Seventy-three years after the Toronto Huskies hosted the first NBA game in league history, the city’s current franchise, the Raptors, pulled out a dramatic Game 6 victory over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors – causing an eruption of chaotic celebrations to break out, both in the locker room and in the streets.
Players from Canada’s only NBA team, including Normal Powell, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam were seen donning scuba gear as they poured champagne into their mouths and over their heads as part of tumultuous locker room celebrations to cap off their historic victory.
Hundreds of bottles of fizz were seen strewn across the floor in the festivity’s wake as the Raptors squad took tuns holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but the party didn’t stop at the door.
The streets of Toronto provided a similar picture of pandemonium, as hundreds-of-thousands of fans descended on the city center bellowing chants of ‘We the North!’ – a feverous display not seen in the Canadian capital for more than two decades, when the Toronto Blue Jays last won the MLB World Series title in 1993.
Seventy-three years after the Toronto Huskies hosted the first NBA game in league history, the city’s current franchise, the Raptors, pulled out a dramatic Game 6 victory over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors to capture the first title in franchise history
Players from Canada’s only NBA team, including Normal Powell, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam were seen donning scuba gear as they poured champagne into their mouths and over their heads as part of tumultuous locker room celebrations to cap off their historic victory
The Raptors squad took turns holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy (Kawhi Leonard shown right, Serge Ibaka left) and posed for selfies, but the party didn’t stop at the door
Hundreds of bottles of fizz were seen strewn across the floor in the festivity’s wake
Director of Sports Science Alex McKechnie of the Toronto Raptors also joined in with the action
The streets of Toronto provided a similar picture of pandemonium, as hundreds-of-thousands of fans descended on the city center bellowing chants of ‘We the North!’
Fan reacts in Jurassic Park outside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110
Jersey-clad friends and strangers hugged one another in Yonge and Dundas Square. Others climbed street-lights and scaled small buildings to have their overjoyed voices heard loudest among the rapturous din.
One wheel-chair bound Raptors fanatic was raised above the head of the crowd and surfed over the sea of elated faces as fireworks erupted in the skies above.
But the joyous scenes didn’t come without chaos. The windshields of two police cars were caved in by fans clambering atop, as was a city bus.
In the early hours of Friday morning, paramedics rushed a man to hospital with life threatening injuries after he was shot just north of the city center square, where thousands of fans remained long into the morning.
The man was said to be conscious and breathing throughout the ordeal and it’s not yet clear whether the shooting was directly related to the celebrations.
An update on his condition or identity has not yet been issued, but multiple people have been arrested in connection with the incident.
Another fan set off fireworks in the subway at Bay Station shortly after the final buzzer. Nobody was injured, officials say, but there was a 14-minute delay in service.
Die-hard Raptors fan ‘Champagne Papi’ Drake was seen parting long into the night at a viewing party in Jurassic Park
The Rapper promised fans two news songs on Friday in celebration, before dousing the crowd in champagne
The two songs are Omerta and Money in the Grave, featuring Rick Ross, though no exact timeline has been given for the release
When the final buzzer sounded, jubilant Raptors fans flooded the streets of downtown Toronto for a night of celebration
The scale of celebration had not seen in the city since Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays last won a World Series title in 1993
Jersey-clad friends and strangers hugged one another in Yonge and Dundas Square
Others climbed street-lights and scaled small buildings to have their overjoyed voices heard among the rapturous din
Raptors fans packed the streets of Toronto celebrate the first NBA title in franchise history
Flags were waiving high in the air as fans clambered to higher ground to take in the incredible scenes
Meanwhile, Toronto-native rapper Drake, who was a longtime fixture courtside throughout the playoffs, was seen celebrating long into the night, even promising fans two new songs on Friday.
THE CHIP TO THE 6!!!!!!!!!!!! SEE YOU 2MRW WITH A 2 PACK LETS GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,’ Drake said on Instagram.
The party will continue on Monday-morning at Nathan Phillips Square where the Raptors will parade their finals trophy around the city, set to begin at 10am.
Thursday’s dramatic conclusion put the finishing touches to a remarkable 4-2 series upset at Oakland’s Oracle Arena that denied the Warriors a fourth championship in five years.
Facing elimination and playing without former MVP Kevin Durant, the Warriors’ season and dynasty was on the line Thursday night in Oakland after star Klay Thompson went down with a knee injury against the Toronto Raptors.
