If the Golden State Warriors are going to win their third straight championship, they'll most likely need Kevin Durant to return at some point in the series.
Game 1 didn't play out very well for the Warriors. The defending champions fell short to the Toronto Raptors on the road despite Steph Curry's 34-point performance.
The Warriors struggled to stop the Raptors' frontcourt trio of Kawhi Leonard, Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam. Having Durant on the floor to protect the rim would certainly provide a boost.
Fortunately for Golden State, it sounds like Durant will return midway through the NBA Finals.
NBA insider Chris Haynes is reporting that Game 4 is the most logical option for Durant to return, but the Warriors are optimistic that he can be available for Game 3.
Durant was cleared to take part in individual on-court basketball activities this week, which is a good sign that he is progressing well.
Before injuring his calf in the second round, Durant was averaging 34.2 points per game.
Golden State flourished without Durant in the Western Conference Finals. Clearly, Toronto poses a much bigger threat due to the team's ability to defend at a high level.
With Durant very close to returning to the hardwood, Game 2 will be crucial to both teams.
The Raptors are looking to grab a commanding 2-0 series lead, while the Warriors will try to steal home-court advantage heading back to Oracle Arena.