The Toronto Raptors managed to win their third game of the NBA Finals in Oakland on Thursday night, winning their first championship in franchise history and ending the Warriors dreams of a three-peat.
Kawhi Leonard was relatively quiet in the clinching Game 6, as he had 22 points, six rebounds, and three assists in the win, but there was little doubt who would earn Finals MVP honors for the Raptors. Their superstar wing led the way all postseason, had some huge offensive performances in the Finals, and was the defensive catalyst for one of the best series-long performances by a team on that end in some time.
It’s Leonard’s second Finals MVP, and he joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players in league history to win that award on two different teams. Leonard was jubilant, at least as much as he ever is, with the win.
Leonard averaged 28 points per game in the series, along with 9.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game in the series, leading the Raptors in points and rebounds, and producing clutch baskets in huge moments when they needed him to. He was the player the Raptors were hoping they were getting when they made the gamble to trade for him in the offseason, coming off a quad injury that cost him the majority of last season.
In the end, he was the best player in the series and arguably the whole league during the postseason. Now he enters free agency and, no matter whether he stays or goes, he’ll forever be a legend in Toronto.