see them moving on to the Finals.
Prediction: Cavaliers in 7
Warriors vs. Thunder
The Thunder have been playing absolutely amazing. Not many had them moving past the Warriors, but after Game 4 it’s hard to see them losing three straight to collapse. Although last night they lost to bring the series to 3-2, the game was in the Oracle, an equal if not tougher place to play than the Thunder’s own Chesapeake Energy Arena. And now going back home for Game 6 OKC has to be massively favoured. Russell Westbrook is playing at an MVP level, distributing the ball and not forcing too many shots. (I mean, he’s still forcing some here and there, but I’ll take the many positives he adds to a couple negatives.) Serge Ibaka has woken up and realized how athletically gifted he is. And can we talk for a second about the biggest surprise of this series, ANDRE ROBERSON?!? A couple of weeks ago, if you asked me to describe Roberson I would say, “Great perimeter and on-ball defender, long and athletic, but offensively he’s a pilon. If my life came down to Roberson making a corner 3, I’m dead.” And now, I’m eating my words. The dude is playing out of his freaking mind. Back-cuts, 3-point shooting from all around the arc, making plays out of the pick and roll, it’s been absolutely beautiful. Steven Adams is also becoming an offensive force, and I swear that every time he gets hit or kicked he gains more power. There’s some weird kiwi-magic behind that guy. But anyways, in this upcoming game 6, if Draymond continues to lose his mind, the Warriors will lose the series. With the Chesapeake crowd getting on him and the rest of Golden State, I think we’ll finally get the Lebron-Durant Finals rematch we’ve all been waiting for.
Prediction: Thunder in 6