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SportsFinals takeaways: Raptors were team of destiny, Warriors needed KD after all

17:35  14 june  2019
17:35  14 june  2019 Source:   thescore.com

Raptors punish Warriors for coming unprepared to Game 1

Raptors punish Warriors for coming unprepared to Game 1 It promises to get harder for the Raptors from here, but they at least took care of the easy part. Presumably the Warriors will pay closer attention between now and Game 2, now that they have some game tape, and now that they know they’re in a series. The post Raptors’ Siakam continues to defy odds despite bright lights of Finals appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.

Team of destiny . There are certain champions in sport that emanate an indescribable aura on their After surrendering homecourt advantage in the NBA Finals with a Game 2 loss to the two-time None of this is meant to discredit the Warriors before or after KD . They were a historically great team

Here are the takeaways from Game 2. Third-quarter takeover. After playing just eight minutes in Game 1 of The Finals , Cousins not only started Game 2, but he finished with The Warriors always were going to be a tax-paying team next season, given that Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond

Finals takeaways: Raptors were team of destiny, Warriors needed KD after all© Andrew D. Bernstein / National Basketball Association / Getty

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals to claim the franchise's first championship. Here are some final takeaways from the end of the two finalists' seasons:

Team of destiny

There are certain champions in sport that emanate an indescribable aura on their journey to immortality. In recent history, teams like the 2011 Dallas Mavericks, 2016 Chicago Cubs, and 2018 Washington Capitals come to mind.

Sometimes an all-time great transforms into an unstoppable force at just the right time. Sometimes a collection of hungry veterans refuse to accept defeat any longer, or a playoff mainstay that's knocked on the door of greatness year after year finally decides to kick that door down. Sometimes it's as simple as a long-tormented fan base that can sense the impossible is finally plausible, willing its team to new heights.

Game 1 takeaways: Raptors stymie Warriors, take early control of Finals

Game 1 takeaways: Raptors stymie Warriors, take early control of Finals Game 1 takeaways: Raptors stymie Warriors, take early control of Finals

Here are three takeaways from a game that was more crucial for Toronto than for Golden State. OAKLAND -- Stephen Curry delivered a man-size performance in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday The Raptors took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Playing without two starters

Opinion: Warriors need Kevin Durant if they want to beat Raptors for NBA title three-peat. Conventional wisdom built on a half-decade of NBA Finals took a sharp exit out of Toronto on Thursday night in the third quarter of a Game 1 when it became obvious that anything is possible now.

And sometimes, in the case of the 2019 Toronto Raptors, a team checks all of those boxes.

Whatever it is that creeps up over the course of a playoff run to convince us that we might be in the presence of one of these teams of destiny, the Raptors had it.

Reeling off five straight wins after a playoff-opening loss to the Orlando Magic might not have convinced you. The same goes for Kawhi Leonard pulling the Raptors off the mat in Game 4 at Philadelphia. Perhaps doubt persisted after Leonard's historic Game 7 buzzer-beater, even after its four bounces seemed to defy the laws of physics.

Trailing 2-0 in the East finals a week later, the Raptors survived a double-overtime Game 3 thriller against the top-seeded Bucks despite foul trouble and a hobbled Leonard. Milwaukee wouldn't win another game. The Raptors marched on.

Raptors fumble Game 2 leaving questions that need answers

Raptors fumble Game 2 leaving questions that need answers Raptors fumble Game 2 leaving questions that need answers

2019 NBA Finals : Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State Warriors | Scores, matchups, playoff bracket, schedules, news, stats, analysis and video highlights. Game 6: raptors 114, warriors 110.

The Warriors trail a series for the first time this postseason after losing Game 1 of the NBA Finals to the Raptors on Thursday night. Here are three takeaways from a frustrating night for the Warriors in Canada: Defense was the difference. It didn’t take long for the Warriors to realize they weren’t facing

After surrendering homecourt advantage in the NBA Finals with a Game 2 loss to the two-time defending champion Warriors, the Raptors went into Oracle Arena needing just one road win to recapture it. Leonard said f--- that, let's get both - literally - and they did.

And finally, after snatching defeat from the jaws of a historic victory in the closing minutes of Game 5, the Raptors headed back to Oracle for Game 6, where they became the first team since the 2001 Lakers (and just the seventh team ever) to win three road games in the Finals.

There was no shaking this team. At every turn, the Raptors met bumps in the road head-on and rose to the occasion - adversity bouncing off of them like Kevon Looney trying to prevent Leonard from getting to the rim.

Leonard was the unstoppable force, securing his second Finals MVP award to cap a magical playoff run during which he averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.7 steals on 49-38-88 shooting. Only Michael Jordan and LeBron James have scored more total points in a single postseason.

