Toronto Raptors defeat Golden State Warriors to seal first NBA title.
With the teams a point apart in the final second, Kawhi Leonard – who was named the finals’ MVP – hooped three free throws to lift the Raptors clear and claim their first NBA title in their 24-year history.
In a video posted on NBA TV’s Twitter account, Leonard said after lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy just a year after joining the Raptors: “Life experiences, my teammates, they did a great job welcoming me with open arms, the management – they just told me to come out and play basketball.
“This is what I play basketball for. This is what I work out for. I’m happy my hard work paid off.”
The game came down to the wire, however, with Stephen Curry – who finished with 21 points – missing a three-pointer with 0.9 seconds left on the clock and a frantic clamber for the ball led Golden State to call a timeout when they did not have any left.
Leonard went on to take advantage of the technical foul and hit two more free throws moments before the buzzer after being fouled, sealing the thrilling victory at Oracle Arena.
The victory denied a seventh game which could have given the Warriors a seventh title.
It was the third win for the Raptors on the away court in the finals, and certainly had the crowd holding their breath, with the lead changing 18 times across the course of the game.
For Toronto, Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry scored 26 each, Leonard and Fred VanVleet racked up 22 each, while Klay Thompson – who left the court with a knee injury late in the third – scored 30 for the Warriors.