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With blood, sweat, effort and talent Kawhi Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to the NBA title and earning him the MVP Award - (Chensiyuan photo)

 

 

 

Klay Thompson - (NBA - photo)

 

Kevin Durant - (NBA - photo)

 

Demarcus Cousins - (NBA - photo)

 

 

 

SPORTS NOTES - TORONTO RAPTORS ROCK WARRIORS 4 NBA TITLE

James Loving/National Radio Text Service

 

 

As valiant as the Warriors were in fighting all out till the end wasn't enough as they lost the battle. It was apparent that their sharpshooter Step Curry was too pooped to pop and could not deliver his usual power punch to hold on to the 85-80 Warriors lead following the injury and departure of Klay Thompson

 

Friday, June 14, 2019

KAWHI LEONARD MVP by LEAVING IT ALL ON THE FLOOR

When it comes to the phrase leaving it all on the floor Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard exemplified that by leading his team to a game six 114-110 win over the Golden State Warriors for their first NBA title. Leonard was stellar throughout the entire NBA playoffs. Leonard averaged 28.5 point, 9.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists as well as utilizing his All NBA defensive skills.

In the end it was the culmination of blood, sweat and supreme effort that resulted in his winning the NBA playoffs MVP trophy. Leonard was named Finals MVP for the second time in his career. The Raptors traded for Leonard in hopes the he could bring them the title. Given that he is a free agent it was a gamble that paid off.

Leonard's 732 total points scored during Toronto's postseason run are the third most ever by a player in a single postseason, trailing only Michael Jordan (759 in 1992) and LeBron James (748 in 2018). Leonard and Pascal Siakam combined to score 1,187 points this postseason, tied with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen for second-most by teammates in a single playoffs in NBA history. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are the only pair to have recorded more (1,222 in 2012).

The entire Raptors team put forth a united all out hustling performance. Everyone stepped up when called upon most notably Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Danny Green, Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka. The Raptors had four players score at least 22 points in their title-clinching win in Game 6 - Lowry and Siakam each scored 26, while Leonard and VanVleet each scored 22

The Raptors became the fifth team in NBA Finals history to win three straight road games, joining the 1953 Lakers, 1990 Pistons, 1991 Bulls, 1993 Bulls and 2001 Lakers. Toronto went 4-0 at Oracle Arena this season - winning their regular season game in Oakland and sweeping all three games during the Finals. The Raptors finished the series outscoring the Warriors by 34 points. Toronto's four wins were by a total of 40 points, while their two losses were by a total of six points. It was the first time that there is an NBA title winner from outside the U.S.

Draymond Green recorded his sixth triple-double of the postseason - and second of this series - as he finished with 11 points and game highs of 19 rebounds and 13 assists. He is the only player to hit those marks or better in a playoff game in the past 35 seasons. There have only been five such games in the regular season over the past 35 seasons as Green joins Russell Westbrook (2x), DeMarcus Cousins and Fat Lever to post such a statline.

The sad back story that clouded the series is the conversation that the Warriors were better without Kevin Durant, The heated exchange he had at mid season with teammate Green added spice to that issue.

There was talk that Durant was faking his injury recovery and didn't want to rejoin the team and help them to win another title. He returned in game five, did well during the first quarter until injuring himself more with an Achilles injury that it is believed to take a year of rehab to recover therefore he can't play next season.

In the deciding game six Klay Thompson was on fire in taking up the slack of the injured Durant by leading his team to an 83-80 lead in the third quarter when he was fouled while shooting he fell awkwardly to the floor and suffered and injury. He sprinted off the court to the locker room but was informed that he could not return to the game if he didn't shoot the free throws.

He returned to the court and knocked down two free throws giving the Warriors an 85-80 lead with 2:19 to play in the third quarter. It was later found that he suffered an ACL injury and could not return to the game.

Thompson scored 30 points in 32 minutes. In the world of shoulda, woulda, coulda with his almost his point per minute production would there have been a game seven?

It was later revealed that his injury may result in him not being able to play next season. Thompson exemplified that the feisty Warriors had the will to win and would play all out at any cost. With the Warriors losing two of its three super stars they are in a position of having to regroup and come up with a mega post season trade or secret sauce pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

As valiant as the Warriors were in fighting all out till the end wasn't enough as they lost the battle. It was apparent that their sharpshooter Step Curry was too pooped to pop and could not deliver his usual power punch to hold on to the lead. Curry finished with 21 points and missed a 3-pointer from the right wing with eight seconds left that would have given the Warriors a two-point lead. Curry's 21 points were his lowest scoring game of this year's Finals.

With the series being inundated by drama the free agent status of the Warriors Durant and Thompson looms large. The Raptors Leonard is also a free agent. His MVP status puts him in a stronger negotiating position to leave the Raptors for a more lucrative contract in a more glamorous setting such as Hollyweird with the Lakers or Clippers.

The good news for the Raptors is Leonard is not a glam guy looking for Hollyweird party time. He is low key and private and most of all a hard hat, blue collar BASKETBALL PLAYER and NOT A PRETTY BOY ACTOR that loves to hear himself talk.

The question for Leonard is will he stay with a proven winner or move to a setting to enhance his media exposure.

The injuries to Durant and Thompson may negate their negotiating position to make a lucrative move to another team as they are now damaged goods. The question is given that they may not be physically able to play at all next season clouds that issue. Would a team take a chance and offer a big money lucrative contract to a wounded warrior that may never regain their previous skill level.

This season the Warriors did just that by signing Demarcus Cousins who is also a free agent who could move on and sign with another team Cousins missed half of the season for rehab and although productive when he returned to play he seemed to be walking on eggshells by not over extending his capabilities.

Astonishingly the Raptors won all of their away games at the Warriors Oracle Arena. It will be the Warriors last season playing there. They also swept the Warriors during the regular season.

The end result was the best team at the time won the NBA title but the decimated mighty might Warriors went down swinging.

NOTES:

Toronto's coach Nick Nurse is the first former NBA G League coach to lead a team to an NBA title. Nurse is the only coach to win NBA G League titles with two franchises.

The Warriors' Steve Kerr is the first coach to make the Finals in each of his first five years.

Toronto swept the two-game season series from Golden State for the first time since 2001-02.

The Warriors have six NBA titles, tied with the Bulls for third place all time. The Celtics lead with 17, followed by the Lakers with 16.


 

THE NBA's GREATEST of ALL TIME
1st Team
Position
2nd Team
Larry Bird
PF
Elgin Baylor
SF
Julius Erving
Bill Russell
C
Wilt Chamberlain
Michael Jordan
SG
LeBron James
Magic Johnson
PG
Oscar Robertson
11th & 12th MAN SUBSTITUTES & Coach
C/F
C
Coach

 

NBA's 50 GREATEST PLAYERS of ALL TIME LIST

On October 29, 1996 In conjunction with the NBA’s 50th anniversary celebration, the list of The 50 Greatest Players in NBA History was announced. It included: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nate Archibald, Paul Arizin, Charles Barkley, Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, Dave Cowens, Billy Cunningham, Dave DeBusschere, Clyde Drexler, Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, George Gervin, Hal Greer, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes, Earvin Johnson, Sam Jones, Michael Jordan, Jerry Lucas, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Pete Maravich, Kevin McHale, George Mikan, Earl Monroe, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Robert Parish, Bob Pettit, Scottie Pippen, Willis Reed, Oscar Robertson, David Robinson, Bill Russell, Dolph Schayes, Bill Sharman, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Bill Walton, Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens, and James Worthy

 


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