The Toronto Raptors captured their first NBA crown on Thursday, defeating Golden State 114-110 to become the first league champion from outside the United States by dethroning the defending titleholders.
Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam each scored 26 points while Kawhi Leonard and reserve Fred VanVleet each added 22 as Toronto won the best-of-seven series four games to two.
Leonard was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career after the first in 2014 with San Antonio, which traded him to Toronto last July.
“Last summer I was going through a lot. I just kept working hard and had my mind set on this goal right here,” Leonard said. “This is why I play basketball. This is what I work hard for. I’m glad to see it all pay off.”
The Raptors became the first Canadian club to win a major North American sports title since the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays captured Major League Baseball’s World Series.
Klay Thompson scored 30 points to lead the Warriors but left the game with a left knee injury late in the third quarter after landing awkwardly on his left leg.
Injury-hit Golden State was already without two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant, who returned in game five Monday after being sidelined for a month only to suffer a ruptured right Achilles tendon.
Andre Iguodala added 22 points for the Warriors, Stephen Curry had 21 and Draymond Green contributed 11 points, 18 rebounds, and 13 assists.
“Everybody on this team played with a lot of heart,” Green said. “We just came up a little short.”
Golden State had a final shot to win trailing 111-110 but Curry missed a 3-pointer and Green called a timeout when the team had none, setting up three final free throws by Leonard to seal the victory.
Leonard was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career after the first in 2014 with San Antonio.
The Raptors spoiled the Warriors’ farewell appearance at Oracle Arena. Golden State’s home since 1971 will be replaced by a new $1 billion venue in San Francisco next season.
Toronto’s triumph made this first NBA Finals where road teams won five consecutive games.
Lowry scored 21 points in the first half to give Toronto a 60-57 lead, hitting 7-of-10 shots from the floor and 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Thompson led the Warriors with 18 first-half points.
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