TORONTO — The word of the day Sunday that best summed up the NBA Finals was “yet.”
As in, Golden State isn’t ready to give up its throne — yet.
Kawhi Leonard hasn’t bought any property in Toronto — yet.
The Raptors don’t see any reason to start celebrating — yet.
And Kevin Durant’s Game 5 status hadn’t been decided — yet.
The NBA could have a new champion as early as Monday night, when the Toronto Raptors look to finish off the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 of the title series. The Raptors lead 3-1 and returned home buoyed by two double-digit wins at Oracle Arena that put the two-time defending champions on the brink of elimination.
“We haven’t done anything,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. “We’ve still got to get one more win. It’s the first to four. You’ve got champions coming in here and they’re going to play their butts off and play extremely hard.”
They might have Durant, too.
Out for more than a month now with a calf strain, Durant was on the floor for practice on Sunday. The Warriors are hoping he will be able to play on Monday night.
“It’s just a matter of, ‘Can you win one basketball game right now? Can you go play an amazing 48 minutes, quiet this crowd that’s going to be probably unbelievable, and slow down a team that’s been playing amazing, especially these last two games, and just win one basketball game?’” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “If we focus on that mission, our history kind of speaks for itself in terms of being able to get that done.”
The Raptors are showing no signs of exhaling. Raptors coach Nick Nurse was amused to learn that there were “Let’s Go Raptors” chants on some flights landing in Toronto on Sunday, as well as at the PGA Tour’s Canadian Open. He hasn’t paid much attention to the news in recent days, but when a Raptors watch party was held in his condo building someone put a photo in the elevator — just to make sure he saw.
“There’s still a lot of work to do,” Nurse said.
Leonard feels precisely the same way.
With the free-agency rumor mill for this summer already churning, Leonard was asked to confirm reports that he recently bought property in Toronto.
“It didn’t happen yet, no,” Leonard said.
Something else that hasn’t happened is the win the Raptors need to end this series and win their first title.
“We’re focused,” Leonard said. “We know that it doesn’t mean anything until someone has four wins.”
If the Warriors win, Game 6 is Thursday night at Oracle Arena — which would be their home floor for the final time. Warriors guard Klay Thompson said he thinks Oracle deserves one more game.
Otherwise, Oracle’s run is over.
So, too, would be Golden State’s run as champions.
“You wish to have no end in sight, but everything that’s great always comes to an end,” Thompson said. “So whether that’s (Monday) or four years from now, you never know. That’s the beauty of life.”