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It’s over — it took a quarter of a century but the Raptors are NBA champions

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14.06.2019

OAKLAND—The best team won. Let me repeat that, long-suffering, formerly frustrated Toronto sports fans. The best team in basketball won its first NBA championship on Thursday night, dethroning the venerable Golden State Warriors in a classic Game 6.

And my, how the bulk of a quarter century can transform a franchise. Twenty-four seasons since they arrived on the scene as an expansion punching bag wearing widely mocked purple dinosaur jerseys, the Raptors proved themselves a beast of a champion on the game's biggest stage. The No. 1 team in the world's second-most popular sport now resides in Canada's most populous city.

To borrow a quote from one-time franchise icon Vince Carter: It's over.

They did it, winning 114-110 in a wild-swinging thriller of a contest, thanks to a collection of clutch performances. Kyle Lowry, the longest-serving Raptor who wore so many of Toronto's previous playoff failures, will soon be wearing a ring thanks to his 26-point, 10-assist, seven-rebound marvel of a game. Fred VanVleet couldn't seem to miss when it mattered, reeling off five three-pointers en route to 22 points. Kawhi Leonard, seemingly spent after a 24-game playoff grind, still found a way to be a focal point in a 22-point performance. Pascal Siakam put up a towering 26-point, 10-rebound gem.

They did it with defence. Heading into Thursday, the Raptors had held their playoff opponents to 42 per cent shooting from the field. They'd held the Warriors, who shot a league-best 48 per cent from the field during the regular season, to 44 per cent accuracy heading into Game 6. And while the Warriors shot 49 per cent, Toronto stopped the Warriors when it........

© Peterborough Examiner