The Golden State Warriors stayed alive last Monday but when Klay Thompson tore his ACL in the third quarter, it became a road too far for the defending champions as Toronto Raptors won 114-110 to win the franchise’s first ever NBA title.
The Raptors had key performers in Kawhi Leonard, who was named the MVP, Kyle Lowry, who scored 26 points. But, the Nick Nurse-coached franchise will be grateful for the clutch shooting from Fred VanVleet, who rose from the bench to rain down 22 points – 15 from three-point shooting.
There were so many records set at the Oracle Arena in Oakland on Friday morning – Leonard became just the third player in NBA history after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James to win the finals’ MVP with two different teams.
It was also the first time that a team based outside the US has won the NBA title as the Oracle Arena hosted its last game for the Warriors, after being open for 47 years.
It must be cruel on the Warriors who battled to the end despite injuries to crucial players at crucial times. Kevin Durant got injured just 11 minutes into Game 5 and Thompson had to sit out the entire fourth quarter but still ended as the Warriors’ top scorer with 30 points.
The Warriors started the fourth quarter with a two-point lead.
But in the end, they could not meet up, neither could they create a bit of history by becoming the first NBA team to win three consecutive titles and fourth in five years.