Kawhi Leonard is the 2019 NBA Finals MVP as Toronto Raptors win their first championship
Kawhi Leonard has been named the 2019 Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP after leading the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title. Leonard did not have the kind of game that was expected but the Raptors still beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 to lift the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
The 27-year-old finished the night with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block, and averaged averaged 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2 blocks and 1.2 steals for the series. Leonard also surpassed hall-of-famer Hakeem Olajuwon for the third most points in a single postseason. He ended the playoffs with 732 points in 23 games and only trails Michael Jordan (759 points, 1992 playoffs) and Lebron James (748 points, 2018 playoffs).
He joins Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Lebron James as the only players to ever win the finals MVP with two different franchises. Moreover, 'the Klaw' also becomes only the 12th player in NBA history to win multiple finals MVPs.
The game was agonizingly close as both teams fought neck-to-neck in one of the best games of this postseason. Klay Thompson started the game shooting the lights out and had 30 points midway through the third quarter. Unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury (ACL tear in his left knee) after landing awkwardly in the third quarter. Thompson was fouled in the process and shot his free throws before leaving the game for good.
For the Warriors, Andre Iguodala also had a splendid game as he made crucial buckets at regular intervals to keep the Warriors in contention. The 35-year-old veteran finished the game with 22 points.
Draymond Green recorded an impressive triple-double -- 11 Points, 13 Assists and 19 Rebounds and Stephen Curry put up 21 points, 7 assists, and 3 Rebounds in 41 minutes of action.
For the Raptors, Kyle Lowry started the game on a roll, scoring 11 points in quick succession. He had 22 points by the half-time but only managed to score 4 more for the rest of the game. Pascal Siakam had a great game too, chipping in with a team-leading 26 points and 10 rebounds.
However, the star of the fourth quarter was backup guard Fred Van Vleet, who made clutch shot after shot for 11 points in the fourth, and finished the game with 22 points with five made three-pointers.
This is the first time in NBA history that a team from outside the US has won the championship.