- Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters
- The Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 to win their first NBA championship.
- The Warriors had a chance to win the game late, but Stephen Curry’s go-ahead three-pointer rimmed out.
- Despite a quiet game from Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors were carried by Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet who scored 26 and 22 points, respectively.
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The Toronto Raptors did it.
The Raptors on Thursday beat the Golden State Warriors, 114-110, in Game 6 to win the NBA Finals. It is their first championship in franchise history.
Kawhi Leonard, who scored 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting, took home Finals MVP.
In a game where the Warriors defense stifled Leonard, holding him below his series average, the Raptors were led by their two point guards, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. Lowry kicked things off by scoring the Raptors first 11 points and finished with 26. VanVleet carried the load in a tight fourth quarter, scoring 12 of his 22 in the final frame. Pascal Siakam scored 26.
The finish was a chaotic one, with the Raptors taking a late lead, but the Warriors refusing to go down quietly.
With 9.6 seconds left and the Raptors leading by one, Danny Green was trapped at midcourt by Draymond Green and threw away the ball, giving the Warriors one last chance to get the win.
As it did all postseason, the bounces went the Raptors way. Stephen Curry sprang open on a beautifully designed play, but his fade-away three-pointer rimmed in and out. The ball was tapped out to midcourt, where Draymond Green dove on it and called timeout with .9 seconds left. However, the Warriors were out of timeouts, resulting in a technical foul. Kawhi Leonard sank the free throw, his first points of the fourth quarter, to essentially secure the championship.
Though the series was evenly matched and dramatic, the specter of injuries lingered over the six games. In Games 1-4, questions about when Kevin Durant would return from a calf injury persisted. Durant, of course, returned in Game 5, but tore his Achilles tendon just 14 minutes into the game.
In Game 6, the Warriors, already short-handed and bruised, suffered another casualty as Klay Thompson went down with a knee injury in the third quarter. Though he briefly returned in a dramatic scene, he later left the game and was ruled out.
Both teams now head into the offseason with big questions – Leonard, Durant, Thompson, and Danny Green are all free agents. Some believe the Warriors dynasty may have ended on Thursday night.
In the meantime, the Raptors achieved the exact purpose of the bold Kawhi Leonard trade they made 11 months ago.