OAKLAND, California, June 7 (Reuters) - The Toronto Raptors produced a strong second half to defeat the Golden State Warriors 105-92 in Oakland on Friday to take a 3-1 lead in the Finals and move one win away from the franchise’s first NBA championship.
The Warriors jumped out to a 23-17 advantage in the first quarter behind some stout defense but the Raptors were able to cut the lead to four going into halftime.
The tide turned in the third quarter when the visitors outscored the two-time defending champions 37-21 behind five-for-seven shooting and five free throws from Kawhi Leonard, who finished the game with 36 points.
The only team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the Finals was the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, who beat the Warriors in 2016.
The Warriors remain hopeful that injured Kevin Durant — who last played May 8 — can finally make a comeback in Game 5. But that’s far from certain. Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said Durant might not be able to return until next Thursday’s Game 6 back at Oracle — assuming the Warriors can get there.
“I would say the cards are stacked against us in terms of injuries and things like that,” teammate Stephen Curry said after Toronto’s Game 3 victory. “But it’s a sob story nobody really wants to hear.”
Game Five is on Monday in Toronto.
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)