We the North, and now we the champs!
The Toronto Raptors have won their first NBA Championship in franchise history, beating the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in a thrilling Game 6 on Thursday.
The final game was close throughout, with neither team able to gain a double-digit lead at any point. It was a tug-of-war match with several lead changes along the way.
With the Raptors up by a single point and the Warriors controlling the ball with nine seconds remaining, the Raptors defence came up big one last time, contesting a last-second Steph Curry shot to secure the victory.
Unsurprisingly, Kawhi Leonard was awarded Finals MVP after putting the Raptors on his back many nights throughout the postseason. He becomes just the third player in NBA history to win MVP with two different franchises.
Even if Kawhi leaves in free agency this summer, nobody can say that trade wasn’t worth it.
Rookie head coach Nick Nurse became a part of NBA history as well, becoming just the seventh coach to win the NBA title in his first season, and just the third in the last 30 years.
Kyle Lowry – the heart and soul of this Raptors team for so many years – had quite possibly the best game of his career.
He was especially impactful in the first half, where he had 21 points while shooting 4-for-5 from three-point range. He finished with 26 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists, and three steals.
Once again the Raptors bench came up big, with Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka both providing invaluable secondary scoring, combining for 37 points.
Four Raptors – Leonard, Lowry, VanVleet, and Pascal Siakam – had 20+ points in the title-clinching game.
The injury troubles continued for the Warriors, with Klay Thompson landing awkwardly on his left knee late in the third quarter after driving to the hoop and drawing a foul.
Though in obvious discomfort and being helped through the tunnel, Thompson admirably turned around and came back to shoot the free throws in order to remain eligible to play in the rest of the game.
After making both free throws, he was subbed out and it was later announced he would not return to the game.
While the injuries to the Warriors certainly played a factor, it shouldn’t undermine what the Raptors were able to accomplish this season.
This postseason run was nothing short of spectacular, igniting a new passion for basketball not just in Toronto, but all across Canada.
For the first time in NBA history, the Larry O’Brien trophy is making its way north across the border.