Raptors fever: How Hamilton celebrated an NBA championship
After 24 years and the team’s first NBA Finals, the Toronto Raptors are NBA champions.
MVP Kawhi Leonard and company got the job done on the road in Oakland, beating the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 to win the series four games to two.
Hamilton joined the celebration on Thursday night, with thousands taking in a viewing party at First Ontario Centre.
The crowd was a diverse bunch including moms, dads, couples, longtime fans, new supporters and bandwagon jumpers.
“Watching Game 5, I saw a lot of missed calls by the referee. The Raptors actually should’ve won Game 5,” said John from Hamilton, who came to First Ontario with his wife Amy. “If they go to Game 7, I don’t think they’ll last. They got to get it done tonight.”
The pair, who have been fans since 1998, decided to join the crowd after watching the first five games from home.
David from Ancaster, who came out with his daughters Jessie and Jana, said he’s watched the team off and on since the Vince Carter days but admits he’s been a bit of bandwagon jumper since this year’s playoff run.
“My favourite player? Fred VanVleet. He’s really energetic, motivates the team and he’s not one of the taller guys. He’s shorter. I kinda like that,” David said.
Meanwhile, Andrew brought his boys A.J. and T.J. out for Game 6.
“It’s the finals. It’s time to wrap it up,” said Andrew who, like T.J., cheers on Kyle Lowry.
“He’s a guard. There are other guards, but he’s a monster, really.”
WATCH: Toronto Raptors earn first-ever NBA title in Game 6 against Golden State Warriors
However, A.J. says his Raptors jersey doesn’t have a name or number on the back.
“I guess I don’t have a favourite; I’m a team guy,” he said.
It was easy for fans at First Ontario to get into the spectacle as the Raptors had a strong first quarter, leading by nine points at one point in the game.
However, the tension mounted for viewers in the second and third quarters as rotating leads and 30 points from Golden State’s Klay Thompson put the game in doubt.
However, Lowry’s and Pascal Siakam’s 26 points each, plus VanVleet’s 22, proved too much for the Warriors in the end, and the Raptors took the series in just six games.
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