Toronto Raptors outlast Golden State Warriors, win first NBA title
On Friday, June 14, the Toronto Raptors bested the Golden State Warriors, 114-110, earning their first NBA Championship in franchise history. Their victory thwarted the Warriors’ bid for a first-ever three-peat and dealt them their second Finals loss since 2015.
The Raptors’ win also marked the end of playoff misfortune that had marred the franchise’s reputation for years. The Toronto Raptors had not won an NBA Championship in their 24-year history–until now.
Anchored by performances from team captain Kyle Lowry and forward Pascal Siakam, the league’s lone Canadian team concluded this year’s thrilling series in six games in front of a hostile, pro-Warriors crowd at the Oracle Arena in San Francisco.
The game played like a tug-of-war throughout, but it was the Raptors who found themselves hanging on to a one-point lead with under 20 seconds left. In a crucial possession, Warriors star Stephen Curry bricked a three-pointer that would have stolen the game for his team. A costly Warriors error gave opposing star Kawhi Leonard a technical free throw, sealing the series outcome.
Leonard was awarded Finals MVP honors yet again, having averaged 28 points and 9 rebounds throughout the series. The forward and two-time Defensive Player of the Year had won a championship and Finals MVP honors in 2014 with the San Antonio Spurs. He had been traded to the Toronto Raptors in the summer ahead of the 2018-2019 regular season.
Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry contributed 26 points and 10 assists in the deciding game. Most Improved Player frontrunner Pascal Siakam chipped in 26 points, while Leonard and Fred VanVleet added 22 points each.
Meanwhile, the Warriors must confront the possible absence next season of stars Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant–both of whom had been injured in these Finals. Thompson suffered an ACL tear on his left knee late in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Durant tore his Achilles tendon in the heat of Game 5, which required immediate surgery.
Image: (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)