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Raptors become first Canadian team to capture NBA title

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For the first time in NBA history, the Larry O’Brien Trophy is heading north of the border.

The Toronto Raptors officially won the 2019 NBA championship after defeating the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in a thrilling Game 6 at Oracle Arena.

After a back-and-forth first half, the Warriors appeared to be gaining some momentum in the third quarter until Klay Thompson suffered a knee injury when he landed after a dunk attempt contested by Danny Green. Thompson shot his two free throws and left the game for good. The team later confirmed he sustained a torn left ACL, which will likely keep him out of action for the majority of 2019/2020.

The fourth quarter wasn’t pretty offensively, but Fred Van Vleet kept the Raptors alive with a couple of clutch three-pointers, and the Raptors were finally able to put the game away in the final minute thanks to some clutch defense, a Pascal Siakam jumper, and Kawhi Leonard’s free throws.

Kawhi Leonard wasn’t at his best, but managed to finish the game with 22 points, six rebounds and three assists in 41 minutes, and won his second career NBA Finals MVP to go along with his second NBA title.

“This is what I play basketball for…his is what I work out for.” said Leonard after the game.

His teammate Kyle Lowry also praised him for his incredible performances throughout the 2019 postseason.

“I think he’s the best two-way basketball player in the NBA,” said Lowry.

“He just goes. You know, I’ve seen some stuff from him this year that you just say, ‘Wow.’ You do. You say, ‘Wow.’ You appreciate the work that he’s put in. He works extremely hard at his game and works extremely hard on his body. And he loves this basketball thing. Loves it.”

The team apparently celebrated with a trip to Las Vegas, and will hold their championship parade in Toronto starting at 10am/ET on Monday.

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Wizards ink Bradley Beal to two-year max contract extension

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The trade rumours can be put to rest, because Bradley Beal will be staying in the nation’s capital for a little while longer.

The Washington Wizards announced Thursday that they have signed star guard Bradley Beal to a two-year, $72 million max contract extension that includes a player option for the 2022/2023 season. The deal also has a 15% trade kicker, and a no-trade clause during the regular season.

The 26-year old still has two years remaining on his current contract, so the total value of his two deals combined is close to $130 million over a span of four years.

Beal, who was selected third overall in the 2012 NBA Draft, has averaged 19.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in seven seasons and 488 regular season games.

He averaged a career-high 25.6 points last season on a 47.5 field goal percentage.

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Bucks starting point guard Eric Bledsoe out 2-3 weeks with rib injury

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The Milwaukee Bucks are probably going to have to start the 2019/2020 NBA regular season without their starting point guard.

The team announced that Eric Bledsoe will be sidelined for approximately 2-3 weeks after sustaining a small fracture of his rib.

He suffered the injury midway through the Bucks’ 133-99 preseason win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. After the game, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer that the injury is not too serious.

“It feels like it’s not that severe,” said Budenholzer after the game.

“but I’m sure Troy (Flanagan, the team’s director of performance) and those guys will give me an update. … Just talking to Bled (it seemed positive) – I don’t know if you can trust Bled – Troy will be the truth-teller”

The 29-year old, who is entering the first season of a lucrative four-year, $70 million contract, averaged 15.9 points, 5.5 assists and 4.6 rebounds in 78 games in 2018/19.

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Kyle Lowry signs one-year, $31 million contract extension with Raptors

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The Toronto Raptors are rewarding their legendary point guard with some extra money in the bank.

The team announced Monday that they have signed the five-time NBA All-Star to a one-year, $31 million extension that will keep him under contract with the team through the 2020/2021 season.

The 33-year old, who will be entering his eighth season with the franchise, has one-year remaining on the three-year, $100 million contract he signed back in the summer of 2017.

Lowry is coming off an impressive postseason where he averaged 15.0 points, 6.6 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 24 games, and played a pivotal role in clinching the franchise’s first-ever NBA title in June.

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