After the Golden State Warriors stole Game 5 from right under the noses of the Toronto Raptors to keep the NBA Final series alive, Game 6 shifted to the Bay Area. Toronto, with a 3-2 edge in the seven-game series, just needed one win, but they'd have to get it playing away from home. The stakes were win or stay home for the Warriors -- and they'd have to do it without superstar scoring-robot Kevin Durant, who blew his Achilles clean off his ankle in Game 5.
As the Most Online of all the major sports, the NBA is the best place for in-game commentary, especially on social media. We were following along as the game unfolded, picking out all the best reactions and a couple of wonderful, new memes. When it was all said and done... Game 6 was an absolute fight and it ended in Toronto's first ever NBA title.
I'll let the internet take it from here with some cold, hard facts of how it all unfolded.
Kyle Lowry came out and went BANG! scoring the first 11 points for the Raptors. Did he see all those tweets after his Game 5 shot?
Drake, on track to become the most obnoxious basketball fan in the history of the game, was obviously ecstatic.
Klay Thompson started well. In fact, he surpassed LeBron James' playoff record for made 3 pointers.
When the first quarter was said and done Kyle Lowry had finished with 15 of Toronto's 33 points. Leonard was quiet but poised. Moving into the second quarter, the Raptors maintained just a 1-point lead.
The second quarter was a seesawing affair with neither team really getting on top. Klay Thompson was fouled outside the arc, what, three times? I mean, the Raptors were really going for him. By the end of the half he had 18 points.
Iguodala, with Father Time breathing down his neck, had his quarter time oranges and came to play.
Leonard was on 3 fouls at half-time, a worrying fact for Raptors fans, but only had 9 points, a positive fact for Raptors fans as the star had been clocking up 30 points with the regularity of a preprogrammed android basketballer. Fortunately, Lowry continued his form with 21 points and 6 assists. Leonard had some words of advice...
Raptors dug the claws in to Steph Curry who wasn't having the most memorable game. His two highlights from my viewing angle (a stream on a laptop at home) were his two full court shots at the end of the first and second quarter that nearly went in. There was also his reaction to a foul on Toronto's Van Vleet, which is readily meme-able:
But Leonard began to come into it in the third, hitting his first three and having a few "grown man" plays, as Mark Jackson would say. In betweenpromos, play caller Mike Breen was at suitably Mike Breen levels.
With 5 minutes to play in the third, Klay Thompson dropped a huge 3 from the carpark to tie the game at 76 a piece. The shootout was on -- and then a veteran two from Iguodala put the Warriors on top. It was a fantastic Game 6 and people were really starting to pick up on that.
It really was the Klay show though. He had 10 points in the third to flip the script, pushing the Warriors further ahead and then, attempting a dunk, Danny Green (bless his Spurs heart) blocked Thompson into the earth itself and immediately the streaky shooter grabbed his knee.
He went down the race... but came back to take his free throws so he wouldn't be completely ruled out of the game -- and that sent the Oracle Arena crowd into meltdown.
Neither team could get out to a double digit lead and by the end of the third the Warriors held a one basket lead. Kawhi Leonard had a last-second tip-in waved away as it was just a half-second too late. Pascal Siakam had 14, Iguodala had 14 and the game was POISED. Absolutely POISED. It was almost destined to go to 7OT.
Klay Thompson, according to courtside reporter Doris Burke, "did not hear anything pop" when he went down with the knee in the third. Would he get back for the finale? Could he save the Warriors?
No. Forty seconds later, Doris confirmed he would be out for the rest of the game. He had 30 points before his forced departure.
Still, the Warriors held a 3-point lead and Cook, Curry, Cousins, Livingston and Green were on the floor. That remarkable lineup was the fourth quarter lineup for the champion Warriors. Think about that.
The Raps leveled at 91-91 and, honestly, this completely impartial fan wanted to see the Warriors get back into it. Would it be time for Curry to cook? Leonard to lift? Van Vleet to... vigorously vacuum? Wait...
IS THAT SHAUN LIVINGSTON'S MUSIC?
5:30 to go. Scores level. Enter: Andre Tyler Iguodala. Big bucket. Enter: Marc Gasol Sáez. A big two free throws. Tied again at 4 minutes.
Enter: Fredderick Edmund VanVleet Sr. -- there were a lot of players trying to stamp their mark on the last minutes of Game 6, so a lot of entering the game was happening. Perhaps no bigger than VanVleet's 3, however, which put the Raptors up by 3.
His next shot just rimmed out, ended up in Ibaka's hands and put Toronto up by 5. The Raps looked to be in control and, somewhere, Drake was smiling a lot. Thank ESPN for not cutting across to the hip hop artist.
Only 2 minutes to play, the Warriors were down by 3.
Late game side note: Gatorade cup megaphone is now a thing.
Oh yeah, 37 seconds to play, 1-point game. Warriors trailing. Pascal Siakam makes it a 3-point game. The Warriors went down and Curry was fouled -- he went to the line to take 2 and was clean. Bringing it back to 1 point and forcing the Warriors to foul. The Raps took their final timeout...
The final 18 seconds: Who would take over? Danny Green threw the ball out. Warriors timeout.
Could they steal it? I'll let Twitter tell the story.
I wanted one more game of this.
Congratulations, Toronto Raptors, the 2019 NBA Champions! The repercussions across social media are going to be huge. We might even have to.. consider blocking Drake?