Welcome to Complex Sports 2019. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself before jumping into my first take back. For those of you that somehow don't know, I’m Chopz and I’m taking over the channel as the Deputy Editor. You might remember me for my last run at Complex where I mostly worked in music and on the show Everyday Struggle.
After a brief stint away from the company, I’m back and ready to shake some shit up. This team is incredible and I can't wait to show the world what we're going to be able to do. With Complex Sports, we want to take things to the next level and give readers a wide and diverse look into the world of sports through the eyes of Complex. There will be takes. There will be deep dives. There will be gambling talk. There will be yelling. Anything you can think of. Welcome aboard and get ready.
First things first, let’s talk about tonight. I would be shocked if Kevin Durant didn’t play for the Warriors. He’s officially a game-time decision but the talk around the team seems to point towards his return. They need it. It’s do or die for the two-time defending champs.
So far in this series, the Raptors have looked like the better team but KD coming back has the potential to swing things back in favor of the Warriors. There are of course some questions that remain about his return, notably, how healthy is he? Will he be able to dominate in his usual fashion? Will him simply being out there open up more things for Steph and Klay? The ask of Kevin Durant is daunting. Save a team down 3-1 while they are possibly taking shots in the media about his toughness. This entire series has been strange, which makes a Warriors comeback not seem that crazy.
The Raptors have been able to counterpunch the Warriors runs for this entire series. Kawhi has been unreal and will win Finals MVP tonight if the Raptors win. But what if they don’t? What if the Raptors don’t close it out tonight? The franchise has never been closer to a title but the task seems tougher than it did 72 hours ago.
In 2016, we saw the Cavaliers storm back from down 3-1 to beat the Warriors in the Finals. In that series, Draymond Green’s suspension changed the series. He missed game 5 and it opened things up for LeBron and Kyrie to take advantage. Kevin Durant’s return could lead to a similar shift, which is why the Raptors have to win tonight. If they don’t, this series is over. I don’t really believe in calling a non-elimination game a must-win but this is a must-win.
There’s no way the Raptors lose tonight and then go back to Oracle and close things out on the road. A potential game 7 would be at home, but what sort of mental state would the Raptors be in if it got to that? The Warriors would have all the momentum and KD back in the mix.
The Raptors best chance for a championship is tonight. They have to close it out. The Warriors are broken down and defeated. They simply can't waste this opportunity. If the Raptors don't close it out in game 5, the door is open for the Warriors to complete the comeback that they let happen to themselves in 2016. Time to finish this, Toronto. It’s your only hope.