Rick Zamperin: Raptors – Warriors offering us a preview of NBA Finals?

Toronto Raptors' Kawhi Leonard, left, drives at Miami Heat's Justise Winslow during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Sunday, November 25, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

It’s being billed as a preview of this year’s NBA Finals.

As of right now, it’s hard to argue that the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors won’t be facing off against each other for the Larry O’Brien Trophy come next June.

Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors are a league-best 18-4 entering Thursday night’s throwdown at Scotiabank Arena while the defending champion Warriors are 15-7 in the much more competitive Western Conference.

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Earlier this week, Warriors star Klay Thompson even suggested the clash could be a precursor to matchup we’d see next June.

The game should be a good measuring stick, for both teams quite honestly.

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The Warriors have been the NBA’s gold standard over the last number of years. They’ve made the championship final in each of the last four seasons, winning three times, including back-to-back titles. However, due to a number of factors – including an unhealthy Steph Curry – Golden State hasn’t been as dominant as they’ve been in the past.

The Raptors are coming off a season in which they won a franchise record 59 games and have been a force during the first quarter of the season.

But G-State has had Toronto’s number to the tune of eight straight victories over the Dinos.

Thursday night’s game will also be nationally televised on TNT in the United States, making the stage a little larger and adding more pressure on both teams to prove a point – that they are the top dogs in the league.

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