NBA Finals 2019: Klay Thompson and Most Heroic Moments from Warriors vs. Raptors

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 15, 2019

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 13: Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors pumps up the crowd during Game Six of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors on June 13, 2019 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

When Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson walked back from the tunnel to shoot free throws in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, everyone knew he was in pain, but no one knew just how much. 

Thompson hit the two free throws and then was substituted off the floor by head coach Steve Kerr, which led to his immediate return to the tunnel on his way to the locker room for further evaluation.

ESPN @espn

After tearing his ACL, Klay Thompson came back onto the court to hit two free throws 😳 https://t.co/dyUEcpFm4R

Unfortunately for Thompson, he was diagnosed with a torn ACL that will keep him out for a good chunk of the 2019-20 NBA season. 

Warriors PR @WarriorsPR

Klay Thompson injury update: https://t.co/9b7dZfde9U

The determination Thompson displayed after suffering his injury in Game 6 was a perfect encapsulation of the fight the Warriors showed over the course of six games in their defeat to the Toronto Raptors. 

Just a game before Thompson went down, the Warriors lost Kevin Durant to a torn Achilles in Game 5. 

Although he was not at 100 percent, Durant suited up for Golden State with elimination staring the team in the face at Scotiabank Arena. 

Before he suffered a much worse injury than the calf strain he was dealing with, Durant reeled off 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting, with all of those field goals coming from three-point range. 

ESPN @espn

Back-to-back games ... Devastating finish to the season for the Warriors. https://t.co/e9FARRe9Sd

Even though Golden State had to finish off the victory without Durant, he still made a difference in the short amount of time he played. 

Stephen Curry was heroic in his own right for the Warriors, as he tried to pull them back into his series on his own with his teammates injured. 

Curry averaged 30.5 points per game in the NBA Finals, and he gave the Warriors an opportunity to win Game 6, despite playing without Durant and Thompson. 

Curry scored over 30 points on three occasions in the series, and he was one shot away from forcing a Game 7 in which he would have had to deliver one of the best performances of his career to make up for the injury absences on the road. 

Unfortunately for Golden State, those heroic moments could not land it a chance to win its third straight title in Game 7, but it spoke volumes of the type of competitors the Warriors have on their roster.

Toronto received some heroic contributions from its players, but in a different manner than Golden State did. 

A few key plays will be forever remembered on Toronto's path to its first championship in franchise history. 

In Game 3, Danny Green and Fred VanVleet came up with a pair of clutch plays that will go down in Raptors lore. 

At the start of the fourth quarter, Green chased down Quinn Cook in transition and swatted the ball away from the rim. 

SLAM @SLAMonline

CHASEDOWN BLOCK 🚫 Danny Green having himself a game! (via @ESPNNBA) https://t.co/oAaqS3VJFc

Toronto continued to lead Game 3 at Oracle Arena, and VanVleet ended up delivering the dagger to the Warriors with a three-point shot that beat the expiration of the shot clock.


The huge three from Fred VanVleet sealed the Game 3 win for the Raptors 🎯 Watch the #NBAFinals live on @SkySportsNBA https://t.co/oU9Rsz3UwP

Those plays were key in Game 3 because they handed Toronto the first of its three road wins at Oracle Arena, and it set the tone for the series that the Raptors would not be intimidated by the Warriors and their home-court advantage. 

One game later, VanVleet lost a tooth after Shawn Livingston's arm inadvertently hit him in the paint. 

With a bandage under his eye, VanVleet scored 11 points in Game 5 and 22 points in the series-clinching Game 6. 

Throughout the series, each member of Toronto's supporting cast made a difference to ease the pressure off Kawhi Leonard. 

Kyle Lowry experienced the largest increase in production, as he turned into the second top scorer on the roster after struggling to find his shot in the early rounds of the playoffs. 

Toronto Raptors @Raptors

Silence the critics. #WeTheNorth @Klow7: 26P | 10A | 7R | 3S https://t.co/RoHPBMsQJU

But it was Leonard who deservedly earned the Most Valuable Player award for his six 20-plus-point performances. 

While Thompson and Durant will go down in Golden State lore for battling through injuries to keep their team alive, Leonard is a hero in Toronto for being a consistent superstar on the court and delivering Toronto its first-ever title. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference.