To be the champion, you have to beat the champion. That is what the Toronto Raptors did. The NBA finals 2019 were nothing short of spectacular. The entire post-season had something special happening along the way that prepared us for such an unseen ending. Everything has to come to an end, and everything has to have a winner.
So, how did the Raptors do it? How were the Raptors able to defeat the two-time champions, Golden State Warriors? Who is the NBA finals’ most valuable player? Is Nick Nurse, the Raptors coach, a genius? Which teams did the Raptors and the Warriors have to go through to get to the finals?
Golden State Warriors' journey
The Dubs knew it was not going to be an easy victory for them, and surely, they were well prepared for that. The bad thing about being the reigning champions is the fact that everyone is usually after your head. GSW was able to finish first in the western conference, and hence their first playoff series was against the 8th seeded team, the LA Clippers. They then faced the Houston Rockets and finally the Portland Trail Blazers.
GSW vs LA Clippers
This was a very entertaining series. The highlight of this series had to be the Patrick Beverly and Kevin Durant saga. This is where KD and Patrick were going after each other during the whole series. The star power of the Clippers cannot be able to be compared to the four all-stars in GSW, and hence GSW was able to take the series after game six with a four to two victory. One of the talking points of this series had to be when GSW lost a 31 point lead to lose to the Clippers in game 2.
Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets
This is one of the biggest rivalries in the NBA. This was the western conference finals last year. These teams usually meet every post-season and looking at how the western conference finals went this year; we hoped that this series could have been the finals. This playoff series tested both teams in different ways. For instance, KD was got the injury that kept him out of the playoffs till game 5 of the NBA finals. James Harden, the reigning 2018 MVP and also a candidate for this year’s MVP, got an eye injury. GSW was able to win the series four to two.
Golden State Warriors vs Portland Trail Blazers
This was the western conference finals. Here, we got the chance to see the battle of the brothers as Steph Curry took on Seth Curry. Throughout the series, the Blazers were able to take leads but could not keep their leads and ended up being swept by GSW.
Toronto Raptors’ journey
The Raptors had been in the news during the whole summer due to them acquiring Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs in exchange for Demar DeRozan. They were not even among the favourites to win the NBA playoffs. Their team is very diverse with people from all over the world, including Africa. I guess this is what made them a solid team. Apart from that, their rookie coach Nick Nurse, is truly a genius. You could see all this from the plays he was making.
Toronto Raptors vs Orlando Magic
The Raptors first went against seventh-seeded, Orlando Magic. This series started with an unexpected surprise when Orlando won game 1. People thought that the Raptors might make an early exit from the playoffs. The Raptors won the series four to one.
Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers
If you are a basketball fan, then you are sure that the Sixers are not the easiest team to beat. This is because of their defense and numerous offensive options. This was an evenly matched series as it went all the way to game seven to the very last second of the game. After the series was tied in game six, it meant that the match-up had to be decided in game seven. None of the two teams was willing to lose, so they both brought their A game. It was not until the very final seconds when Kawhi Leonard made a buzzer beater corner shot to end the hopes and dreams of the Sixers. Toronto won that series four to three.
Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks
This match-up meant not only were the two best players in the eastern conference facing each other, but also the two best teams in the East. This is because the Bucks were the number one team in the East while the Raptors were number two. People wanted to see who between The Greek Freak and The Klaw would become victorious. Many people thought that this would be the end of the Raptors after going two games down. This was, however, not to be as they were able to win all the other games and won the series four to two.
NBA finals 2019: Raptors vs Warriors
This is what we had all been waiting for. Who would come out victorious, the East or the West? The Klaw or the Splash Brothers? The first two games were to be played in Toronto. Here, the teams shared the wins with one each as they headed to Oracle Arena. Game one was dictated by the Cameroonian Pascal Siakam who got thirty-two points. The Warriors were facing another injury as Klay Thompson was injured and could not play game three. This translated to a blow-out victory for the Raptors even after Steph Curry dropped forty-seven points.
In game four, Klay came back healthy and on fire. He was his team’s highest scorer that night, but even that could not stop Kawhi and his team from getting the victory. This meant that the Raptors were now one win away from winning their first NBA championship as they headed back to Jurassic Park for game 5.
The Warriors knew they needed to do something and they needed to do it fast. Lucky enough, KD was cleared to play. Game 5 started in a rush as each team was hurrying to get early buckets. GSW was on fire beyond the arc. Kawhi, on the other side, was determined on keeping his team in the game earlier on. Unfortunately for GSW, Kevin Durant had to go out due to injury. There was an incident here where the Raptors fans were cheering while KD was being taken out and you could clearly see the Raptors players telling them to stop. This brought some reactions from people on social media. Joel Embid had this to say about the incident,
“Why are they cheering for his injury? Come on man #Disguting."
This, however, did not stop Golden State as they went on to win by half a bucket. This is after Kyle Lowry had a chance to win the game but the ball was slightly touched by Draymond Green and the shot missed. Back to Oracle for game six. During Game six, Kyle Lowry was on fire as he went on to get the first eleven points for his team. Klay Thomspon, who is known to turn up in game six, was also on fire. It was a team effort by Toronto where you saw Danny Green defending, Serge Ibaka blocking shots, Kawhi doing a bit of everything and Fred VanVleet racking points in the fourth quarter. There is nothing the likes of DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Iguodala and Steph Curry could do to try and stop them. Raptors won the game and just like that they are the new NBA champions.
Who is the NBA finals MVP?
Kawhi Leonard was awarded this prestigious award. This is after he dominated all facets of the game for four straight rounds, averaging 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.7 steals per game and 1.2 blocks per game for the playoffs.
Six things you need to know about the Toronto Raptors
- The Toronto Raptors stopped the Golden State Warriors from winning a three-peat
- Kawhi Leonard has stopped two dynasties: The Miami Heats dynasty with San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors dynasty with Toronto Raptors.
- Kawhi Leonard had one of the most impressive post-season runs.
- Nick Nurse joins the small list of rookie coaches who have won the NBA title.
- Toronto Raptors are the first team that is not from the United States to win the NBA title.
- This was the Raptors’ first ever title win.
The Raptors' fans were very excited on their first title win. The celebrations are still underway. One particular fan that is very happy is Drake. Drake is known to be an ambassador to the team as well as a super fan. He was truly excited about the matter and could not stop celebrating. People now believe that the Drake curse has been lifted by this victory.
That is all we had for you on the NBA finals 2019. Are you happy for the Toronto Raptors? Do you think the Raptors would have defeated a fully healthy GSW team? Do you think the Raptors have a chance of winning the title again next season? Leave your views and comments about all this in the comments section below.