The End of an Era
After a spectacular regular season, the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors faced off in the NBA Finals. Each season, the Warriors have been able to add superstar talent with the additions to their team of former MVP Kevin Durant and All-Star Demarcus Cousins. The Raptors, on the other hand, have drastically improved their roster in just one season. Not only were they able to add their own superstar talent with the addition of former Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and former All-Star Marc Gasol, they were able to add a variety of fantastic role players. However the most impressive and most surprising addition was the uprising of the young forward Pascal Siakam.
After a variety of first and second round exits within the last five years, the Raptors had decided to trade away their franchise player, All-Star guard Demar Derozan, in exchange for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. While at the time the trade seemed quite absurd as Kawhi only had one year left on his contract, it has so far paid off in the long run. The Raptors have been able to make a stellar run not only in the regular season but in the playoffs as well. Kawhi is currently leading the team to a stellar 3-2 lead over the Golden State Warriors who are the reigning champions.
"Just go out there and do our job," Raptors guard Kyle Lowry told ESPN. "We're a professional basketball team. We have been in the same situation. We have been the same team all year.”
However, the Golden State Warriors have a greater challenge ahead of them. With injuries plaguing the team, the Warriors will continue to try their best and come back from the deficit. One injury that had a giant impact on the series was the short-lived comeback of Kevin Durant. Durant has been recovering from a nagging calf injury during the first four games of the series. Although Durant attempted to make a comeback during game five of the NBA Finals, he later suffered a more severe injury. During the second quarter, Durant had come down with a right leg injury. Durant was quickly rushed off the floor and later diagnosed with a torn Achilles tendon in his right leg.
"I was excited because he was doing so well," Wanda Durant told ESPN. "Then, when it happened, I just kind of sunk. I was just glued on him and glued on his eyes to see how he was doing. Still, kind of hurtful to see the anguish in his eyes. He looked as though he felt somewhat dejected at that time. He tried to hobble off and I was thinking, 'don't do that, son."
With the Warriors' surplus of injuries, it was just not enough to take down the sporadic Toronto Raptors. Former MVP Kevin Durant was able to return for game six, but left the game early after a terrifying leg injury. Durant was later diagnosed with a torn Achilles tendon in his leg. Not only did Durant have to leave the game early do to injury, ALL-Star guard Klay Thompson suffered a torn ACL in his knee. With most of their team injured, the Toronto Raptors were able to take down the Golden State Warriors and claim the NBA Finals Trophy for the first time in franchise history. Kawhi Leonard also was able to claim his second career NBA Finals MVP and his second NBA Championship.