Thompson left the game, then limped out of the tunnel and returned to the court – drawing raucous cheers – so he could shoot his free throws, allowing him to possibly return after being evaluated. He made both shots, the Warriors then took a foul a few seconds later and Thompson retreated toward the locker room again. A few minutes later, the word came: Thompson was done for the night.
As his agent told ESPN , Thompson appears to have torn his ACL, which would be a devastating diagnosis for the soon-to-be free agent.
Normal Powell doused himself in booze after the historic win, insisting that you ‘Can’t tell me nothing’
But the joyous scenes didn’t come without chaos, with several instances reported by authorities
Several arrests were made throughout the night, but a specific number has not yet been confirmed by authorities
The windshields of two police cars were caved in by fans clambering atop, as was a city bus
Another fan set off fireworks in the subway at Bay Station shortly after the final buzzer. Nobody was injured, officials say, but there was a 14-minute delay in service
Thursday’s dramatic conclusion put the finishing touches to a remarkable 4-2 series upset at Oakland’s Oracle Arena that denied the Warriors a fourth championship in five years
Chants of ‘We the North’ and ‘We the Six’ could be heard emanating from the crowd as high as the tops of skyscrapers
Jumping for Joy: Jovial fans skipped through the city center shortly after the final buzzer
A man picks up trash behind a row of Toronto Police officers as Toronto Raptors fans celebrate along Yonge St.
The Warriors now enter an off-season with two of their top players can hit the open market, albeit with significant injuries.
‘A lot of bad breaks in the finals, to be honest,’ Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. ‘Like us, they kept on playing. We just had to keep on playing no matter who was out there. And I think they were super intense high-level games and both teams desperately trying to win.’
Announcer and former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy quickly pointed out that Green’s foul was not dirty, but an honest effort to block Thompson’s layup.
Despite the injuries, the Warriors held a slim 88-86 lead entering the fourth quarter and had a legitimate chance to push the series to a seventh game before succumbing to the Raptors down the stretch.
Golden State still had a chance, even in the final seconds. Stephen Curry missed a three-pointer with about six seconds left that would have given the Warriors the lead. The actual ending came several minutes later after long delays following a technical on Golden State for calling a time-out it didn’t have and then a long review of a foul on Toronto’s inbounds pass with less than a second left.
The Raptors didn’t mind waiting.
And for the Warriors, it just prolonged the inevitable.
Seventy-three years after the first NBA game was played in Toronto, the Raptors pulled out a dramatic Game 6 win over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors to capture the first title in franchise history. Kawhi Leonard earned his second Finals MVP award
For the first time in NBA history, the league’s title went to a non-American team
Klay Thompson left the game with an apparent knee injury in the third quarter
Thompson finished with 30 points, even missing the fourth quarter. Andre Iguodala scored 22 points, Curry had 21 and Draymond Green finished with 11 points, 19 rebounds and 13 assists.
It wasn’t enough.
Fred VanVleet rescued the Raptors down the stretch with his dazzling shooting from deep to score 22 points with five 3s off the bench, while Leonard wound up with 22 points. Kyle Lowry scored the game’s first eight points and finished with 26 in all to go with 10 assists and seven rebounds.
It was a sad farewell to Oracle for so many reasons. The 2,070th and final game in that building that the Warriors called home for 47 seasons. The first game since Durant had surgery to repair his ruptured Achilles. The last loss of the season. The end of the quest for three straight championships. And if all that emotion wasn’t enough, now there’s fear for Thompson’s future.
Thompson will be a free agent on June 30. The Warriors have said they want to keep him, and they likely still will. But if he has a major knee issue now that would be on top of the injury that will likely keep Durant – another probable free-agent-in-waiting, maybe the biggest domino that will fall this summer to start an expected player-movement bonanza – off the court for all of next season.
The irony with Thompson’s injury is he doesn’t get hurt.
Thompson one of the most durable players in the league. He strained a hamstring earlier in these finals and missed one game. He may have done a number on his knee on Thursday and was still lobbying to stay in the game.
Marc Gasol celebrates his first NBA title with teammate Serge Ibaka in Oakland on Thursday
Thompson was attempting a layup, but was fouled by Raptors guard Danny Green. Thompson landed awkwardly and appeared to hurt his knee on the play
Celebrations lasting long into Friday morning with thousands still on the streets by sunrise
Fans celebrate in the streets of Toronto after the Raptors Game 6 win over the Warriors
Smoke, flares and flags were seen in the skies for miles around Toronto
He was gone before the Raptors’ celebration. When the Warriors start play next season at the new Chase Center in San Francisco, there will be no banner to raise, no rings to hand out. An era is over. A new one will have to begin.