Kyle Lowry jumps into stands, gets into altercation with Warriors fan

Kyle Lowry jumps into stands, gets into altercation with Warriors fan Early in the fourth quarter of Game 3 of the 2019 NBA Finals, Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry jumped into the first row of the stands at Oracle Arena in an attempt to save a loose ball, but was not well-received by one of the Warriors fans sitting there. Lowry collided with two fans upon landing in the stands, and knocked one of them backwards into the row behind them. ALSO: Drake nowhere in sight at Game 3 of NBA Finals, but Beyonce, Jay-Z and many others were there © Provided by Hearst NewspapersKyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors attempts to save the ball against the Golden State Warriors in the second half during Game Three of the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 05, 201

Numbers show Warriors need Kevin Durant in 2019 NBA Finals vs. Raptors . Toronto is an excellent defensive team , appreciably better than the Warriors have been this postseason. Meanwhile, KD is restricted to light individual workouts and providing tips to his teammates.

Toronto took advantage of a Warriors team missing injured star Kevin Durant to hand defending champion Golden State its first loss in six games. In first NBA Finals game in team history, Raptors beat Warriors , 118-109, to take 1-0 series lead. Pascal Siakam was phenomenal for Toronto, leading

Playing the role of hungry vets were Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka.

Finals takeaways: Raptors were team of destiny, Warriors needed KD after all© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC Andrew D. Bernstein / National Basketball Association / Getty

Ibaka lost in the 2012 Finals and was part of a Thunder team that blew a 3-1 lead against Golden State in the 2016 West finals. He wasn't to be denied this year, putting together breathtaking bursts throughout these playoffs, and almost always in the immediate aftermath of his roughest stretches of the season.

Gasol, one of the pillars of the "Grit 'n Grind" Grizzlies, provided Toronto with a combination of playmaking and defense that the team so desperately craved from a center when it sacrificed its depth to acquire him at the trade deadline. Gasol's heart may always belong to Memphis, but he left an indelible mark on the basketball soul of Canada, even marking his first interview as an NBA champion with a "We the North!" battle cry.

Lowry, as usual, was the Raptors' heartbeat throughout their quest. He bounced back from poor shooting nights with an aggression that was so predictable, it almost became comical, and he set the tone for Toronto's biggest games. On Thursday night at Oracle, Lowry single-handedly outscored the Warriors over the first 4:51, had a hand in 22 of the Raptors' 33 first-quarter points, and finished with 26 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds, and three steals.

What they’re saying about us: Raptors take advantage of weak Warriors

What they’re saying about us: Raptors take advantage of weak Warriors While the Raptors dominated the court during Game 3, their performance was not without it’s hiccups. From a pesky Stephen Curry to a disrespectful fan, here’s what media outlets are saying about the Raptors following Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Weakened lineup leaves Curry all alone The Golden State Warriors “Strength in Numbers” motto could not have been farther from the truth during Game 3, according to CBS Sports’ Colin Ward-Henninger. The

Doug Gottlieb talks NBA Finals on today's show with Colin Cowherd. He also weighs in on how the Finals could impact both KD and Kawhi Leonard's free agency decisions. About The Herd with Colin Cowherd: The Herd with Colin Cowherd is a three-hour sports television and radio show on FS1 and

Look back at the November 29th match-up between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors before they face-off in the 2019 NBA Finals Presented By

Over the final two rounds, Lowry averaged 17.7 points on 46-42-82 shooting. Through the postseason, only one player (Draymond Green) even took half the amount of charges Lowry did, and no one recovered more loose balls. If you wanted to see a visible representation of insatiable hunger, all you had to do was observe the look in Lowry's eyes over the last two months. No one was taking this from him. Not this time.

Finals takeaways: Raptors were team of destiny, Warriors needed KD after all© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC Mark Blinch / National Basketball Association / Getty

A couple of Raptors mainstays helped Lowry and Co. finally kick down that door.

Pascal Siakam, a G League Finals MVP just two years ago, cemented his status as a rising star - and a worthy Pippen to Leonard's Jordan - by averaging 19.8 points on 51 percent shooting in the Finals. Fred VanVleet went from looking downright unplayable through two-and-a-half rounds to summoning the big-shot ghosts of Robert Horry and Chauncey Billups over the last three weeks. In some sort of reverse-Monstars jinx upon the birth of his second child last month, VanVleet posted an absurd 51-53-86 shooting split over the playoffs' final nine games.

As a collective, the Raptors will be remembered for a smothering defense capable of both corralling superstars and suffocating supporting casts in the halfcourt.

Opinion: Kevin Durant's Game 5 injury is a failure on many levels

Opinion: Kevin Durant's Game 5 injury is a failure on many levels Kevin Durant left Game 5 in the second quarter after sustaining a lower-leg injury. He should have never played Monday.

