OAKLAND, Calif. — Next door, the concrete giant sat quietly, an old relic with a new name, observing a scene that soon enough will become its own. RingCentral Coliseum attended Oracle Arena’s funeral, the two adjacent buildings for years having shared the same diagnosis.
A serious condition. Seldom reversible. Las Vegas construction workers give the Raiders six months to leave — 18, tops. For the Golden State Warriors, farewell came Thursday night.
Warriors guard Klay Thompson began a celebration of life in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, scoring 30 points before a knee injury forced his third-period exit. Already without Kevin Durant, the Warriors could not overcome another lost star. Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard was one of four Toronto Raptors players to exceed 20 points in a 114-110 championship win.
The NBA title is Canada’s first.
It concludes an era.
Bay Area fans poured from Interstate 880 and BART rail system to pay respects and support the Warriors in Oakland one final time before the franchise moves to a newer, shinier home in San Francisco next season. The distance, of course, pales to the Raiders’ scheduled 2020 departure to Las Vegas.
But Oakland and San Francisco carry different cultures and identities. An ingrained difference exists between city and town, particularly for locals.
The move matters.
Such was the backdrop to the evening at Oracle. Durant, who ruptured an Achilles’ tendon Monday in Game 5, was honored on multiple occasions with chants of “KD!” Halftime attracted a who’s who of Oakland rappers with performances from Mistah F.A.B., G-Eazy, Too Short and main act E-40.
The crowd was electric from nearly start to finish, attempting to will a wounded club back to Toronto for Game 7.
Fans fell quiet with 2:22 left in the third quarter.
Aghast, most covered their mouths or placed hands atop of head after Thompson fell to the floor. His left knee buckled upon landing after a foul from Raptors guard Danny Green on a missed layup. Warriors guard Stephen Curry bit hard on his clear mouthpiece and slammed the basketball against the hardwood.
About a minute later, Thompson was up.
With assistance, he walked off the court.
Then, in a moment befitting his team name, Thompson returned to shoot and convert both free throws. The medical staff whisked him off the court. This time, he didn’t return, leaving the arena on crutches with a torn ACL.
“When Klay goes down and is out for the game,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “it’s like, ‘You gotta be kidding me. This has to stop.’”
Down 108-102, Warriors forward Draymond Green hit a 3 to complete a triple-double — he finished with 11 points, 19 rebounds and 13 assists. The deficit later tightened to 109-108 and eventually 111-110 on two Curry free throws with 18 seconds remaining.
After a Raptors turnover, Curry missed a go-ahead 3-pointer with about six seconds left.
The Warriors and Raptors scrambled for the rebound. Draymond Green dove but, without an available shot, instinctively called timeout from his back. There was just one problem: Oakland’s team was out of timeouts.
MVP awards with two teams
Players who have been selected NBA Finals MVP with two teams
6 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee Bucks (1971-72, 1974); L.A. Lakers (1976-77, 1980)
4 — Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors (1960); Philadelphia 76ers (1966-68)
3 — Moses Malone, Houston Rockets (1979, 1982); Philadelphia 76ers (1983)
3 — LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers (2009-10); Miami Heat (2012)
2 — Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs (2013-14); Toronto Raptors (2018-19)