Raptors now heavy favorite to knock off Warriors

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Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) battle for a loose ball during the 3rd quarter in Game 4 of the 2019 NBA Finals at the Oracle Arena. -- KYLE TERADA-USA TODAY SPORTS

TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors are heavy favorites to win their first NBA championship after taking a 3-1 lead on the Golden State Warriors, while star Kawhi Leonard is now the overwhelming favorite to take home MVP honors.

The Warriors were still favored to defend their title after dropping Game 3, but that all changed following Friday night’s 105-92 loss. With two road wins in the series, the Raptors only need to win one of the next three games, including two chances at home.

PointsBet now lists the Raptors at -715 to win the series, BetStars and FanDuel both have them at -700 and SugarHouse lists Toronto at -590.

However, if the Warriors are able to win Game 5 in Toronto on Monday night, the money then returns to Golden State running the table and winning in seven games.

A defiant Golden State Warriors team are adamant they can overturn a 3-1 deficit to the Toronto Raptors and erase memories of becoming the first team to fail to win the NBA title after holding the same advantage.

The memory of the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers recovering from a 3-1 deficit to snatch the championship in 2016 is still fresh in their minds and gives them faith that their goal of a third successive title is not dead.

“We just got to win one game and then build on that,” Warriors forward Draymond Green told reporters after Friday’s 105-92 Game Four loss in Oakland.

“But I’ve been on the wrong side of 3-1 before, so why not make our own history.”

The Warriors battled back from a 3-1 deficit of their own in the 2016 Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder, so they know what it takes to come back from the brink.

That Thunder team was led by Kevin Durant, who joined the Warriors the following season and went on to win back-to-back Finals MVP awards with the team in 2017 and 2018.

Durant has been sidelined with a calf strain since May 8, however, and it is unclear if he will be able to play in Game Five in Toronto on Monday.

The Warriors said they will be prepared to go with or without their sharpshooting forward.

“It’s not over,” a defiant Stephen Curry said.

“It’s not a good feeling right now, obviously, but we have been on both sides of it.

“And for us it’s an opportunity for us to just flip this whole series on its head.”

Coach Steve Kerr said his team’s desire to win is their most important asset going forward.

“We’ve got a lot of talent and we got a lot of pride,” he said.

“These guys have been to the Finals five straight years for a reason. They’re unbelievably competitive. And they’re together and they’re going to fight.

“So we’ll go try to get one win and, if we can do that, come back here and see what happens.” — Reuters