Basketball

Siakam, Kyle and Leonard’s brilliance give Toronto Raptors historic NBA title

The brilliance of three solid players of Toronto Raptors, Cameroon’s Pascal Siakam who scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Kyle Lowry who added 26 points and Kawhi Leonard who put up 22, gave the Masai Ujiri- managed Toronto Raptors the much desired historic victory against the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals to win their first ever NBA Championship. Congolese Serge Ibaka finished with 15 points and 3 rebounds.

Serge Ibaka with NBA Trophy

It is the first NBA Championship for President of the Toronto Raptors, Masai Ujiri of Nigeria, who is the first African leading the front office of a championship team to win the title.

The Raptors won the best-of-seven series 4-2.

Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard who was voted the Most Valuable Player of the series said in a post match interview that: “That was very special. Obviously I didn’t come out in this series trying to win it. It was a whole group collectively. Tonight Fred played amazing in that fourth. Kyle played amazing tonight throughout the whole game. Pascal played big. I just kept striving and pushing and I ended up with the trophy but everybody deserves it.”

Kawhi teammate who joined in wrecking the ship of the Golden State Warriors, Pascal Siakam, after securing victory Toronto Raptors spoke about how the victory will inspire kids taking part in Basketball Without Borders Africa camps: “Oh, man, I think it means a lot. I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m here and I have this flag representing Cameroon and Africa. I think for me as a kid I didn’t have the opportunity to dream about this moment. I didn’t think I could make it. I didn’t think this was possible as a kid. And I think a lot of kids don’t think that it’s possible. Just me being able to be here today and telling them that, hey, look at me, I was a little scrawny kid from Cameroon and just had — I couldn’t even think about this moment. But here I’m at as a champion. And I just want to tell them that it’s possible and that if you believe in something, go out there and work hard for it. It might sound cliché, but it’s the truth. I’m the proof.”

Ibaka and Siakam

The Golden State Warriors Head Coach, Steve Kerr while describing the heroics of Raptors’ players said: “They’re a fantastic basketball team. Great defensively, share the ball, play a beautiful style, a lot of great two-way players and a lot of veteran players who have been in this league contributing for a long time. And so I’m very happy for them. Winning a championship is the ultimate in this league, and they have got a lot of guys who have earned this. So congrats to Toronto, to their organization, to their fans, they are a worthy champion.”

2019 NBA FINAL NOTES

Toronto Raptors African Connection: Masai Ujiri (President; Nigeria), Patrick Engelbrecht (Director Global Scouting & International Affairs; USA, South Africa); Patrick Mutombo (Assistant Coach; DRC); Jama Mahlalela (Raptors 905 Head Coach; Swaziland); Pascal Siakam (Cameroon), Serge Ibaka (Republic of Congo), OG Anunoby (UK; Nigeria).

The Raptors won their first NBA championship since joining the NBA in 1995. They are the first team from outside the United States to win an NBA title.

Kawhi Leonard is the winner of the 2019 Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award. The 6-7 forward becomes the third player to earn the honor with multiple teams, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James. Leonard previously won the award with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014.

Kawhi Leonard finished the 2019 playoffs with 732 points, the third most in a single postseason in NBA history. The only players with more points in a single postseason are Michael Jordan (759 in 1992) and LeBron James (748 in 2018).

Toronto and Golden State combined for five road victories in the series, the most in an NBA Finals.

Toronto Raptors fans react to their team’s first NBA title inside Jurassic Park.
Photo The Canadian Press

 

 

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