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Raptors dethrone Warriors to capture first NBA crown

  • Published at 01:46 am June 15th, 2019
Toronto
Toronto Raptors players celebrate winning the NBA Finals series against Golden State Warriors in California Thursday Reuters

Kawhi Leonard was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career after the first in 2014 with San Antonio Spurs, which traded him to Toronto last July

An upstart Toronto Raptors squad dethroned defending champion Golden State Thursday, defeating the Warriors 114-110 to win the NBA Finals and capture the first crown by a club from outside the United States.

Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam each scored 26 points while Kawhi Leonard and reserve Fred VanVleet both had 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 Spurs, which traded him to Toronto last July.

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.

The Raptors spoiled the Warriors' farewell appearance at Oracle Arena. 

Golden State's home since 1971 will be replaced by a new $1bn venue in San Francisco next season.

Klay Thompson scored 30 points to lead the Warriors but left the game with a torn left knee ligament late in the third quarter after landing awkwardly on his left leg.

It was the latest setback for an injury-hit Golden State team that 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.

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.

The Warriors failed in their bid for a third consecutive title and to become the first team in 50 years to win four titles in five seasons.

Toronto's triumph made this the first NBA Finals where road teams won five consecutive games.

Lowry, who scored Toronto's first 11 points, won his first NBA crown in his 13th league campaign.

Golden State led 80-76 when disaster struck. 

Thompson landed awkwardly on his left leg on a missed shot and went to the floor writhing in pain, being helped to the locker room.

Thompson turned back and returned to the court, a standing crowd screaming with delight to see him sink two free throws, giving the Warriors their biggest lead at 85-80.

But after he was seen limping, Thompson was removed and later left the arena on crutches.

VanVleet, who had 12 points in the fouth quarter, sank two 3-pointers and his three free throws with 5:39 remaining pulled the Raptors level at 99-99.

VanVleet struck again from 3-point range and Serge Ibaka scored off a rebound to put Toronto ahead 106-101 with 3:03 remaining.

Green's 3-pointer pulled the Warriors within 108-105 and after trading free throws, Cousins scored on a layup to pull Golden State within 109-108 with 46 seconds remaining.

Siakam and Curry exchanged points and a bad pass by Toronto's Danny Green set up Curry's final miss.