With or without Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors are favorites in the NBA Finals for the fifth year in a row.
Caesars Sportsbook installed the two-time defending Warriors champions as 320 favorites to beat the Toronto Raptors in the final. The first game of the best-of-seven series is Thursday in Toronto.
The Warriors are heading for their fifth consecutive final. They were favored in the last four final series and won three of the last four titles, all against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Durant missed all four of the Warriors’ games against the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals for a calf injury. He is unlikely to participate in Game 1, Golden State said Thursday. In any case, warriors are great favorites.
On Saturday night, the SuperBook in Westgate Las Vegas opened with Golden State as the favorite of -275 in the finals. The executive director of SuperBook, John Murray, told ESPN that the price reflected the possibility of Durant playing in the series. The Warriors have won 31 of their last 32 games when Curry plays and Durant does not. They have a global record of 34-4 in those games.
The SuperBook raised the price of Golden State to -310 minutes after publication.
Toronto opened up as a loser for +260 in the series on Caesars. In the last eight finals, only the Cavaliers last year were below what the Raptors should start now.
Toronto erased a 0-2 deficit against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals and advanced to the first Finals of the NBA franchise with a comeback in Game 6 on Saturday.
The Raptors won both games with the Warriors this season: 113-93 in Oakland, on December 12, and 132-128, in Toronto, on November 29.
At the same time, the offices of the Palau are working on possible new additions. There is Cory Higgins (CSKA) as a future for the perimeter. Another of the poles of attention is that of painting. With Tomic and Pustovyi with a contract in force remains to be seen what happens with Kevín Séraphin that seems complicated to follow. The condition of his right knee – which forced him to undergo surgery last season – and the recent controversy with Pesic, who expelled him from the bench against Andorra, do not add up, precisely, so that he has the option of renewing his high contract.
So things, in Barça are doing market casting. We talked a few days ago of the interest in the Serbian center of Olympiacos Nikola Milutinov that could leave the Athenian club due to the economic problems that surround the entity of Piraeus. But it is not the only name on the list.
Because we must also talk about the French pivot of the Baskonia Vincent Poirier (2.13 and 25 years) one of the pillars of Velimir Perasovic’s team (9.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in the league). Club that arrived in 2017 Paris -Levallois of his native France after signing a contract for three seasons.
It is a proper name that he likes in the Palau -according to the account of @Diego Alvárez- for his profile as an athletic player despite his height. But, as in the case of Milutinov, there are important conditioning factors in order to face the operation of his signing.
On the one hand the fact that both have a contract in force, although the specific situation of each club is different. The second ‘but’ is that other European greats are also interested in a player profile that is increasingly difficult to find in current basketball.
The NBA, on the horizon
And the third possible stumbling block for Barça’s expectations is the same as always: the NBA. In the case of Milutinov – elected by San Antonio Spurs in the 2015 draft (number 26) – the Tejano franchise seems determined to pull economic muscle to add centimeters in the area ..
A case similar to what happens with Poirier -not drafteado- who, in his case, have been closely following the Boston Celtics for months.
And you know that when a league franchise ‘pross’ crosses the road with its good millions is difficult for a player to say no.
Both with Poirier and with Milutinov, it will be – anyway – the player who will decide his future. Barça is there and the French center knows it.