Friday June 14, 2019
By Nick Westoll
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, centre, celebrates with the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy after defeating the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)
The Toronto Raptors have made NBA history by winning Game 6 of the Finals Thursday night, marking the first time a Canadian team has won the championship.
The Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif.
“Canada, we brought it home, baby. Canada, we brought it home,” Kyle Lowry emphatically said after the team was presented with the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy.
Kawhi Leonard, who scored 22 points in Game 6, was named Finals MVP.
Toronto had a strong first quarter and at one point led it by nine points. Kyle Lowry sunk four three-pointers and Pascal Siakam another two. Despite rotating leads in the second quarter, the Raptors went into the half leading 60-57.
As the Warriors took a lead in the third quarter, Klay Thompson — who scored 30 points — suffered an apparent knee injury. He was briefly assessed by doctors before returning to the court to shoot two free throws on a foul, but left right after for further assessment. Toronto and Golden State were neck and neck in the remaining quarter, but the Raptors came out on top.
In the end, the Raptors showed a stronger offensive effort in Game 6. Toronto scored 12 three-pointers — two more than scored throughout Game 5. Golden State scored 10.
Lowry ended up scoring 26 points while Siakam got 26 points. Fred VanVleet scored 22 points.
Thursday’s win caps a stunning playoff run for the Raptors. Toronto defeated the Orlando Magic, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks to face off in the Finals against the two-time defending champions.
Since the beginning of the 2018-19 season, Raptors President Masai Ujiri set the lofty goal of securing the top NBA title. The acquired Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs along with Danny Green in exchange for DeMar DeRozan. Marc Gasol was later added to the roster at the trade deadline in February.
Thousands of fans attended Jurassic Park and surrounding streets outside the arena to cheer on the Raptors. In Toronto, torrential rain and thunderstorms threatened to move the celebration inside. However, the weather cleared up a few hours before tip-off.
Other cities in Ontario, such as Mississauga, Barrie, Kitchener, Burlington, and in Canada have been holding similar viewing parties.