Posted on June 14, 2019, by Travis Pulver
With Kevin Durant going down with a torn Achilles in Game Five, the only thing that was certain about Game Six was that he was not going to play. But as for who would win, it could have gone either way.
If Golden State’s roster brought its ‘A’ game, they had a great shot at forcing Game Seven. But if Toronto did the same, it wasn’t hard to imagine them wrapping up the series and the title with a win.
As it turns out, both teams did bring their ‘A’ game—but Toronto’s was just a little bit better.
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A back and forth game found the Raptors in front by one, 111-110, following a pair of free throws by Steph Curry with 18.5 seconds to go. However, on the ensuing possession, a bad pass led to a Toronto turnover giving the Warriors one last chance with 9.6 seconds to play.
Golden State succeeded in setting up a play that gave Steph Curry a good chance to make a game-clinching three-pointer, but he missed. In the mad scramble to corral the rebound, Draymond Green called a timeout after gaining control of the ball.
But the Warriors were out of timeouts.
That led to a tech being called, Kawhi Leonard taking a foul shot (and extending the lead to 112-110), and Toronto getting the ball back with .9 seconds left.
The refs called a foul on the final play allowing Leonard to hit two more free throws making the final score, 114-110.
Golden State had to deal with another key injury with Klay Thompson going down in the third quarter with what ended up being an ACL tear, but the Warriors remained in the game to the end.
“A lot of bad breaks in the finals, to be honest,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said after the game, via ESPN. “Like us, they kept on playing. We just had to keep on playing no matter who was out there. And I think they were super intense high-level games and both teams desperately trying to win.”
Toronto got out to a quick start taking an 11-2 lead to start the game, but at the end of the first, their lead was down to one, 33-32. The game remained close throughout the second and saw Toronto take a 60-57 lead into the half.
The Raptors maintained their lead for much of the third, but Golden State was able to take control towards the end of the quarter and take a two-point lead into the final quarter. However, much like the rest of the game, no one was able to take control of the outcome until Toronto did in the final minutes of the game.
They led by six with 2:14 left in the game only to see the lead shrink to a single point over the next minute. But in the end, Toronto was able to make the plays that needed to be made to lock up the win and the first NBA title for the franchise.
Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry led the way on the scoreboard with 26 points each, but it was Leonard with 22 on the night that was named the MVP of the Finals.
“I just came in with the right mindset, let’s go out and win ballgames,” Leonard said after the game, via ESPN. “I texted Kyle probably a day later — or the day that I got traded and told him, I said, ‘Let’s go out and do something special….”
Fred VanVleet chipped in 22 points off the bench hitting five of 11 three-point attempts in the process.
Klay Thompson led the way for the Warriors with 30 points despite leaving the game in the third quarter with an injury. Steph Curry had another off night from the floor hitting just six of 17 shots from the floor and 3-11 from three-point range; he scored 21.
Andre Iguodala chipped in 22, DeMarcus Cousins had 11 off the bench, and Draymond Green had another triple-double (11 points, 19 rebounds, and 13 assists).
Of course, now, NBA fans can focus on what should be a very interesting free agent market. What will Golden State do with two injured stars that will likely not play next season? Will Kawhi Leonard remain in Toronto?
Only time will tell.