The Golden State Warriors’ dynasty is over. The Toronto Raptors have ended it with a 144-110 win in Game 6, winning the series 4-2. And in their very first appearance in the NBA Finals, the Raptors have won it and finally brought the championship to Canada for the first time.
Kawhi Leonard crowned as MVP in NBA Finals
And while the MVP of the finals was definitely Kawhi Leonard, it was a team performance from the Raptors that helped them to the Championship. In fact, in Game 6 it was Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry who stepped up when it mattered, scoring 26 points each. But the real top performer in this game was Fred VanVleet, who scored a big chunk of the Raptor’s points in the last quarter.
Leonard is only the third NBA player, after LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to win the NBA Finals MVP award with two franchises. He credited the award to his hard work and his will to bounce back from the injury-ridden 2017-18 campaign.
The moment the Raptors were crowned champions 🎉 pic.twitter.com/LisNtLcihf
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 14, 2019
The obvious free agency question looms over everyone’s head, of course. Reports before the Finals did suggest that Kawhi wished to move back to Los Angeles, but the Raptors and all Canadians are hopeful that a championship win will change his mind.
Post the win, Leonard did make it clear on interviews that his current focus was only on enjoying the moment with his teammates. Any career decision will only be thought of after.
"This is what I play basketball for. … I'm happy that my hard work paid off."
—Kawhi Leonard after the Raptors' first NBA Championship pic.twitter.com/8O2WROSYLY
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) June 14, 2019
As for the opponents, the Warriors, they gained a lot of respect from fans worldwide. Playing without some of their best players in Kevin Durrant and Klay Thomson for much of the Finals, the Warriors still put up a brave fight.