Raptors hold off Warriors, win first ever NBA Championship
June 14, 2019
The Toronto Raptors are the NBA Champions for the first time in franchise history after defeating the Golden State Warriors in Game 6, 114-110, in the final game played at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
This game was an instant classic, much like the rest of the series, and it was off to a hot start from the opening tip. Kyle Lowry was smoldering in the first quarter, scoring 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting to build an early lead. The Warriors weren’t going out without a fight and trimmed the Raptors early nine point lead down to one to end the quarter.
The rest of the first half was an exciting punch-counterpunch from each team, swapping mini-runs in an attempt to take control of the game. The Raptors took a 60-57 lead into the half from solid play by Lowry and Pascal Siakam and the Warriors were able to hang around thanks to Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson.
The injury bug reared its head again on the Warriors when Klay Thompson went down awkwardly on his left leg after Danny Green contested his breakaway dunk attempt with 2:22 left in the third quarter. Klay left the floor, had to come back to shoot his two free throws, then pleaded with the coaching staff to stay in the game. He eventually went back to the locker room to be evaluated and left the arena on crutches with a torn ACL in his left knee.
With both Kevin Durant and Klay out of the lineup, Steph Curry took it upon himself to put the team on his back and carry them the rest of the way. Though it was a valiant effort, Curry struggled, only scoring 4 points the rest of the game, and was outscored by three other Warriors. The Warriors continued to battle and hung around with the Raptors throughout the rest of the game. Steph Curry had a good look from three in the closing seconds but it wouldn’t go down, the rebound was loose, the Warriors gained possession and called a timeout...but had none left. The subsequent technical foul free throw effectively ended the game, and seemed to close the door on the Warriors dynasty.
Kyle Lowry finished with 26 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Raptors. Pascal Siakam also went for 26, while Kawhi Leonard and Fred VanVleet each added 22 of their own. Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 30 points, and Andre Iguodala chipped in 22 points. Steph Curry scored 21 points but shot just 6-of-17 from the field and 3-of-11 from three point range.
Kawhi Leonard was named the Finals MVP for the second time in his career and became only the third player in NBA history to be named NBA Finals MVP with two different teams, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Bucks & Lakers) and LeBron James (Heat & Cavaliers).
And now, for the first time in franchise history, “We the North” is now “We the Champs”
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