It wasn't exactly the final game at Oracle the Bay Area had hoped for. The Golden State Warriors gave all that they had, lost another star to injury (Klay Thompson), and ultimately came up short, losing Game 6 and the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors 114-110.
In what ended up being a seesaw battle in which neither team ever enjoyed more than a nine point lead, the two championship-caliber teams fought hard and dug deep in the series' final game.
Toronto outscored the Dubs in both the first (33-32) and second quarters (27-25), holding a slim 60-57 halftime lead. Thompson and Steph Curry led the offensive charge for Golden State, scoring 10 and seven points, respectively. The Raptors, however, rode a 15-point effort by point guard Kyle Lowry, en route to their 33-point period. Defensively, both teams started off lacking.
In the second, Thompson (eight points) and 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala (seven points) picked up the slack, while the rest of the team struggled to get going. Meanwhile, reserve big-man Serge Ibaka gave the Raptors a big lift off the bench, scoring eight in the same quarter.
Golden State would come on strong in the third, as they so often do, outscoring Toronto 31-26 and carrying an 88-86 lead into the final period. The Splash Brothers, once again, were the main catalysts, with Klay scoring 12 and Steph pouring-in eight for the Dubs.
The game seemed to be going Golden State's way until disaster struck, all over again, in the form of a heartbreaking injury. Klay Thompson, who missed Game 3 with a hamstring injury, was injured while driving to the basket by Raptor guard Danny Green. A true Warrior in name and in spirit, Thompson went back to the locker room but came back to make both of his free-throws before ultimately being removed for the game, for good. His teammates were then forced to carry on without him for the final 14:29 of regulation.
The Warriors did not feel sorry for themselves or roll over and give up. On the contrary, the Dubs seemed to be motivated, once again, by the loss of one of their brothers. With Curry and Draymond Green the only true everyday starters remaining in the game, Golden State focused on tough defense and ball-movement on the offensive end. The infamous "box-and-one" defense was in full-force, as Raptors coach Nick Nurse understood that his team's best chance to win would be to devote extra resources to denying Curry the opportunity to get quality looks.
After exchanging leads, throughout much of the final period, shots started falling for the Raptors, while the Warriors just weren't getting the bounces or rolls. Reserve guard Fred VanVleet led Toronto with 12 points in the fourth, hitting three three-point shots and knocking down three free-throws.
At the end of the quarter, the Dubs had an excellent opportunity to win the game and force a Game 7, when Draymond Green forced Raptor Danny Green to throw an errant pass toward forward Pascal Siakam. The wild pass tipped off of Siakam's outstretched hand and landed out of bounds. Golden State had the ball, down 111-110, with 9.6 seconds left. With Iguodala inbounding, Draymond caught a dangerous cross-court, over-the-shoulder pass and kicked it quickly to Curry. Steph simultaneously received the pass, gathered, and released a pretty good look from three-point range but was off the mark.
A wild scramble for the loose ball ensued, with the waning seconds ticking away, with Draymond eventually coming up with the possession and calling a timeout: The only problem was, the Warriors were out of timeouts. By rule, this meant Golden State would be assessed a technical foul and would lose possession. With 0.9 seconds remaining, Kawhi Leonard, who had one of his quietest offensive performances of the series and the postseason, stepped to the line and knocked down the technical free-throw. Taking the side-out inbound, Leonard was fouled on the entry pass, sending him to the line again. The eventual 2019 Finals MVP sunk both of his free-throws, putting the finishing touches on the back-to-back defending champs and solidifying the 2018-'19 Toronto Raptors' place in NBA history.
After the game, coach Steve Kerr spoke about Klay Thompson's and the rest of the Warriors' injuries, covered by the Associated Press:
"More than the what-ifs is just feeling bad for the players involved. Injuries are always part of the NBA season -- any professional sport, injuries play a huge role," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "It's just the nature of these injuries, the severity of these injuries. And we'll know more about Klay. But we can sit here and say, well, if this hadn't happened or that hadn't happened, that doesn't matter. What matters is Kevin Durant is going to miss next season with an Achilles tear and Klay suffered a knee injury."
The team put out a statement, informing the fans on the grim nature of Klay's knee injury: