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Bruce Arthur: A Raptors team of fearless dreamers triumphed the only way they knew how — together

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14.06.2019

OAKLAND, Calif—How did they imagine this? There was joy everywhere, in plumes and puddles and in so many people who had trouble finding the words to describe what was happening in their chest. The Toronto Raptors were NBA champions, down the hall from the remains of an absolute dynasty. It was hard for most people to explain what that meant.

"What am I gonna tell them?" said Kyle Lowry, on what he would say to his two sons about what had just happened. "Daddy's a champion. And they'll figure it out when they become one."

The Toronto Raptors won. Lowry is a champion. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green already were, and are again. Marc Gasol, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, Norm Powell — they all played in Game 6, in which the Golden State Warriors fought with their whole champion's hearts, but suffered their second season-ending injury of the past two games, and an absolute ruination. Steph Curry still had a shot to pull them back ahead, and he missed.

But the Warriors had already lost Kevin Durant to an Achilles, Klay Thompson to a torn ACL, and there was more beyond that. If there had been a Game 7, they barely had anyone healthy left to put on a plane.

So the Raptors won, and got to let it all out. Outside the Toronto Raptors locker room a champagne-soaked Marc Gasol giddily Facetimed his old teammate Mike Conley, with whom he toiled in Memphis for all those years without ever getting past the second round. Inside, Leonard danced, goggles on. Lowry sprayed a couple bottles but didn't drink, because he doesn't, not even now.

"Words can't explain how I feel," Lowry said. He has always wanted this. He was magnificent.

They came from all over, the global gang. Serge Ibaka wrapped himself in a flag of the Republic of the Congo; Siakam in the flag of his native Cameroon. Chris Boucher had Canadian flags; Masai Ujiri's shoulders held Nigeria.

"I think for me, when I look at everybody here, and I look at where everybody's from, from all over the world in our organization, and I think it means something to the world to bring a championship to a team that's outside of America," said Ujiri. "And it says everybody can dream. And everybody can win."

It's easy........

© Peterborough Examiner