NBA Finals: What does Kevin Durant’s absence mean, if anything, to Golden State Warriors’ chances?

  • Wednesday, June 5: Game 3 NBA Finals Toronto vs. Golden State, 9:10 p.m. Oracle Arena, Oakland, California.
  • Golden State – 5.5. Over/Under 213, odds provided by Fan Duel.

Kevin Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer, is not likely to make his return in Game 3 of the NBA Finals and surprisingly it doesn’t seem to matter.

Even without Durant and his league-leading 34.2 points per game on 51.3 percent shooting, the Golden State Warriors remain prohibitive favorites to beat the Eastern Conference Champion Toronto Raptors.

Durant has missed the Warriors last seven games since suffering a serious leg injury in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. The Warriors are 6-1 in those seven games. They won Game 6 against Houston to close out that series, swept the Portland Trailblazers in the Western Conference finals, 4-0, and are now tied 1-1 with Toronto in the NBA Finals.

When Toronto won Game 1 of The Finals, 118-109, some believed Durant’s absence was the difference. But when Golden State came back to win Game 2 in Toronto, 109-104 (the Raptors were a 2-point favorite in that one), the odds quickly changed.

Golden State is a 5.5-point favorite at home, Wednesday night and is -225 on the money line to win the game outright. And despite the series being even and a potential Game 7 to be played in Canada, the Warriors are still the overwhelming favorite to win the series, even without Durant.

Fan Duel, as well as most other sites, list the Warriors at -300 to win the series, while he Raptors are a generous +240 to win the series.

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant celebrates winning the Gold in FIBA World Championship Final between USA and Turkey on September 13, 2010 in Istanbul

Photo by Oleksiy Naumov (ShutterStock)

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