The Toronto Raptors are champions of the NBA after their win on Thursday night in Oakland over the Golden State Warriors, their third in a row in the Finals over them at Oracle Arena. It’s a remarkable statistic, and it shows just how well the so-called ‘underdogs’ have performed over the course of the series. You can say whatever you like about them, but they accomplished their end goal: to bring Toronto- and all of Canada- its first NBA title at the first attempt. No matter what you believe about the healthiness, or lack thereof, of the Warriors, you can only play the team that is placed in front of you, and play it the Raptors did. Their win in Game 6, a 114-110 victory, was keyed by, of course, Kawhi Leonard, the eventual Finals MVP.
The quiet superstar was outscored by Pascal Siakam’s 26 on the evening, but he still chipped in with 22 of his own, along with six boards, and his always great defensive effort. The point guards were the most instrumental, perhaps in this particular win, though, with Kyle Lowry putting in 26 and Fred VanVleet adding 22. Marc Gasol and Danny Green, two of just eight players to play at all for the visitors, combined for just three points, showing just how well the rest of the Raptors played. It will be interesting now to see where Kawhi Leonard, a free agent ends up this summer. Will he stay or will this be the high watermark of the franchise? As for the Warriors, it’s a case of try again next year. With Kevin Durant out and Klay Thompson hobbled yet again, they just didn’t have enough about them. Concerns will surround Steph Curry, who once again missed a big shot late in the going, but this team can still be expected to contend for years to come, right?