For the first time in their history, and after suffering so many failures over the recent few years, the Toronto Raptors have won the NBA title.
Last night, Nick Nurse’s boys defeated the Golden State Warriors in Oakland with 114-110, ending their two-year reign.
After a pretty exciting and exhausting match, the Raptors triumphed after a bit odd ending. The Warriors were three points behind, and after one missed three-pointer, they called for a timeout. What was shocking is that the hosts didn’t have one, which allowed Kawhi Leonard to go on the free throw line, to sink one tech free throw and seal the game.
In order for you to realize how interesting was this clash, here is one data. The fans saw 18 lead changes. The biggest edge one side had was nine points, and that was in the first period when the guests led 17-8. After that, it was pound for pound, without any big pushes or deficits.
Without a doubt, it was the most intense contest of the entire series, and the Raptors won it fair and square.
Steve Kerr congratulated the new champions at the press conference, saying that they deserved the title.
“I’d like to congratulate Toronto. They are a fantastic basketball team…They have a lot of guys who earned this,” said GSW’s coach.
When mentioning Raptors’ players, five of them had 15 or more points and four 20+. Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam led the way with respective double-doubles. Both players dropped 26 buckets; only Siakam had 10 boards while Lowry added 10 assists and 7 boards.
Fred VanVleet played his role at the highest possible level once again, delivering 22 points and 5 threes off the bench. But not only that, VanVleet made some clutch shots in the final period, and for sure, he kept Toronto in the game.
“Kaw kinda slow down a little bit, they were doubling, and I was able to step up and make some big shots.
Serge Ibaka was solid also with 15 points, while the MVP of the finals, Kawhi Leonard dropped 22 points and had 6 assists.
The Claw became the first player to win the NBA Finals MVP coming from both conferences. In the end, he totaled for 732 points in the postseason, third-best behind Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
In his first season in Canada, he took Toronto to the heights nobody could imagine. During the press conference, Kawhi revealed what he texted Kyle Lowry once he got traded from the Spurs in exchange for DeMar DeRozan.
“Let’s go out and do something special. I know your best friend left. I know you’re mad. But let’s make this thing work out.”
And they sure as hell did.
On the other side, the Warriors had a rough postseason. After losing KD twice, they were left without Klay Thompson who picked up an injury in the late third quarter. Klay was later escorted to the locker room on crutches, although he thought that he could continue the match pretty soon. Steve Kerr stated that Thompson said that he needs a two-minute pause and that he will come back, but that the doctors realized the magnitude of the injury and didn’t allow that.
Up until that point, he was by far the best player in Golden State dropping 30 points in 32 minutes, and shooting 8 of 12 from the field and 10 for 10 from the line.
Steph Curry wasn’t in the mood as he scored 21 points, firing threes 3 of 11. Andre Iguodala had 22 buckets, while Draymond Green had an astonishing triple-double with 11 points, 13 assists, and 19 rebounds.
Of all the Warriors’ players, he was the most optimistic after the match.
“Everybody thinks this is kind of the end of us. That’s just not smart. We not done yet.”
Masai Ujiri’s risk, in the end, brought result. He was one of the most hated persons after DeRozan’s departure. Not only did he sent away the team icon, but brought in a player who didn’t play for a season, and had just one year on his contract.
Now, things look very bright for the Raptors — the new NBA champions.