WASHINGTON: For the first time, the NBA championship belongs to the Toronto Raptors and resides outside of the United States.
Playing for an entire country, the Raptors dethroned the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, holding on for a 114-110 victory that finished the NBA Finals in six games.
Kyle Lowry and Cameroon’s Pascal Siakam scored 26 points apiece and Kawhi Leonard added 22 for the Raptors, who won all three games at Oracle Arena, closing the building in extremely disappointing fashion for the Warriors and their fans.
The Warriors simply ran out of players. Competing in their fifth straight Finals, Golden State lost superstar Kevin Durant to a ruptured Achilles tendon in Game 5 and All-Star Klay Thompson to a left knee injury in Game 6.
While the Warriors were searching for scoring, the Raptors found it in reserve guard Fred VanVleet, who scored 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter.
Even without Durant and Thompson, the Warriors still had a chance to win after Danny Green threw away a pass with Toronto leading by one and 9.6 seconds left.
But Steph Curry missed a go-ahead three-pointer and - after a wild scramble for the rebound - Draymond Green called a timeout that Golden State did not have with 0.9 seconds remaining.
Leonard made a technical foul shot, then added two free throws to seal it. He was named Finals MVP for the second time in his career, also winning with San Antonio in 2014. — Bernama