The Raptors have become more than just a Toronto sports team. People across the country are celebrating the first Canadian team to win a championship in 25 years. The last time a team from Canada won a championship was when the Toronto Blue Jays won in 1993.
The title of NBA Champions was carried north of the border for the first time ever and it’s the Raptors’ first championship win since they became a franchise in 1994.
The Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of the Finals. In Toronto, thousands took to the streets in celebration. Fans all over Canada celebrated in the streets. Halifax threw a massive outdoor block party and Montreal shut down two city blocks to allow people to cheer the team from Toronto.
This was not just a win for Toronto, it was a win for championship-starved Canadians everywhere.
The Road to the Championship
This year’s Championship win tops a superb playoff run for the Raptors. They defeated the Orlando Magic, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks. That left them to face off against the two-time defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, in the Finals.
Raptors vs. Orlando
Game 1 was low-scoring overall but the Magic turned a six-point deficit into a three-point victory. During Game 2, Orlando went scoreless on its first nine possessions, turning the ball over four times and shooting 0-for-6. The Raptors led by as many as 34 points and would go on to win four straight games after that.
From Game 2 of the first round through Game 2 of the conference semis, the Raptors played six straight games in which they restricted the opposing team to less than a point per possession.
Raptors vs. Philadelphia
Game 2 of the Philadelphia series was the Raptors worst offensive game of the post season. They scored just 38 points in the first half. In Game 3 with Philly, the Raptors lost badly.
After losing by 21 in Game 3, the Raptors needed a win in Game 4. Their defense improved and they won, 101 to 96 for the Sixers. The teams split games 5 and 6, with the home team winning each game comfortably.
Game 7 went right down to the wire but the Raptors came out on top, 92-90. The Sixers tied the game with 4.2 seconds left, which led to one last Kawhi Leonard shot that became the first Game 7 buzzer-beating game-winner in NBA history.
Raptors vs. Milwaukee
The Milwaukee Bucks scored a 22-point win over the Raptors in Game 2, but the Raptors rebounded with an overtime win in Game 3. The Raptors trailed Game 5 by 11 points midway through the third quarter and Game 6 by 15 with about two minutes to go in the third. However, in both cases, they had big fourth quarters, winning Game 5 by a score of 33-24 and Game 6 with a score of 29-18, to win their first Eastern Conference title.
Raptors stars have included Damon Stoudamire, Vince Carter, Christ Bosh, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Kawhi Leonard. Since they became a franchise, the Raptors have won six division titles and made the playoffs 11 times. In 2017-18, the team finished on top of the Eastern Conference regular season standings and set a franchise record with 59 wins.
Canadian sports fans have been waiting for a very long time to celebrate a championship win. Congratulations Raptors! Well done!