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NBA Championship Heads North: Raptors Best Warriors, 114-110

NBA Championship Heads North: Raptors Best Warriors, 114-110

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 on the road Thursday to win the franchise's first-ever NBA championship.

What Happened

Raptors' Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points in a difficult road game, while Kyle Lowry added 26 points in front of hundreds of Raptors supporters at the Oracle Arena.

The Raptors' supporting cast of Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka contributed with 26 points, 22 points and 15 points, respectively.

The Raptors are the first Canadian team to bring home a major championship since 1993, when the Toronto Blue Jays won their second consecutive World Series. The Montreal Canadians won the Stanley Cup the same year.

Since then, it's been nothing but years of despair for Canadian teams — especially the Raptors. The Vince Carter era in Toronto failed to produce a team that moved past the second round of the playoffs.

From 2002 through 2006, the Raptors failed to qualify for the playoffs. In the next two years, the team couldn't get past the first round. This was followed by a difficult five-year period where the team finished the regular season close to the bottom.

Since the 2015-16 season, the Raptors were a consistent playoff contender, but lost three years in a row to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Since LeBron James' exodus to the West, the East was up for grabs, and Toronto took full advantage.

"Toronto, Canada, we brought it home baby!" Lowry said after Thursday's game.

Why It's Notable

Hockey-crazed Canada made it clear to the sporting universe that basketball can be just as popular.

Thousands of fans piled outside the Raptors' home arena in Toronto to watch the game on large screens. The "Jurassic Park" trend was copied in dozens of cities across Canada, including in the streets of downtown Montreal and even a football stadium in Regina.

"Basketball has come full circle in Canada, invented by a Canadian, the first NBA game was in Toronto and now an NBA championship," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said before the Raptors hoisted the trophy.

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Posted-In: NBANews Sports General Best of Benzinga


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