The Toronto Raptors beat the Kevin Durant-less Golden State Warriors, 114-110, on Thursday night to win Canada’s first National Basketball Association championship.
Raptors protect Fred VanVleet rained clutch 3-pointers down on the Warriors, scoring 22 points — twofold his normal season average — as Toronto warded off a gritty challenge from the Warriors, who also lost All-Star guard Klay Thompson to a knee injury in the third quarter.
The loss marked a solemn end to the Warriors’ home in Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, their home for a long time, which was delegated with three of the past four NBA titles. The team is planned to move into the new Chase Center in San Francisco next season.
The Raptors had effectively wasted one opportunity to win the best-of-seven series, falling at home, 106-105, in the wake of having won three of the initial four games. The Warriors rampaged from behind on Monday because of 57 points from Thompson and Steph Curry, their sharpshooting watches.
In any case, Curry and Thompson weren’t sufficient on Thursday night, not without Durant, a previous class Most Valuable Player and 10-time All-Star, who cracked an Achilles ligament in the wake of having scored 11 in only 12 minutes on the floor in the Warriors’ Game 5 triumph.
Things deteriorated Thursday night when Thompson was stolen away the court after he landed clumsily, appearing to twist his left knee, while driving to the basket. He didn’t return after having scored 30 points, including 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point line.
The Raptors, in the mean time, cleared a whirlwind air into the playoffs, turning into the first team other than Golden State or the Cleveland Cavaliers to show up in the finals since 2014. What’s more, first team based in Canada ever to win the championship. (To be fair, only three Canadian teams have ever played in the NBA and its predecessor, the Basketball Association of America.)
In preparation for the historic win, authorities in Toronto closed several major downtown streets to accommodate the crowds.