Toronto Raptors… They the North?
They did it. They did the “unthinkable”. They beat the “almighty”. But how did they do it?
Well, Warriors not having the Durant all series long and Klay for the last quarter of Game 6 helped big time, no doubt about it.
After both Durant and Klay went down with an injury, all the Warriors had left was Curry and bunch of role players. That was obviously not enough to beat the Raptors, who established a superb cohesion on the team. But which players was the deciding factors of Toronto’s championship run?
The X-Factor of the series was definitely Fred VanVleet. His abysmal shooting on the playoffs up until the Finals was a worrying factor for the Raptors because the team’s starting point guard Kyle Lowry is also known for his dramatic drops on the shooting percentages. But VanVleet has delivered when it really matters.
Talking about Lowry, he was also phenomenal in this Finals. All through his career, he was heavily critisized by the analysts and fans for underperforming on the playoffs, and deservedly so. But this time, it was different. Especially the Game 6, he was absolutely phenomenal on both ends of the floor. He brilliantly controlled the tempo all game long and shot the ball extremely well too, going 4 of 7 from the three point line.
And there is another guy who is known for his playoff chokes, Serge Ibaka. Coming off the bench after the Marc Gasol trade, he was huge for the Raptors on the second half of the Finals. Through Games 4 to 6, he had an amazing impact on the offensive end with staggering field goal percentages. Without him, Raptors’ bench unit would be much less effective, that’s for sure.
And of course, the Finals MVP of the series, Kawhi Leonard. As expected, he was the general of this very well-built Raptors team on both ends of the floor, being the number one option on the offense and gritting and grinding as always on the defensive end. Even though he wasn’t feeling %100 because of the minor injuries and the fatigue, he was still the undisputed best player on the floor in these Finals.
For me, that wasn’t a fairytale story. Raptors is a really good team and they were always gonna be a championship contender this year and a threat for the Warriors, especially with the Durant not being a factor all series long. But it’s an amazing accomplishment no matter what. They bring a championship to the north side of the continent for the first time in history. It turns out They The North all along!
And then there is the losing side. Warriors not only lost the championship, but they lost two of their three best players on the team to major injuries. First, Durant tore his entire achilles after controversially being brought back to the court from his calf injury. This will sideline him through the entirety of the 2019/2020 season and will hurt his free agency period massively. Then on Game 6, Klay went down with an ACL tear and that will put him on the shelf for 6 to 8 months. Two major blows for the Warriors and these huge injuries probably means that they are not gonna be a championship contender for the next season.
So what’s next for the Kawhi and Durant? What’s next for Klay? Is this the end of the Warriors Dynasty? We will talk about it in our next story. Stay focused!
(All of the stats you have seen above is taken from the Broadage Sports Basketball Widgets. You can see all of the basketball widgets of Broadage Sports from here)