The 2019 NBA Finals did not lack any historical significance.
Marc Gasol (left), Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka (right) celebrate their first NBA title
Monday’s 106-105 final not only produced the first one-point Finals margin since 2007, but it also made the Warriors just the sixth team in NBA history to win a potential elimination game on the road.
History remained on the Raptors’ side entering Game 6. Of the 34 teams that have led a Finals 3-1, 33 have gone on to win the championship. The only exception was the Warriors in 2016, when the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied to win in seven games.
Exacerbating matters for Golden State was the loss of Durant, who returned from a calf injury to score 11 points in 12 minutes in Game 5, only to sustain a ruptured Achilles in the same leg. Durant is expected to miss the majority of next season, if not the entire 2019-2020 campaign.
Warriors players and fans were outraged during Game 5 when a contingent of Raptors supporters appeared to cheer Durant’s injury, even as Toronto veterans Ibaka and Lowry attempted to hush them and pat the rival star on the back.
Fans attending Thursday’s game got a towel honoring Durant, a.k.a. ‘KD.’
The former NBA MVP is likely to start rehabbing his surgically-repaired Achilles tendon almost immediately. And according to a specialist at the Mayo Clinic, he should be back to full strength within a year.
There are no guarantees, however, that Durant will ever feel quite the same after Wednesday’s surgery, said Nancy Cummings, an orthopedic surgeon at Mayo Clinic and head orthopedic surgeon for the Minnesota Lynx Women’s NBA team.
‘It takes about a year to get all your strength back in that muscular complex,’ she said in a telephone interview with Reuters.
‘I think it’s fair to say athletes will put higher demands on it when it’s recovered, so that will take a longer time and some people will never feel totally the same after this injury.’
Fred VanVleet (right) rescued the Raptors down the stretch with his dazzling shooting from deep to score 22 points with five 3s off the bench
Besides the CFL, Toronto has not won a major title since 1993, when the Blue Jays won their second World Series. Toronto had been known as a hockey town, but that could be changing
KING OF THE NORTH? TORONTO’S KAWHI LEONARD IS FINALS MVP
By The Associated Press
Kawhi Leonard’s first season with the Toronto Raptors started with his now-infamous laugh.
It ended with him getting the last laugh.
The best player on the league’s newly crowned best team is an NBA Finals MVP for the second time. Toronto finally sits atop the basketball universe, with Leonard averaging 28.5 points in a six-game finals victory over the Golden State Warriors to lead the Raptors to their first championship.
He arguably ended any debate about who the best two-way player in the sport is at this moment.
‘This is what I play basketball for,’ Leonard said. ‘This is what I work out for.’
The King of the North, as they’ve been calling Leonard in Toronto, was King of the Playoffs. He’s the third player to win Finals MVP with two franchises, joining only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James.
The King of the North, as they’ve been calling Leonard in Toronto, was King of the Playoffs. He’s the third player to win Finals MVP with two franchises, joining only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James
‘I think he’s the best two-way basketball player in the NBA,’ Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. ‘He just goes. You know, I’ve seen some stuff from him this year that you just say, ‘Wow.’ You do. You say, ‘Wow.’ You appreciate the work that he’s put in. He works extremely hard at his game and works extremely hard on his body. And he loves this basketball thing. Loves it.’
Perhaps never more so than Thursday night.
After missing most of last season with a leg injury, after having his commitment questioned, after getting traded to Toronto, Leonard returned to basketball’s mountaintop. He thrust both arms high into the air when it was over, letting out a scream of joy. He even allowed himself a tiny smile when he hoisted the MVP trophy.
Kawhi Leonard lifts his second Finals MVP award after the Raptors Game 6 win over the Warriors in Oakland on Thursday
‘He’s just a competitor,’ Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. ‘We respect that, for sure. He’s shown that again this entire playoff run.’
Giannis Antetokounmpo will probably win the NBA’s MVP award in a couple of weeks. James Harden and Paul George are the other finalists. And while all three of those players had marvelous regular seasons, the postseason was Leonard’s personal showcase.
He scored 732 points in the playoffs. Only Michael Jordan (759) and LeBron James (748) ever scored more in a single postseason. Leonard finished with 14 games of 30 points or more in these playoffs. The only players with more in a single postseason are Jordan (16 in 1992), Hakeem Olajuwon (16 in 1995) and Kobe Bryant (15 in 2009).
‘Without a doubt, the best thing about this thing is that somehow I wound up on the sideline getting to watch this guy play up close,’ said Raptors coach Nick Nurse, who won an NBA title in his first season as a head coach in the league. ‘It’s really cool.’
