Four months have passed and yes, the Toronto Raptors are still 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 on June 13, 2019.
As the defending champions host the first game of the 2019-20 regular season, they will become immortalized in the Scotiabank Arena rafters as they raise their championship banner and receive their rings in a pregame ceremony.
While the lasting image from the run will be the team hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy and raising the banner, 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.
Kawhi's 37 PTS (15/22 FG) leads the @Raptors to the home victory & ties the series vs. ORL at 1-1! #WeTheNorth #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/7QvGBoapCB- NBA (@NBA) April 17, 2019
• 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.
🌶️ @pskills43 drops a #NBAPlayoffs career-high 30 PTS, helping the @Raptors go up 2-1 in the series! #WeTheNorth- NBA (@NBA) April 20, 2019
Game 4: Sunday (4/21), 7pm/et, TNT pic.twitter.com/jsbWaviGAe
• 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.
Clutch from Kawhi (39 PTS) to extend the @Raptors lead! #NBAPlayoffs#WeTheNorth 96#PhilaUnite 90- NBA (@NBA) May 5, 2019
38.5 left on #NBAonABC pic.twitter.com/pnV5nnXPiT
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.
Kawhi (21p/13r) & @Klow7 (19p/6r/5a) help the @Raptors take a 3-2 series lead with the Game 5 home W! #WeTheNorth #NBAPlayoffs- NBA (@NBA) May 8, 2019
Game 6: Thursday (5/9), 8pm/et, ESPN pic.twitter.com/f1M3QydlHg
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.
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…
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 2019 Most Improved Player 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.
🔥 @pskills43 (32 PTS, 14-17 FGM) makes 11 CONSECUTIVE field goals, lifting the @Raptors over GSW in Game 1 of the #NBAFinals presented by @YouTubeTV! #WeTheNorth- NBA (@NBA) May 31, 2019
Game 2: Sunday (6/2), 8:00pm/et, ABC & TSN pic.twitter.com/V2L6xXaRAa
• 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.
🔥 @DGreen_14 (18 PTS, 6 3PM) sparks the @Raptors in Game 3 as they take a 2-1 lead in the #NBAFinals presented by @YouTubeTV! #WeTheNorth- NBA (@NBA) June 6, 2019
Game 4: Friday (6/7), 9pm/et, ABC & TSN pic.twitter.com/xe0D3WqrUD
• 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.
🖐️ @kawhileonard (36 PTS, 5 3PM 12 REB, 4 STL) puts up his 14th 30-point game of the #NBAPlayoffs as the @Raptors take a 3-1 series lead! #WeTheNorth #NBAFinals- NBA (@NBA) June 8, 2019
Game 5: Monday (6/10), 9pm/et, ABC & Sportsnet pic.twitter.com/8b6kEMu1N4
Leonard's takeover was huge and his even-keeled demeanour was infectious…
• As the Raptors remained focused.
The @Raptors remain locked in as they walk off with 3-1 #NBAFinals lead. #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/hfOI3fTdyW- NBA (@NBA) June 8, 2019
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."
CANADA THE NBA CHAMPIONSHIP IS YOURS! 🇨🇦 #WeTheNorth | #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/PeISQjNHsY- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) June 14, 2019
🔊 The closing call to Game 6 as the @Raptors win their first championship in franchise history! #WeTheNorth #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/ISWARyxYvI- NBA (@NBA) June 14, 2019
Your 2019 NBA Champions, the @Raptors!#WeTheNorth | #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/QV2BK7DAZU- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) June 14, 2019
The 2019 NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, talks with Doris Burke following the @Raptors Game 6 win!#WeTheNorth | #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/MVqpmWhiUy- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) June 14, 2019
Inside the @Raptors locker room celebration!- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) June 14, 2019
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀#WeTheNorth | #NBAFinals pic.twitter.com/N0h4NXjWMU