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Rick Zamperin: Raptors on cusp of NBA immortality but ‘it ain’t over til it’s over’

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) shoots in front of Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green during the second half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Friday, June 7, 2019.
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) shoots in front of Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green during the second half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Friday, June 7, 2019. AP Photo/Tony Avelar, Pool

Late New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra made a number of famous quotes — or yogisms — during his playing days, none more wiser than ‘it ain’t over til it’s over.’

The quip has been used over and over again by fans in all sports and is now the motto of the Golden State Warriors.

The two-time defending NBA champions are on the brink of falling to the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals, trailing three games to one heading into Monday night’s showdown at Scotiabank Arena.

Of the 244 teams that have trailed 3-1 in a best-of-7 NBA series, only 11 clubs (a measly four per cent) have come back to win. Golden State pulled off such a comeback in the 2016 Western Conference Final against Oklahoma City. But a couple of weeks later, the Warriors squandered a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Golden State looks tired, don’t they? Besides the brilliance of ‘Splash Brothers’ Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, the Warriors aren’t getting much production from players like Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.

Longtime Raptors fans set up camp outside Jurassic Park days before Game 5

Longtime Raptors fans set up camp outside Jurassic Park days before Game 5
Longtime Raptors fans set up camp outside Jurassic Park days before Game 5

The calf injury that has kept superstar Kevin Durant off the court since the west semi-finals has certainly hurt Golden State, but the Raptors have had their fair share of injury concerns as well. Kawhi Leonard has put in a herculean effort despite basically playing on one leg and Kyle Lowry has been nursing a thumb injury that could require surgery in the offseason.

The Raptors are also muttering Berra’s famous phrase to themselves, at least, they should be. The Raps have an opportunity to knock out the champs on their home floor, knowing that if they don’t win Monday night there will be a cross-continent flight back to Oracle Arena for Game 6.

So, yes, it ain’t over till it’s over but it sure would be nice if it ended Monday night.

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