After the Richmond Tigers’ second premiership in three years, coach Damien Hardwick said he had used US sports teams the San Antonio Spurs and the Detroit Red Wings as examples to live by.
The Toronto Raptors have picked up a thrilling victory in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, winning their first championship and burying playoff demons which have haunted the franchise for years.
The Raptors struggled on their home floor during the playoffs, losing Game 2, then Game 5 to squander a three-one lead, they bounced back on the road to beat the Golden State Warriors in the final ever game at the Oracle Arena before the Warriors move to a new arena next season.
Golden State came into the playoffs chasing a three-peat, but were without Kevin Durant for all but ten minutes of the series, with injuries stunting their progress as Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam led the way for Toronto.
An injury to Klay Thompson further derailed the Warriors at the back-end of the third quarter, and while they hung around during the fourth, a series of missed shots and quality defence from Toronto stopped the home side from getting the job done.
Up by a point with 17 seconds to play, the Warriors refused to commit the foul which would have at worst given them a chance to pick up the win with a three, but instead forced the turnover with just nine seconds on the clock as a pass was fired over the sideline.
The Warriors would advance the ball up the floor from the timeout with just 9.6 seconds to go, but the inbound pass was horrendous, and the eventual follow-up shot from Steph Curry resulted in a miss.
With no timeouts remaining, the Warriors committed a technical foul with under a second on the clock and that would be all the NBA Finals wrote, as the Raptors got up by four points to claim the championship.
All of Siakam, Lowry and Leonard had over 20 points in the game, while Lowry also had ten assists and Siakam ten rebounds.
In the absence of Durant and later Thompson though, the Warriors struggled with shooting percentage as Steph Curry shot 21 points at just 6 of 17 from the floor, while Draymond Green came up with a triple-double which just wasn’t enough in the end.
Golden State, who were gunning for a three-peat in the NBA Finals, will now go back to the drawing board with a shake-up to the super franchise likely in free agency and trading during the off-season.
Golden State Warriors 110
Toronto Raptors 114