Joel Embiid said he was the most dominant player in the league at one point this season, but Gasol's IQ and dad-strength neutralized him inside like it did Nikola Vucevic in the first round. Giannis Antetokounmpo said no one player could guard him, but Leonard practically turned the MVP front-runner into a helpless bystander over the final four games of the East finals. VanVleet, Lowry, and Danny Green, meanwhile, spent the Finals admirably hounding Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson over, through, and around a dizzying array of screens.

Through it all, there was that incomparable Raptors fan base, swelling and growing more rabid with each victory en route to the Larry O'Brien Trophy, so starved for success that they flooded the streets just to celebrate the franchise's first trip to the Finals.

By the title-clinching Game 6 against the Warriors, 59 Jurassic Park viewing parties had come to life across Canada, and silent, heartbroken spring nights of the past gave way to a raucous party the likes of which Toronto has never seen.

Durant's the difference for Warriors

Finals takeaways: Raptors were team of destiny, Warriors needed KD after all© Provided by Score Media Ventures INC Noah Graham / National Basketball Association / Getty

After finding themselves on fortune's good side over the last five years, the Warriors were snakebitten by devastating injuries during the 2019 playoffs.

Kevin Durant missed half the postseason with a calf injury before returning only to rupture his Achilles in Game 5 of the Finals, Thompson blew out his knee in the title-clincher after battling through a hamstring issue throughout the series, DeMarcus Cousins missed most of the playoffs with a quad injury suffered early in the first round, and both Looney and Andre Iguodala were limited by injuries at various points of the Finals.

How the Raptors lost their grip on a title in the last 3 minutes of Game 5

How the Raptors lost their grip on a title in the last 3 minutes of Game 5 The Toronto Raptors had a championship within their grasp Monday night. Up 3-1 in The Finals, playing at home, and after trailing the Golden State Warriors for virtually all of Game 5, the Raptors had finally surged ahead in the fourth quarter thanks to a jaw-dropping stretch of play from Kawhi Leonard, who spearheaded a 14-5 run with 12 points, three rebounds, and an assist in the span of three-and-a-half minutes. His last bucket in that run, a push shot in the lane, put Toronto up six points with just over three minutes to play. The Warriors looked exhausted. The 20,000 fans inside Scotiabank Arena could taste it. Perhaps the Raptors could, too.

Those injuries, and the collective toll of five consecutive Finals runs, helped Toronto slay a team that Steve Kerr aptly referred to as "f------ giants." The wounded Warriors showed incredible resolve not only in making this a series but in their continued attempts to play through pain. Thompson, for example, with a freshly torn ACL, told Kerr he needed only a few minutes off on Thursday.

But those non-Durant injuries aside, the Warriors weren't winning this series without the two-time Finals MVP. It was evident in the way that the Raptors mostly dominated the series, and in the way that the Warriors flexed their unstoppable offensive muscle for the one quarter that Durant did take the court in Game 5.

It's one thing for the trio of Lowry, VanVleet, and Green to limit the Splash Brothers - or for Nick Nurse's team to employ a box-and-one against Curry-led lineups without Thompson on the floor - when Durant isn't around to tip the scales. His presence changes the equation.

Look at this Warriors dynasty as a whole. A 67-win team scraped by a Cavaliers squad without Kyrie Irving or Kevin Love in the Finals in 2015, only for the 73-win Warriors to blow a 3-1 series lead against Cleveland in 2016. Three years later, the Durant-less Warriors didn't seem to have many answers for the Raptors. With Durant running away with Finals MVP awards in 2017 and 2018, however, Golden State cruised to championships in five games or less.

None of this is meant to discredit the Warriors before or after KD. They were a historically great team before he arrived, and showed the true heart of a champion in his wake. But there's a big difference between great and inevitable. Durant was that difference, and he reminded the world of it when, on a bum leg, he scored 11 points in 12 minutes of a Finals elimination game after partaking in just one practice over the previous month.

There were cracks in the Warriors' dynastic foundation all year. Their 57-win regular season didn't include the same type of demoralizing dominance we had grown accustomed to, and inferior opponents no longer seemed to fear them. Heck, the star-less Clippers didn't fear them down 31 points in a playoff game at Oracle. But there was still a sense that with Durant leading the charge, and emerging as the undisputed best player in basketball early in the postseason, the Warriors had enough to survive one more war of attrition between April and June.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, Durant would end up being the biggest casualty of that battle.

Between the final two contests of the first round and his last healthy appearance in the conference semis against Houston, Durant averaged an unfathomable 43.8 minutes over a six-game sample. He then played 32 of 34 possible minutes the night he strained his calf against the Rockets and 12 of a possible 14 minutes the night he ruptured his Achilles.

At a moment of conflict earlier this season, and at a time when no one could've envisioned the unfortunate events that were to follow in the playoffs, Draymond Green reportedly told Durant that the Warriors didn't need him. In the end, that couldn't have been further from the truth. It turns out the Warriors actually needed Durant too much for their own - and his own - good.

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