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Playoffs 2019

NBA Finals 2019: The defining moments of the Toronto Raptors' 2019 title run

#Raptors
The Raptors react to Kawhi Leonard's game winner (NBA Getty Images)

The Toronto Raptors are the 2019 NBA Champions.

After a long 82-game season and 24-game postseason, Toronto captured the first title in its 24-year franchise history.

While the lasting image will be the team hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy, there were a number of big moments along the way. Take a look back at some of the best…

First round | Conference Semifinals | Conference Finals | The Finals

First Round: Raptors cruise past Magic in 5

• After a disappointing loss to open the postseason, the Raptors responded in a major way in Game 2.

The Raptors took care of business in a fashion they had never done before, earning what was at the time the largest margin of victory in franchise postseason history - a 29-point blowout, fuelled by 37 points from Kawhi Leonard, 22 from Kyle Lowry and 19 from Pascal Siakam.

• As the series shifted to Orlando, the Raptors needed to regain home-court advantage, a feat that became much tougher with Kawhi Leonard under the weather.

In a gritty win, Pascal Siakam put forth the best playoff performance of his young career, recording an impressive 30-point, 11-rebound double-double, dishing out four assists in the process.

• The Raptors returned home with a 3-1 lead for the first time in franchise history and had an opportunity to earn the most dominant postseason series victory to date.

Again, they showed up in a big way.

Toronto made light work of Orlando in the elimination game, earning a 19-point win behind 27 points from Kawhi and 24 points from Siakam. This team made a statement that it was unlike those from the past and was on a mission to make history.

We heard them loud and clear.

Eastern Conference Semifinals: Raptors edge 76ers in 7

• The tone had been set and the Raptors rode the momentum from the first round as they took on a talented 76ers team in a heavyweight second-round battle.

In Game 1, it was pretty much all Kawhi and Pascal.

Leonard scored a postseason career-high 45 points (on 16-23 shooting) and 11 rebounds to impose his will, while Siakam was the only other Raptor in double-figures with 29 points (on 12-15 shooting)

• After taking Game 1, the Raptors fell in Games 2 and 3 and suddenly, their backs were against the wall.

Again, Kawhi stepped up when Toronto needed him the most.

Leonard led the Raptors to a tough five-point road win in a hostile environment with 39 points (on 13-20 shooting), but the defining moment of this game was his 3-pointer to put the Raptors up four with just over a minute left to play and the ensuing fist pump.

It would effectively put the game away for good and sway the series back in the Raptors' favour.

• In a pivotal Game 5, Toronto again answered the call in a major way.

The team's record win from Round 1 didn't last long as they took a 3-2 series lead with a 36-point blowout win over the 76ers as six different players scored in double figures.

Yet another statement proving this was a new year and a new team.

• Philly took care of business in Game 6 to force a win-or-go-home Game 7 in which there were a number of noteworthy occurrences.

With a limited rotation, Serge Ibaka provided the spark Toronto needed off the bench, scoring 17 points to go along with eight rebounds in 29 minutes of action.

• What happened in the first 47:56 of game action was great, but it all set up the defining moment: The Shot.

Leonard again erased the memories of a bitter past with a last-second jumper that danced on the rim before falling in as Toronto earned a Game 7 victory to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in franchise history.

Eastern Conference Finals: Raptors over Bucks in 6

• More adversity meant more big moments.

After dropping the first two games of the series, the Raptors returned home with their backs against the wall.

The response?

It took two overtimes, but this resilient group found a way to earn a six-point win over the East's top seed behind 36 points from Leonard, another masterful performance.

• After logging 52 minutes in Game 3, Leonard was visibly fatigued, but he still managed to deliver a big moment in Game 4 with a big-time and-one finish.

It was an absolute team effort as six different Raptors scored in double figures.

More encouraging than anything was that Fred VanVleet had emerged from his slump, scoring 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field and a perfect 3-for-3 from deep.

• Slump? What slump?

VanVleet scored 21 points off the bench, hitting seven of his nine 3-point attempts to help propel the Raptors to a six-point win to take a 3-2 series lead.

The defining moment came in the game's winding seconds as Siakam's dunk sealed the deal.

Suddenly, the Raps were just one game from the Finals after being down two games to a formidable foe.

• Game 6 - the biggest game in franchise history.

Defined by three moments.

• The run.

After trailing big late in the third quarter, the Raptors used a 17-2 run to take command of the game, a run that was capped by…

• The dunk.

Leonard's transition dunk was the true moment where all in attendance in Scotiabank Arena realized that the Raptors would go on to win this game, a moment that built anticipation for the time to wind down as it awaited…

• History.

24 years led to the moment of the Raptors earning their first Finals berth in franchise history.

It's all summed up in the emotion shown by Lowry.

NBA Finals: Raptors defeat the Warriors in 6

• With Game 1 at Scotiabank Arena, an NBA Finals game was hosted outside of the United States for the first time in league history.

Toronto rose to the occasion.

The Raptors earned the first Finals win in franchise history thanks to a big team performance, a big moment in itself, in addition to…

• Siakam becoming a household name.

The likely winner of this year's Most Improved Player award scored 32 points (on 14-for-17 shooting) to lead the Raptors and put everyone on notice that he is a star in the making.

• After a tough Game 2 loss, the series shifted to The Bay, where the Raptors again showed what they were made of.

Leonard scored a team-high 30 points while Danny Green knocked down six of his 10 3-point attempts to lead Toronto to a 14-point win despite 47 points from Stephen Curry.

• The Raptors regained home-court advantage but they weren't satisfied with just one win at Oracle.

Leonard led the way with 36 points as the Raptors took a commanding 3-1 lead as the series shifted back to Toronto.

Leonard's takeover was huge and his even-keeled demeanour was infectious…

• As the Raptors remained focused.

The job wasn't done.

• After a heartbreaking loss in Game 5, the Raptors responded like champions in Game 6 at Oracle Arena.

From Lowry's early-game scoring burst...

...to Fred VanVleet's big performance off the bench...

...the team aspect of the Raptors title-clinching win was a summation of this postseason run.

It all led to one final moment:

• "Canada, the NBA title is yours."

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