Recent history of NBA players who have ruptured an Achilles shows that they are out of action for about nine months on average.
So even if Durant makes a speedier-than-normal recovery, he is unlikely to be back much before the start of next season’s playoffs.
Durant, 30, has the option to become a free agent this summer, so there is no guarantee the two-times NBA Finals’ most valuable player will even be with the Warriors next season.
Cummings said knowledge of the best way to rehabilitate a ruptured Achilles had advanced in recent years.
‘When I started my training in the ’80s it was more ‘we’ll fix it and immobilize it’ (but) tendons like to move,’ she said.
‘A functional rehab is better than a static rehab.’
Which is good news for professional athletes like Durant.
‘Pro athletes have nothing but time afterwards to rehab so they’re at an advantage,’ she said.
‘It starts almost straight away. We give them 10 days to let the incision calm down and then start to have them put weight on it in a functional brace or boot that allows tendon to see some stress.
‘You start some exercises such as toe curls and things like that to get muscles around the Achilles moving.
‘At about three months we start doing some light jogging if all looks well, and gradual return to sports specific activity, but that tissue that is repaired has to mature some and that typically is about the six-month mark.’
Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates after Game Six with a champagne shower to the face
Kyle Lowry followed suit and quickly found himself engulfed in a haze of fizz
An elated Leonard and Lowry embraced in the locker room clutching cans of beer
In an Instagram message posted from his hospital bed in New York on Wednesday, Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant confirmed that he did rupture his Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night in Toronto
Warriors fans did not forget Kevin Durant, who ruptured his Achilles in Game 5
Fans share their support for Kevin Durant, who may have played his last game for Golden State
Cummings knew immediately when Durant sustained the injury that it was a ruptured Achilles.
‘You see his heel drop down and calf muscle reverberate,’ she said. ‘It looks very ballistic. I knew the diagnosis the second I saw it.’
Durant’s injury not only devastated Warriors fans, but also the supporters of the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Los Angeles Clippers, all of whom were reportedly interested in signing the two-time NBA Finals MVP this summer.
The only fans who did not seem upset over Durant’s Achilles injury were few who cheered after the 7foot forward went down on Monday in Toronto.
‘It was bulls***,’ Thompson said after Game 5. ‘That was freaking ridiculous. I can’t even put into words how mad I was about that.’
Some Raptors fans have attempted to make amends, including one anonymous Canadian who decided to send flowers instead.
According to NBC Sports , the Raptors fan sent a floral arrangement to the Warriors offices in downtown Oakland to apologize ‘on behalf of Canada ‘.
The basket contained an assortment of carnations and a ribbon reading, ‘Canada is sorry KD.’
The game will be the Warriors’ last at Oracle Arena, which opened as the Oakland Coliseum Arena 47 years ago. Golden State will move to the Chase Center in San Francisco next season. ‘This has been just an incredible environment in which to coach and play back in the day,’ Warriors coach Steve Kerr (pictured) said Wednesday
Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard battles Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala for the ball in Game 6
‘Dear KD and the Warriors: I can’t even believe those dumba** Raptors fans cheered when they saw you were injured,’ the card read, according to NBC Sports. ‘I was watching the game and felt horrible. It was a total disgrace. I hereby apologize on behalf of Canada. Prayers for recovery.’
A GoFundMe page launched by a suburban Toronto man has raised nearly $30,000 for the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation.
The organizer, Hamzah Moin, said he started the fundraiser to support Durant after some Toronto Raptors fans seemingly reacted with joy when the Golden State Warriors star ruptured his Achilles in the second quarter of Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night. Durant had surgery to repair his Achilles on Wednesday.
‘On behalf of the level-headed and true fans of Raptor Nation – from Toronto to Vancouver to Iqaluit to St. John’s, and any fans living outside Canada: we wanted to say `sorry’,’ Moin wrote.
‘We’re sorry that some fans of Raptor Nation at the Scotiabank arena, Jurassic Park, and in some bars/restaurants showing the game, displayed an ugly side of fandom when they cheered on the injury of Kevin Durant.
‘This isn’t cool. This isn’t right. This isn’t what I expect from fellow Canadians.’
Moin set a goal of $40,000 for the fundraiser. Through mid-day Thursday in Toronto, it had taken in $27,649 from more than 1,000 donors.
On its website, the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation says its mission ‘is to enrich the lives of at-risk youth from low-income backgrounds through education, athletic and social programs.’