Draymond Green is on the edge.
Green, the Warriors’ volatile big man, has been receiving praise for having stepped up his game a great deal in these playoffs following a late-season decision to lose weight, but he has also been much more measured, on and off the court. He comes into the series with four technical points — just three away from a mandatory one-game suspension — but he has not received one for arguing with officials since Game 1 of the conference semifinals, a span of nine games.
Fine, let’s talk about Drake.
Considering Kawhi Leonard’s notable silence, Toronto’s answer to Draymond Green’s trash talking may be one of the team’s fans: Drake. The rapper is known for being a pest on the sidelines, but the Warriors do not seem particularly concerned. Golden State Coach Steve Kerr made a self-described “dad joke” about Drake calling him on his cellphone, and Curry defended Drake’s rights to be himself.
“It’s been entertaining,” Curry said. “I know it’s a tricky situation with him being right there on the court, but at the end of the day, he’s having fun, having — you can’t hate on nobody having fun.” After considering his answer, Curry added: “Well, I guess in this life everybody hates on people having fun. So it’s par for the course on that one.”
Stephen Curry is back (but he never left).
Remember earlier this month when people started openly wondering if it was time to talk about Curry disappearing in the playoffs? The two-time most valuable player has temporarily ended that discussion by scoring 30 or more points in each of his last five postseason games. In 2015 he had a streak of four playoff games with 30 or more points, but the addition of Kevin Durant changed things considerably; Curry’s longest streak in the last two postseasons was just two games.
Toronto has discovered a new weapon from long range: Fred VanVleet.
No one in the league can claim to be on a hotter shooting streak than VanVleet. The backup point guard shot 82.4 percent from 3-point range (14 for 17) in the final three games of the Eastern Conference finals against the Milwaukee Bucks. Up until that point he had been shooting 19.5 percent (8 for 41) from long distance.
DeMarcus Cousins could make the difference for Golden State.
Golden State’s DeMarcus Cousins, who has been out since April 15 with a severe quadriceps injury, will be active Thursday night for Game 1 of the N.B.A. finals between the Warriors and Raptors in Toronto, according to Golden State’s coach, Steve Kerr.
Cousins, who came to Golden State last summer amid great fanfare — and ample derision from people who thought his addition made the team even more unbeatable — has proved to be a significant liability on defense. His limitations could be more pronounced as he works his way back into shape, but there is also the chance that he will pay dividends by providing a different look on offense.