NBA Finals: Burning questions for Raptors-Warriors Game 4

By Jesse Reed
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors are facing a must-win scenario Friday at Oracle Arena in their NBA Finals Game 4 matchup against the Toronto Raptors.

Game details: Here’s a look at the start time, television information, and odds for Friday night’s Raptors-Warriors Game 4.

  • When: 9:00 p.m. EST
  • Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
  • TV: ABC
  • Betting Line: Golden State -5 / 216 points

The big picture: Kawhi Leonard and Co. stole back home-court advantage on Wednesday to go up 2-1 in the series. The 123-109 shellacking against a battered Warriors team that was without two of its top stars set the tone for what is going to be a tremendous final stretch.

A banged-up Warriors squad must dig deep to find a way to avoid falling into a 3-1 hole — a deficit only one team in the history of the NBA Finals has dug itself out of.

Here are the biggest questions we have ahead of Game 4.

How healthy is Klay?

The Warriors missed Klay Thompson on both ends of the court on Wednesday night. Out with a hamstring injury in the last game, he’s expected to play in Game 4. But just how healthy is he?

Thompson has a history of playing through pain and wanted to play in Game 3, even with the hammy being testy. Hamstrings are notoriously tricky, though, as they can be aggravated easily and tend to linger. On top of that, Thompson will be tasked with keeping up with Kawhi Leonard. That’s tough even at full health. So, Thompson’s health (or lack thereof) will have a lot to do with how Game 4 plays out.

Which Kyle Lowry will show up?

When Lowry is on his game offensively, the Raptors are extremely difficult to beat. He certainly was in Game 3, hitting 5-9 from three, scoring difficult buckets in the paint and finishing with 23 points and nine assists.

The problem is that Lowry hasn’t consistently been showing up from night to night during the playoffs. In the first two games combined, he had 20 points and 11 assists.

However, one would expect him to come out with some fire Friday night at Oracle after what happened in the stands with Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens. If he has another big game, then Toronto will have an excellent chance to go up 3-1.

Will Boogie bounce back?

Warriors fans have been treated to a mixed bag when it comes to what DeMarcus Cousins has brought to the table in the NBA Finals. He was practically a non-factor in Game 1, scoring just three points. Then, he exploded with a spectacular all-around Game 2 performance before petering out once more Wednesday night in the loss at home.

With Durant still out of commission heading into Game 4, Golden State needs Boogie to bounce back in a big way. Stephen Curry can’t do it all on his own, and Thompson won’t be at full strength, even if he doesn’t have a setback. If Cousins does not have it early, look for Andrew Bogut to continue getting more run.

Will Danny Green keep lighting it up?

For most of the postseason, Toronto’s veteran shooting guard has been practically invisible on offense. He averaged under nine points per game in the first two rounds, scored just 3.5 points per game against Milwaukee in the conference finals, and was at 9.5 points per in the first two games against Golden State.

Then, out of nowhere in Game 3, Green hit 6-10 from behind the arc en route to an 18-point effort.

Green’s big night showed just how dangerous Toronto can be when everyone’s clicking offensively. Was that performance an outlier, or was it a sign of things to come?

Can the Dubs rediscover their D?

The Warriors are known for their potent offense. However, a big reason this team has won three titles the past four seasons is that it dominates the defensive end of the court as well.

That didn’t happen on Wednesday night. Instead, Toronto practically had a layup line going to the hoop at times, and the Raptors had plenty of open shots from the perimeter as well. If Golden State is giving up easy buckets again, it might just foreshadow the end of this series.

Can Steph will his Warriors back to Oracle one last time?

Stephen Curry was magnificent Wednesday. He went off, scoring 47 points, hauling down eight boards and dishing seven assists while adding two steals. But it didn’t matter, as his Warriors were demolished in front of their home crowd.

The stakes are even higher in Game 4. Not only would the Warriors fall into a nearly insurmountable hole with one more loss, but such an outcome would also likely mean the end of Golden State’s tenure at Oracle Arena.

Set to move to their brand new stadium in San Francisco next season, Friday night’s game in Oakland really could be the team’s last.