The Toronto Raptors have won their first NBA title after defeating defending champions the Golden State Warriors in a nail-biting end to game six.
The Raptors overcame the Warriors 114-110 to take the best-of-seven series 4-2, despite Golden State coming close to forcing a seventh game.
With the teams a point apart in the final second, Kawhi Leonard – who was named the finals’ MVP – hooped three free throws to lift the Raptors clear and claim their first NBA title in their 24-year history.
In a video posted on NBA TV’s Twitter account, Leonard said after lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy just a year after joining the Raptors: “Life experiences, my teammates, they did a great job welcoming me with open arms, the management – they just told me to come out and play basketball.
“This is what I play basketball for. This is what I work out for. I’m happy my hard work paid off.”
The game came down to the wire, however, with Stephen Curry – who finished with 21 points – missing a three-pointer with 0.9 seconds left on the clock and a frantic clamber for the ball led Golden State to call a timeout when they did not have any left.
Leonard went on to take advantage of the technical foul and hit two more free throws moments before the buzzer after being fouled, sealing the thrilling victory at Oracle Arena.
The victory denied a seventh game which could have given the Warriors a seventh title.
It was the third win for the Raptors on the away court in the finals, and certainly had the crowd holding their breath, with the lead changing 18 times across the course of the game.
For Toronto, Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry scored 26 each, Leonard and Fred VanVleet racked up 22 each, while Klay Thompson – who left the court with a knee injury late in the third – scored 30 for the Warriors.
Provided by Press Association Sport
The Toronto Raptors came painfully close to securing their first NBA title, going down 106-105 to Golden State Warriors.
Kawhi Leonard pegged back the Warriors during the fourth quarter with 10 straight points, putting the Canadians on the verge of glory. But Steph Curry and Klay Thompson showed resolve with several three-pointers to regain the momentum.
Kyle Lowry then missed a golden opportunity on the buzzers to prevent Game 6.
The Raptors lead the best-of-seven series 3-2. Golden State host game six on Thursday.
The Toronto Raptors came agonisingly close to securing their maiden NBA title, losing 106-105 to the Golden State Warriors.
The visiting Warriors led almost all game, until Kawhi Leonard stamped his authority during the fourth quarter with 10 straight points from his total of 26.
But Steph Curry and Klay Thompson fought back with a trio of three-pointers to wrestle the momentum. The pair finished with 31 and 26 points respectively.
Kyle Lowry then went from hero to villain in moments, taking the Raptors within one point with a driving layup with 30 seconds on the clock before badly missing a jumper that would have ensured the win.
Earlier, the Warriors’ Kevin Durant left the court after falling at the start of the second quarter clutching his right calf, where an injury previously resulted in the 30-year-old being sidelined for over a month.
Golden State later confirmed that Durant would not be returning to the game and would require an MRI for a right lower leg injury.
The Raptors lead the best-of-seven series 3-2.
Golden State host game six on Thursday.