Golden State Warriors: 5 keys to beating Raptors in 2019 NBA Finals

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images /
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(Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images) /

2. Move the basketball

There is a legion of NBA fans who are of the belief that the Warriors are in fact better without Kevin Durant on the court. While such a stance is laughable given their utter dominance since his arrival, there’s an interesting distinction between their style of play in both situations, especially during these playoffs.

KD has integrated himself almost seamlessly into the fabric of Golden State’s pass-happy, player movement offense since coming over in the summer of 2016. Yet there are still moments sprinkled around where he reverberates back to his old habits of isolation basketball that serve as a detriment to the offense.

Those tendencies only grew more apparent in the postseason, where the Warriors passed less and isolated more. That team-wide effect says more about the improved defenses faced, but it’s clear Durant’s presence has fundamentally changed their offense if only in the slightest of ways.

In his absence, the Dubs have fully reverberated back to a level of unselfishness that ascended them to championship heights in the first place. Since KD’s injury, they’re passing 18.5 more times per game with 2.6 more secondary — or hockey — assists as well. The extra ball movement keeps defenses on their toes and leads to the miscommunication Golden State thrives on to get easy buckets.

The Raptors have above-average to elite defenders at every position. Allowing them to guard one-on-one might not be the best option for even the most gifted of offensive players, not to mention how exhausting it would be for the Dubs over the course of a seven-game series.

To counter a defense ranked fifth in defensive rating during the regular season, the Warriors have to keep the ball in motion and engage all five players on the court. The play style has been the foundation for their historic level of greatness and it isn’t likely to fail them when needed the most.