Despite the constant heroics of Kawhi Leonard, Game 6 proved to everyone that this finals win was much more than just one of the (if not the) best players in the world dragging his team to a title. Toronto’s depth and the ability for at least 4 of the 5 starters to all get into double-digit scoring throughout this series proved to be the difference in their takedown of the Golden State Warriors. Here are some takeaways from what was a Game 6 that will go down in history capping off one of the most dramatic and intense NBA Finals series’ we have seen in some time.
Kawhi Leonard Wins Finals MVP
Leonard has proved after winning his second Finals MVP (only the third player to win it on two different teams) that he is much more of a leader than people give him credit for. This regular season where he missed more than 20 games for the Raptors and with the aftermath of the San Antonio debacle still fresh in our minds, no one expected the Raptors to make it this far with the likes of a talented Boston Celtics and a rampant Bucks team grabbing all the headlines. However the past month, Kawhi Leonard has reminded all who forgot that he is one of the most clutch players of the modern era and is definitely the best two way player in the world. His leadership bringing together this group of players and produced the best out of them.
Raptors: Strength in Depth
As touched on, the Raptors starters were the most consistent they had been all playoffs and really stepped up when it counted most. Obviously, Leonard averaging above 28 Points for the Finals would take care of himself in terms of his game by game scoring but the ability of the likes of Pascal Siakam especially and obviously Kyle Lowry who before this series had a reputation for not showing up when it mattered most. Both Siakam and Lowry had great games scoring 26 each with Lowry having that ridiculous first quarter start. Even role players such as Fred VanVleet who was unknown to many before this playoff run began came up with 12 huge fourth-quarter points getting Toronto over the line. The consistency from all their players has almost been Golden State like with their second unit not showing any cracks for the former champs to take advantage of.
Warriors: Loss is No Need to Panic
In the last quarter for the Warriors, the lineups that were thrown together by Steve Kerr to try and close out a Game 6 and avoid a 4-2 defeat were a shadow of the All-Star starting Five and a decent bench lead by the ever-present Andre Iguodala (who had his best game of the whole season) that we saw at the very start of their playoff run against the Clippers. Obviously, if Klay Thompson who suffered a torn ACL at the end of the third quarter had been playing the fourth, in the form he was in he would have probably helped ensure a home victory. However, throughout this season, there were cracks appearing in terms of the Warriors’ depth and it was badly exposed today both Durant and Thompson out. Despite this Finals loss though, there is still no need to panic for Golden State and those predicting a dramatic end to this five-year dynasty will most likely see the Warriors in this position next year, playing in the finals.