An upstart Toronto Raptors squad dethroned defending champion Golden State Warriors on Thursday, defeating them 114-110 to win the NBA Finals and capture the first crown by a basketball team from outside the United States.
Players Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam each scored 26 points while Kawhi Leonard and reserve Fred VanVleet both had 22 as Toronto won the best-of-seven series four games to two.
Golden State had a final shot to win trailing 111-110 but Stephen Curry missed a 3-pointer and the team called a timeout when it had none, setting up three final free throws by Leonard to seal the victory.
The Raptors became the first Canadian team to win a major North American sports title since the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays captured Major League Baseball’s World Series.
“It means a lot for our city and the country and for these players,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said, who didn’t mind not winning it at home. “You get the win and you’re just happy you got it and celebrate that fact.”
According to a report on Israel’s Sport 5 channel last week, the Raptors’ Jewish billionaire co-owner, Larry Tanenbaum, said he would bring the club to visit Israel if it won the title.
Tanenbaum is active and philanthropic in the local Jewish community and was a founder of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
JTA contributed to this report