Raptors Win First Title, End Warrior Dynasty & Launch New Era for NBA

No. The headline you are reading is not from an NBA 2K video game. The Toronto Raptors are the 2019 NBA Champions. After multiple playoff runs only to come up short against LeBron James, Kyle Lowry gets to call himself an NBA Champion. Toronto knew that when they signed Kawhi Leonard, it would only be for a single season. Through all the turmoil and the ugly breakup that Kawhi had with the San Antonio Spurs, Kawhi was able to turn a franchise, notorious for failing, into the team that ends the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty.

The first five games of the series were tremendous, but Game 6 was a basketball game that should be written in every history book that there is. Both Toronto and Golden State were throwing blows back and forth with nobody giving in an inch. Kyle Lowry, the guy that social media was making memes of after he could not hit the game-winner in Game 5, tallied 26 points and 10 assists in the title-clincher. Fred VanVleet, an undrafted player, had clutch performances throughout the playoffs, but his best game came in Game 6 with a 22-point outing. Pascal Siakam, the most improved player of the year, was the heart and soul of the championship run and he closed the deal with a 26-point, 10-rebound performance. An unprecedented run to their first championship leads to rings for the long-time Raptor, Lowry, gritty veteran, Marc Gasol, the undrafted castoff, VanVleet, and the player with the most talked about two-week run in NBA history, Jeremy Lin. A moment thought inconceivable by Raptor fans is now a reality. Toronto is a champion for the first time since the Blue Jays won in 1993, bringing an end to one of the great dynasties in the history of sports.

The Golden State Warriors have lost an NBA title for the first time since the dramatic seven-game series against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. From the “Splash Brothers”, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, to the workhorse, Draymond Green, to the addition of a legend in Kevin Durant, Golden State was able to rattle off three championships in a span of five years. The dynasty has ended as Durant will miss the entire 2019-20 season due to an Achilles rupture, and Thompson becomes a free agent. Together we witnessed a sports franchise that has not been this close to omnipotence since the 1960s Boston Celtics and mid-20th century Montreal Canadiens. It is an understatement to say that NBA fans and media will not miss having this Warrior team dominate the way they did for five years, but admiration and respect is due for Bob Myers, who built this once lowly franchise in the draft with the only impactful free agents coming in the form of Andre Iguodala and Durant. Will there be a new Golden State Warriors? Does the league see more parity with the Warriors not being the team to beat? A lot of these questions are on the brink of being answered when free agency begins on June 30th, which is bound to change the landscape of the NBA for years to come. The preponderant run is over for the Golden State Warriors and a new era for the association has begun.

Photo via Getty Images

 

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