Copy
 
Keeping you in the game... One email at a time. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It turns out the Golden State Warriors weren't, after all, basketball-invincible. And, as it turned out, that had a lot to do with them not being physically invincible. Already without Kevin Durant, who was injured for the series and possibly all of next season while trying to come back from an injury in Game 5, the Warriors lost Klay Thompson, who was playing incredibly well, to an injury that might keep him out for all of next season late in the third quarter of last night's Game 6. Steph Curry (who -- pay attention haters -- missed an open three-pointer with a chance to take the lead with under 10 seconds left) and the gang just didn't have enough juice for the Warriors to hang on. And now the Toronto Raptors are, for the first time, NBA champions. And let's talk about those Raptors guys for a second -- injuries or no, they earned this.

Our New Canadian Overlords
  • Kawhi (kuh-WHY) Leonard won the NBA Finals MVP, was dominant all playoffs long, and has reinserted himself into the "best player alive" discussion. He used his insanely large hands and even more insanely calm demeanor to score like few in the playoffs ever have on offense, while playing lockdown defense on the other end. Before the season, Toronto traded one of its stars to get him, even though he was on the last year of a contract and is free to leave the team *looks at watch* nnnnnnnow, and everyone in the franchise agrees that risk was well worth it.
  • Kyle Lowry is the longest-tenured and possibly smallest Raptor. After years of playoff disappointment, he busted through a reputation for fading in big games with a very excellent clinching Game 6.
  • Pascal Siakam (see-OCK-um) has been a revelation in just his third year in the league, coming out of seemingly nowhere to give the Raptors the firepower they needed to overcome star-studded teams like the Warriors.
  • And Fred VanVleet's a fun story: the undrafted, undersized, underdog is now a walking ad for fatherhood after the birth of his child midway through the playoffs coincided with him suddenly switching from playing terribly to playing like an All-Star. He hit clutch shots throughout the playoffs, including last night.
The End Of A Dynasty?
And now, a moment to appreciate the Warriors. They just played in their fifth straight NBA Finals, something no franchise has done since the 60s (they ended up winning three of them). They changed the game with a three-point shooting attack unlike anything anyone had ever seen. They garnered oh so many haters when they won an NBA record 73 regular-season games in the 2015-2016 season, then immediately added recent-MVP Kevin Durant. And that run might now be over -- Durant and Klay Thompson were already candidates to leave the team as free agents this summer, but thanks to their recent injuries, it might not even matter where they sign. But even if this is the end, it was a historically great run.

NBA Drama Starts Now
Durant, Klay, and Kawhi are now all free agents and can sign with any team, as can a bunch of other major NBA stars. Durant's and Klay's injuries put a dent in the plans of teams all over the league, who now have some major risk-assessment decisions to make. With the NBA Draft in a week and free agency starting July 1, you might now hear more about the NBA than when the Finals was going on.

A Couple Of Footnotes About Karma And Curses
The Warriors had bad injury luck at the worst time this year. But, as the haters are extremely eager to point out, they had quite good injury luck during their historic run. And "luck" doesn't even describe all of it: back when Kawhi Leonard was on the Spurs in 2017, he started off hot in a playoff series against the Warriors until a goonish big man of theirs probably-intentionally injured him, knocking him out for the series and most of the next year. So, this year might've been karmic payback for that one.

Also, this may mark the end of the Curse of Drake. For years, Drake rooting for you has been a sure sign that you're about to lose, with that curse surely contributing to a huge upset in boxing just earlier this month. But his hometown Raptors -- has he ever mentioned he's from "the 6"? -- have always been his squad, and now they're NBA champs.
 
 
"This ain't the end of us." -- super-intense Warriors All-Star Draymond Green, sounding maybe a little more like a movie villain than he meant to, or, knowing him, maybe the exact intended amount.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unfortunately, there was no single signature highlight from the game. Fortunately, thanks to the miracle of video editing, you can watch the gist of the entire, very exciting game, in just five minutes! You should do that.
 
 
 
 
 
 
It's now that boring period of the sports calendar where it's nothing but baseball for the next few -- wait, what's this? The women's World Cup is happening right now, and because it's the women's team we're talking about, it's a soccer tournament the U.S. is actually favored to win? You bet your boots that's happening right now. The U.S. women opened the tournament with a record-setting 13-0 victory over Thailand. Their second game -- against Chile, who should play them a lot closer -- is this Sunday, noon ET on FOX.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Kawhi Leonard. Remember the name. And pray he decides to play for your team this summer.
 
 
 
 
THANKS FOR SUBSCRIBING TO TIPOFF SPORTS!
 
 
 
Know someone else who needs this? Of course you do. Forward this email to a friend and tell them to subscribe at TipOff.co.