The Toronto Raptors are on the brink to take their historic first appearance in an NBA finals game to its logical conclusion, with a championship win. The team looked good with a Game 1 win.

The dream draws even closer following their Game 4 win over the Golden State Warriors on the latter’s own home court, sweeping two games at Oakland in their favor.

For the Warriors, their 2019 finals outing to earn a three-peat for 2017 and 2018 has been shaping up to be a disaster in the making.

With an injured Kevin Durant, more injuries in their sole victory to date (Game 2), and a very determined Toronto, that historical moment might not be theirs to make.

Raptors start slow and finish strong

As The Guardian tells it, despite a low-scoring first half – and deliberate at that – during Game 4 on the evening of Friday, June 7, it seemed the match was firmly under the Raptors’ control. For the first quarter, they were sluggish with 17 points (14 by Kawhi Leonard) to the Warriors’ 23.

Toronto outscored Golden State during the second quarter but was still down by four during halftime. It turns out the Raptors have borrowed from the Warriors playbook, making their own third-quarter push before the latter could rally. Everything else for Golden State went downhill there.

What really rankled for the Warriors was that this happened even though their injured stars from Game 2 managed to come back and play effectively enough here.

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NBA Golden State Warriors

Klay Thompson powered though his hamstring sprain to be his team’s Game 4 top scorer with 28.

Stephen Curry was only a point behind. Even Kevon Looney contributed 10 points of his own, through five baskets out of eight shots. None of them stood a chance against Leonard this time, however. He scored 36 points, followed by Serge Ibaka’s 20 and Pascal Siakam’s 19. Never has Durant’s on-court absence felt so heavy for Golden State as right now.

Toronto exploits Warriors anxieties

When the dust cleared, the Toronto Raptors had scored 105 to the Golden State Warriors’ 92. If Kawhi Leonard is to be believed, according to the Washington Post, his team’s victory was realized through a combination of their drive (and storm of jumpers) and the weakening of the opposition due to anxiety issues.

There is the fact that Golden State is leaving Oracle Arena for Chase Center in San Francisco next season, and the reality of leaving their home court after 47 NBA seasons may have messed with their game Friday.

Starting Game 5 on Monday evening, June 10, NBA history in some form or other is on the verge of happening in this 2019 finals series. While the Raptors have a strong chance of winning their first title due to statistics (finals teams with a 3-1 game lead have won the championship 33 times out of 34). Perhaps Golden State can turn their past humiliation into their future redemption.

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