Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:00 PM EST
9:05 PM EST. Down goes Kevin Durant. Down goes Kevon Looney. Down goes Klay Thompson. In comes Andrew Bogut. In comes Boogie Cousins. Bogut wasn’t even in the NBA two months ago. DeMarcus Cousins was not supposed to play or be very limited in what he could or could not do. Kevon Looney is one of the most important parts of the Warriors and he’s 100% out. Though he's averaged just over 20 minutes and has come off the bench in every game this postseason, Looney has been a major part of Golden State's already perilously thin rotation.
To truly understand the magnitude of Looney’s absence requires first digging into just how he impacted the Warriors. Throughout this season and into the playoffs, Looney has gained a reputation as one of the NBA's most versatile bigs at switching onto smaller players. With his relative lateral quickness and 7'4" wingspan, Looney isn't your typical brooding centre that's uncomfortable 20 or 25 feet from the basket towards the end of a shot clock. He not only holds his own defensively, but is an excellent help defender that helps take Golden State to another level on that end of the floor. So far this postseason, the Warriors defensive rating of 104.9 with him on the floor is the best on the team among all players who have logged at least 100 minutes.
Klay Thompson is a game-time decision and of course, KD is still out. Golden State won Game 2 in Toronto not because the Warriors were good. They weren’t. They won because the Raps could not hit a shot. The Raptors were just a little too high after Game 1, when everything was falling but in Game 2, nothing was falling. Had one other player on Toronto had even a slightly decent game, the Dubs would be down 0-2.
It is extremely difficult to get out of one’s mind the Warriors falling one man at a time. Golden State looks slower, older and beaten down while the Raptors look hungrier, faster, bigger and even better. The narrative coming into this game is that Golden State is too banged up and even if Klay plays, he’s not 100%. If the Raps go onto win this series, they absolutely will not get the credit they deserve because Golden State is so banged up that historians will put an asterisk beside Toronto’s name should they end up as the champs.
Is the narrative above something new to anyone? Of course not. The media is pounding it into our heads how banged up and beaten down the Dubs are. They are pounding it into our heads so powerfully and often that it is near impossible to want to bet the Warriors here but once again, we are not in the prediction business. If we were, we’d be influenced into betting the Raps just like mostly everyone else. We’re in the value business and we can almost guarantee that this number is going to drop to -4 by game time, which is down from the -5½ that it opened up as after Sunday’s Game 2 went final. There is a definitive overreaction to Klay Thompson’s injury and to Golden State’s other injuries also and it is for that reason that the Warriors are the “right” play here. You want X’s and O’s? Listen to that idiot Mark Jackson praise Andre Iguodala for taking the final shot in Game 2 with 6.9 seconds left on the clock.
NOTE: Wait until close to game time to make your wager if you’re on board with the Dubs because this line is dropping. However, if you want the Raps bet it now because you will not get a better price. We’ll update our wager after 8:00 PM and before 9:00 PM EST.
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GOLDEN STATE -4 -104 (Risking 2.08 units - To Win: 2.00)