6/9/2019 1:02:56 PM

End of an NBA era looms as Warriors on brink of defeat

End of an NBA era looms as Warriors on brink of defeat

Toronto, Canada: Injured and weary, the Golden State Warriors are one loss from the end of their five-year NBA dynasty run at the hands of the upstart Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors own a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals entering Monday's game five at Toronto and could become the first team from outside the United States to capture the championship.

"It's difficult," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of the excitement. "Can't let people take you someplace you aren't yet.

"We know this is a great team and we know how hard we have to play to beat them. We have to just focus in on trying to be the hardest working team on the floor."

The Warriors are in their fifth consecutive NBA Finals, seeking their third title in a row and fourth in five years.

Of 34 teams that seized a 3-1 NBA Finals lead, the only one that failed to win was Golden State in 2016, when LeBron James rallied the Cleveland Cavaliers to an historic title.

"We've been on the wrong side of 3-1 before, so why not make our own history?" Warriors forward Draymond Green said.

"We've won three in a row before. You've got to have faith you can get it done. Believe what we believe and give it what we got. And if we fail, you live with the results, but just leave it all out there."

Kawhi Leonard, who won an NBA title with San Antonio in 2014, directs a quick-strike attack and smothering defensive system for the Raptors, who have outhustled the injury-hit Warriors.

Golden State playoff scoring leader Kevin Durant, the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, has been out for a month with a right calf injury.

"His body will tell him if he can get out there," Green said. "If he can, great. If not, still got to try to find a way to win the next game."

The Warriors seek a third consecutive title and fourth in five seasons, but the toll of so many deep playoff runs is showing, guard Klay Thompson missing game three with a left hamstring strain and Andre Iguodala slowed by a leg injury.

"It's a long season. You play 100-plus games, you're going to be banged up," Thompson said. "You just got to dig deep. No one's going to feel sorry for you, so you just got to go out there, man up and play the best of your ability."

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