The Toronto Raptors are NBA Champions. There are a lot of reasons why the Raptors won this series. But here are the main reasons why
Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse did an amazing job with adjustments after every loss the Raptors suffered in the playoffs. After game 2, we did see those adjustments right away. The Raptors continued to play a box-and-one defense from game which made it difficult for the Warriors to score.
Nurse also made the right substitutions, Fred VanVleet was great coming off bench. When Nurse saw Kyle Lowry struggle he would bring in VanVleet to take over for Lowry and it worked. Even with Norman Powell who would come in for Kawhi Leonard when Kawhi needed to rest. Nurse puts all guys in great spots to succeed once they entered the game off the bench. That was great coaching overall by Nick Nurse.
2. Play of their Big Men
During the Finals I saw the Raptors Big Men dominant the Warriors Big Men. When Marc Gasol, Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka were more involved in the offense the Raptors bullied the Warriors in the paint. Gasol made anyone who guarded him the paint looked weak, helpless and scared. Gasol was getting easy buckets in the paint the entire series.
Siakam looked way to fast for any power forward or center on the Warriors. Siakam showed it in game 1 because no one was able to guard him, the reason why he did not have the best game 2 because the ball was just going in the hoop. But if you watch the film Siakam was running up and down the court while the Warriors big men were struggling to catch up with him.
Ibaka came up huge in games when Gasol and Siakam were not able to make their shots. Game 4 was the biggest example. Ibaka bullied all defenders in the paint and played great defense. The Raptors Big Men made the Warriors Big Men look really small in all the games.
Kawhi Leonard is hands down the biggest reason why the Raptors the Finals. He was dominant the whole series, it didn’t matter who guarded him Kawhi was going to score on anyone. The best part of Kawhi’s game during the Finals was his ability to draw fouls. Kawhi did an amazing job drawing fouls. Almost every game he nearly shot 10 free throws a game, that incredible.
We all know Kawhi plays great defense, that was not going to be a problem coming into this series.What was more impressive than his defense was he ability to make big shots in big moments. In game 4 Leonard hit two big 3’s that gave the Raptors the lead and led to a win for the Raptors in game 4. Then in game 5 his 10 to 0 run in game 5 gave the Raptors a 6 point lead with 3 minutes to go in the game. Then in game 6 when he took over the offense in the last 6 minutes by finding guys with the hot hand so they can close the series.