A rollercoaster NBA Finals Game 5 resulted in a Golden State Warriors victory. With a 3-2 series lead, the Toronto Raptors returned to Oakland to try and clinch their first-ever championship on the Oracle Arena floor in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
NBA Finals Game 6 Recap
The Golden State Warriors miraculously found themselves in a Game 6 situation back at Oracle Arena. With Kevin Durant injured once again, the defending champs needed to use his absence as motivation. Given this was Oracle Arena’s closing act, a win was the only way to go out, whether it is pretty or not.
Despite missing out on an opportunity to clinch the series in Game 5, Toronto came in unfazed. Having won the previous two in Oakland, Kawhi Leonard and company knew the pressure would be on to take advantage of the moment.
Kyle Lowry came out hot from tip-off, converting his first four field goal attempts. Lowry scored the Raptors’ first 11 points to start the game. Toronto as a whole could not ask for a more perfect start to the game. The Raptors were five-for-six from beyond the arc. After missing his last 12 three-point attempts, Pascal Siakam knocked down two early in the first quarter.
Golden State, plagued with five early turnovers, needed Game 6 Klay Thompson to show up. Thompson answered the call and was the go-to offense choice for the defending champs, scoring 10 points to be the first Warrior in double digits.
Coming off the bench, DeMarcus Cousins scored two hard baskets and earned his keep from the free throw line. After Steve Kerr broke out the zone defense, Golden State managed to contain Toronto’s momentum. The Raptors led 33-32 after the first.
After defense on both sides was on display to start the second, Toronto relied on Siakam’s bounce back play to build the lead. After the hot shooting from the Raptors to start the game, Golden State relied on their defense to keep the game within single digits in the second quarter.
Serge Ibaka was the punch that Toronto needed off the bench in the second quarter. Ibaka worked his way to quick double-digit points in scoring and was complemented with Kyle Lowry‘s 21 points. Golden State’s ability to get to the line kept them within the game. Kawhi Leonard picked up an early three fouls before the half, and Klay Thompson took advantage with 18 first-half points. At the halfway point, the Raptors led 60-57.
After a quiet first-half from Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson put the scoring load on himself to start the third. In a span of just 2:35 to start the second half, Curry managed to pick up three fouls. With three fouls himself, it was Kawhi Leonard again putting on a display in the third quarter. Attacking the paint, Leonard built the lead to six midway through the quarter.
Despite continued struggles from the foul line, Andre Iguodala was huge and the defending champs needed every bit of his impact. After coming up empty from the free-throw line, Iguodala nailed key shots from beyond the arc to help Golden State take the lead. Game 6 Klay Thompson was in full effect, but he came down awkwardly after attempting a dunk. After his absence, Golden State entered the fourth quarter with a two-point lead.
Steve Kerr took a risky move to start the fourth quarter. With no Thompson, Kerr started the fourth with Curry on the bench. The gamble to get Curry a slight breather paid off as the Warriors bench extended the lead by a point in his absence. Down Klay Thompson, Steve Kerr turned to an old veteran, Shaun Livingston, and he answered the bell with a couple of buckets midway through the fourth quarter to help swing momentum towards the Warriors.
Fred VanVleet and Andre Iguodala both played enormous roles in the fourth quarter while each teams’ stars were struggling. VanVleet had 12 points in the fourth quarter to give the Raptors the momentum back.
Thanks to the explosion by VanVleet in the fourth, and the consistent play of Lowry and Leonard throughout the entire game, the Toronto Raptors hung on, 114-110, to win their first ever NBA championship.
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