The Toronto Raptors have won their first NBA championship.
The Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110 on Friday (NZT) at Oakland’s Oracle Arena to claim the NBA Finals series 4-2.
“They played unselfishly and they played defence,” Toronto’s coach Nick Nurse said.
“That’s a pretty good combination.”
The Warriors, who lost guard Klay Thompson in the third quarter with a knee injury, had a chance to win the game and force a game seven decider, but Steph Curry missed a three-pointer with 0.9 of second to go and the Raptors claimed the title.
Kawhi Leonard, with 22 points, sealed the victory with three high-pressure free throws.
The Raptors were also led by guards Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet who scored 26 and 22 points respectively.
Leonard was named the NBA Finals MVP, the second time he has collected the award.
He won it in 2014 with the San Antonio Spurs.
“This is what I play basketball for and this is what I work out all summer for,” Leonard said.
The Warriors were down 1-3 in the series but appeared set to pull off another comeback and set up the game seven in Toronto on Sunday.
They overcame the major setback of losing their superstar Kevin Durant in game five with a ruptured Achilles and on Thursday, while engaged in a torrid battle with the Raptors where there were 18 lead changes, they lost Thompson.
He was attempting a fast-break dunk late in the third-quarter when he was fouled by the Raptors’ Danny Green.
Thompson, who was playing with a hamstring injury, landed awkwardly on his left leg and was helped off the court.
He was down the corridor heading to the locker room when he was called back by his team.
If he did not attempt the free throws he would not be allowed to return.
Thompson had been red-hot, sinking four three-pointers, and he limped back on the court, hit the free throws and went back to the locker room.
He did not return and was later seen on crutches.
The Raptors, founded in 1995, have repeatedly showed promise but always failed to reach the finals until this season after the team added All-Stars Leonard and Marc Gasol in trades.
Thompson top-scored for the Warriors with 30 points and Curry had 21.
Their Australian centre Andrew Bogut played just two minutes in the first quarter.