NBA Finals Game 6 Preview
This 2019 NBA Finals has been full of major twists and turns ... and it ain't over yet!
In tonight's Game 6 in soon-to-be finished Oracle Arena we'll find out whether there's more bounce in the legs of the Toronto Raptors or the host Golden State Warriors - both teams comin' off "bounce-back games" (if you will) as Toronto attempts to bounce back from that painful 106-105 loss in Game 5 while G-State looks to bounce back from that season-ending injury to Kevin Durant.
In case you hadn't noticed, road teams have won / covered four of the first five games in these NBA Finals and tonight the Vegas folks claim (for now) that the Warriors are 2.5-point favorites without Mr. Durant. Too soft? Hmmm.
THE NBA FINALS
Tonight, it's ... TORONTO at GOLDEN STATE - Raptors lead series 3-2 / Game 6 at 9:07 p.m. ET, ABC
Go ahead and overanalyze this Game 6 - and this NBA Finals best-of-seven series - to death: The truth is the team that's shot three-pointers better has won / covered all five games and do keep in mind the visiting Raptors shot just 25 percent from beyond the arc in that latest tilt (that's 8-of-32 for you folks keeping score at home) and Nick Nurse's squad will not be hoisting the league's championship trophy unless the likes of Kawhi Leonard / Kyle Lowry / Pascal Siakam shoot it better than 3-of-17 from deep and not if Toronto's defense breaks down and lets Stephen Curry / Klay Thompson nail another dozen trifectas (see 12-of-27 from 3-land in Monday's game).
Let's examine two other key factors here while heading into Game 6 ...
The Raptors - who have covered their last four games in a row when placed in the underdog role - must wear out Golden State with a batch of pick-n-roll plays when the Warriors have immobile C DeMarcus Cousins in this game. Cousins can't move side-to-side and can't defend anyone with "quicks" going to the hoop. It says here that Toronto must score 30-or-more points on pick-n-roll plays and take note despite his 14 points and 6 rebs in that last game, the Dubs were a minus 4 with Cousins on the floor.
Finally, Golden State must count on Curry / Thompson to go for another 55+ points - they teamed up for 57 points in Game 5 - but there must be a bench scorer to help rescue Steve Kerr's club and we're thinking it's gotta be G Quinn Cook who has missed six of his last seven triple tries the past two games. If Cook is good for at least three triples here, then it's advantage Warriors.
Hey, did you know that Golden State's failed to cover seven of its last nine home games in this year's post-season.
Here's the 2019 NBA Finals game-by-game results between the Raptors and the Warriors. Note home teams are in CAPS below:
|5-30||TORONTO||- 1.5||Golden St||118-109|
|6-2||Golden St||+ 2||TORONTO||109-104|
|6- 5||Toronto||+ 2.5||GOLDEN ST||123-109|
|6-7||Toronto||+ 5||GOLDEN ST||105-92|
THE BASEBALL REPORT
Lots of snazzy four-game series on the docket this Fathers' Day weekend, so here's a look at what's straight ahead:
In the American League, it's ...
LOS ANGELES ANGELS (33-35) at TAMPA BAY (41-26) - Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun
Hey, hey: The Tampa Bay Rays lead the AL in defensive runs (220 runs allowed / 3.3 runs per game) and it's defense / pitching that is gonna keep 'em in the hunt for the AL East crown but there is some worry regarding 2018 Cy Young winner LHP Blake Snell (3.50 ERA and 9 home runs allowed) who has been overpriced all year long as evidenced by - 130 and - 290 prices in his last two starts (both losses). The Angels rank 26th in the bigs in team ERA (5.01) and nobody in this rotation can be counted on to give LAA more than five innings a start.
NEW YORK YANKEES (41-25) at CHICAGO WHITE SOX (32-34) - Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun
Wacky week thus far for the NY Yankees who split a day/night doubleheader against the NY Mets on Tuesday ... and sat idly by Monday (a rainout) and Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Yankees were not sharp in that twin-bill while committing four total errors and the starting pitchers didn't shine either with LHP James Paxton a major bust while surrendering six runs in less than three innings of work. Now, Aaron Boone's crew needs some "length" from starters such as lefty JA Happ (6-3, 4.48 ERA) plus Pale Hose RHP Lucas Giolito (9-1, 2.28 ERA / 47 hits in 75 innings pitched) gets a crack at silencing a Bombers' lineup that's banged out 106 home runs this year (fifth-most in the bigs).
In the National League, it's ...
CHICAGO CUBS (38-29) at LOS ANGELES DODGERS (45-23) - Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun Nite (ESPN)
We've saved the best for last as Cubs-Dodgers is the primo four-game set this week/weekend and here's some key stats to chew on:
The Cubbies are just 14-18 away this year and Joe Maddon's crew rank just 11th in MLB in runs scored (343 or 5.1 runs a game) but keep a close eye here on INF Javier Baez (44 runs scored / 46 runs batted in his first 65 games). Don't look now but the Cubs have blown 12 games this year; the Dodgers have blown 11 of 32 games themselves.