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NBA Finals

NBA Finals 2019: Predicting the different outcomes for Game 3 between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors

Get ready for a wild Game 3.
Get ready for a wild Game 3. (Getty Images)

Through two games of this series, we're no closer to gaining any real insight into who holds the inside track in the NBA Finals.

The Warriors are a MASH unit. Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry are nursing injuries of their own. Pascal Siakam has vascillated between superstar and deer in the headlights. Nick Nurse even dusted off a box-and-one.

If anyone has any real clue as to what on earth is going to happen next, feel free to mail me your crytal ball, because I'm honestly just one giant shrug emoji at this point.

With the series completely up in the air, here are some of the crazy yet totally feasible outcomes on the table for tonight.

Kawhi channels 2014

Five years ago, Kawhi Leonard went on the road tied 1-1 against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat and dropped the hammer. In a series against in-his-prime LeBron James, it was Leonard that was the best player on the floor in that game.

MORE: 2014 and 2019 Déjà vu for Kawhi

Given the state of the Warriors, would anyone truly be surprised if the Raptors rolled in Game 3 behind a vintage Kawhi performance and go on to wrap this up in five games?

It's not any more unrealistic than what happened in 2014.

Curry's Iverson moment

Kevin Durant is out. Klay Thompson is banged up. DeMarcus Cousins is still rounding into form. Draymond Green isn't exactly a lights out scorer.

Suddenly, the Warriors are in dire need of scoring.

In 24 career games in the NBA Finals, Curry has never dropped a 40 piece. Not once.

If there was ever a time to channel his Allen Iverson, throwing an offensively-challenged squad on his back as the only true option on that end, it's now.

On the road against the defending champions in the 2000 Finals, Iverson hung 48 on Shaq, Kobe and the Lakers.

If Curry is able to deliver, who will play the role of Tyronn Lue? Will Curry bury a 3 and then promptly step over Fred VanVleet?

Or...

Is VanVleet the new Dellavedova?

During the 2015 NBA Finals, Matthew Dellavedova was thrust into a prominent role following the injury to Kyrie Irving in Game 1.

His main task? Defending Stephen Curry.

Delly's 15 minutes came largely as a result of his famous Game 3 performance in which he scored 20 points and was so severely dehydrated after that game that he needed to go to the hospital. Largely a result of Dellavedova's performance, the Cavaliers beat the Warriors in that game to take a 2-1 series lead.

Fred VanVleet has already shown he's more than capable of hitting timely shots while also putting the defensive clamps on Curry. Through two games he's spent over twice as many possessions guarding Curry as anyone else while limiting him to just 2-10 shooting.

Could he rise to the occasion in Game 3 much like Delly did four years ago in Cleveland? Whatever happens, somebody keep Fred away from the coffee.

Boogie's Night

Nobody expected DeMarcus Cousins to play like that in Game 2.

After playing eight largely uneventful minutes in Game 1 in which he looked exactly like you'd expect someone to look after not playing in six weeks due to a torn quad, Cousins was awesome in Game 2. In 28 minutes, he scored 11 points and hauled in 10 rebounds while dishing out six assists and blocking two shots.

With Kevon Looney now out with a fractured collarbone and Kevin Durant still sidelined, Cousins will be called on to play a much bigger role moving forward.

MORE: How Looney's injury impacts the rest of the series

Though he's clearly not 100% especially on the defensive end, Cousins has a few reps under his belt now to the point where he should feel even more comfortable in Game 3.

Let's say Golden State needs to hit 100 points to win. With no Durant and a hobbled Thompson (if he plays at all), someone will need to get buckets alongside Stephen Curry.

This has all the makings for a high volume "that's why they signed him" game from DeMarcus Cousins.

Don't be shocked when the world wakes up to flattering 2,000 word pro-Boogie epithets from every major media outlet on Thursday.

Lowry owns Oracle... again

The reason this game is being played in Oakland instead of Toronto is due to the fact that the Raptors won one more game than the Warriors in the regular season.

The biggest reason that happened? When Kyle Lowry led the Raptors into Oracle on the second game of a back-to-back and pounded the Warriors by 20.

Toronto did it despite missing Kawhi Leonard and despite the fact that the Warriors had essentially their entire team available outside of DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Iguodala.

Lowry was magnificent in that game, finishing with 23 points and 12 assists and setting the tone early with nine points and four assists in the first quarter when the Raptors jumped out to a big lead and never looked back.

In the lead up to Game 3, Lowry has already said he plays better on the road and always has.

MORE: Does Lowry actually play better on the road?

Lowry has struggled offensively so far in the NBA Finals, shooting just 30% from the floor while averaging just 10.0 points per game.

There's no better time or place for him to make his mark than Game 3 in the same arena he dominated back in December.

The Iggy Is A Hall-of-Famer Game

What does Andre Iguodala have in store for an encore?

Left wide open at the end of Game 2, Iguodala buried a 3-pointer to essentially clinch the win for the Warriors, giving them a five-point lead in the closing seconds.

As has happened a few times previously, that shot once again stirred up the "will Iguodala make the Hall of Fame?" debate. He was even asked about that very thing after the game to which he responded that he simply doesn't care.

That was just one shot.

What if he does it for an entire game?

In case you live under a rock, the Warriors are desperately in need of someone to step up in lieu of all of their injuries. Earlier this postseason in Golden State's first full game without Kevin Durant, it was Iguodala that came to the rescue as he hit five 3-pointers and wracked up five steals in the series-clinching Game 6 win over the Houston Rockets.

He's answered the call before so don't be shocked if and when Iggy does it again in Game 3.

Nick Nurse, genius

It's been a masterful postseason thus far for Nick Nurse who has squeezed every ounce out of Toronto's roster.

While Kawhi Leonard receives lots of the attention for his level-headed approach, Nurse is every bit as even-keeled and stayed the course with his team through all of the highs and lows.

He's earned the benefit of the doubt needed to try stunts like he did at the end of Game 2 when he rolled out the box-and-one against Stephen Curry.

MORE: Odds and picks for Game 3

Although the Raptors lost, that strategy worked and got them back in the game. The Warriors went scoreless for over five minutes in the fourth quarter while Curry did not attempt a shot, get to the line once or dish out a single assist. There's a reason teams don't use that in the NBA and it's because the players are good enough to pick it apart. In all likelihood, Curry and the Warriors spent the last two days drawing up counters to do that very thing.

It won't work again.

It might not have to.

Maybe that wrinkle was just the first bit of X's and O's trickery up Nurse's sleeve. Maybe he's got something else planned for Game 3, something bold and inventive and dare-we-say, genius.

The man he's coaching against, Steve Kerr, knows a thing or two about innovating and making a major mid-series adjustment in the NBA Finals as a rookie head coach. It was Kerr that rolled out the Death Lineup in Game 4 to swing the 2015 NBA Finals, his first year as a head coach.

Will Nurse do something similar? Was that box-and-one merely the start of a more dramatic shift coming via the coach's clipboard? We're about to find out.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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