Posted on May 24, 2019, by Travis Pulver

When the Eastern Conference Finals began, the Milwaukee Bucks were installed as the favorite. Two games in with a 2-0 lead, they were considered a heavy favorite. But then something unexpected happened—the Toronto Raptors came alive on offense.

With their third win in a row Thursday night, 105-99, Toronto is just a game away from making the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

Via @ESPNStatsInfo

The home team had not lost in the series heading into Game Five in Milwaukee. Early on, it looked like that was going to be the case yet again as the Bucks jumped out to a quick 18-4 lead in the first. But Toronto was able to chip away at the lead, getting within six late in the quarter.

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However, heading into the second, the Bucks were up by ten, 32-22, but a 16-2 run by the Raptors to start the quarter made quick work of Milwaukee’s lead. But the score remained close through the remainder of the quarter with the Bucks taking a three-point lead before the half came to an end, 49-46.

 In the third, both teams made it clear they were not going to give up without a fight. Milwaukee took a ten-point lead early in the quarter only to see Toronto get within three once again before the end of the third.

That was when Kawhi Leonard decided to take over.

Showing no ill-effects from the leg injury/soreness that he had been battling the last couple of games, Leonard scored 12 of Toronto’s first 15 points in the fourth and 15 total points. He hit a pair of three-pointers at the 8:30 and 7:57 mark to give the Raptors a four-point lead, 85-81.

The Raptors did not trail again.

Toronto led by as much as eight in the fourth, but the Bucks were not about to lay down and give up. They closed to within a basket late in the game but then the one thing they couldn’t have happen did—they momentarily lost Giannis Antetokounmpo to an injury.

Antetokounmpo appeared to tweak his ankle at the 1:12 mark with the Raptors holding onto a three-point lead, 98-95. So, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer briefly pulled him from the game, but then put him back in with 34.7 seconds to go.

At that point, Marc Gasol hit one of two free throws to push Toronto’s lead back out to three, 100-97. But a turnover by Malcolm Brogdon on the next possession led to a Pascal Siakam dunk and a five-point Toronto lead with 16.3 seconds left.

Norman Powell closed out the scoring moments later with a free throw to make the final 105-99, Toronto.

Leonard led the way for the Raptors with 35 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists.

“I’m not afraid of the moment,” Leonard said after the game, via ESPN. “This is what I work out for in the summer. I’m just trying to win. It’s a matter of me being aggressive and don’t shy away from anything.”   

He got a lot of help from his team, especially Fred VanVleet, who hit seven of nine three-point attempts off the bench for 21 points. In addition, Kyle Lowry scored 17 points and Pascal Siakam added a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

Antetokounmpo was one of five players to score in double figures for the Bucks with 24 points, Milwaukee actually shot better than the Raptors from the floor (45.2 percent relative to 36.9). But the Raptors dominated the three-point (18-43 to 10-31) and the foul line (25-31 to 13-18).

Game Six will be back in Toronto Saturday night. Toronto is the early favorite (2.5 points).   

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