TORONTO – Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and added seven assists, and the Toronto Raptors rallied past the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94 to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
May 25, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dunks against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) as Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) looks on during the second half of game six of the Eastern conference finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Raptors won the best-of-seven series 4-2 and will open the Finals on Thursday night in Toronto against the Golden State Warriors.
Pascal Siakam added 18 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 and Fred VanVleet scored 14 for the Raptors.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks. Brook Lopez added 18 points with nine rebounds and four blocks, Khris Middleton had 14 points, Ersan Ilyasova 13, and Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill 10 each.
The Bucks led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, but the lead had dwindled to five entering the fourth.
Serge Ibaka’s dunk tied the game at 78 with 10:31 to play, and Siakam’s jumper and VanVleet’s 3-pointer capped a 10-0 run to give Toronto a five-point lead.
Lowry’s steal and Leonard’s dunk increased the lead to eight with 6:46 remaining.
The Bucks came back with a 7-0 run to pull within one point on Antetokounmpo’s layup with 5:19 to play.
Marc Gasol’s 3-pointer had Toronto ahead by four, but Lopez reduced it to two with a layup at 3:29. The Raptors went up by five on Siakam’s tip in with 2:06 to play.
Lopez made two free throws with 29.6 seconds to play, cutting the lead to three, but Milwaukee never had the ball within one possession in the closing minutes. Siakam made one free throw, and Leonard made two foul shots in the final seconds.
The Bucks were 6-for-9 from 3-point range to earn a 31-18 lead after one quarter.
Ilyasova’s 3-pointer with 7:48 to play in the first half put the Bucks ahead 38-23.
VanVleet’s 3-pointer with 2:28 to play in the half cut the lead to seven.
Serge Ibaka’s dunk with 1:32 left had the Raptors within five points, and VanVleet’s jumped reduced the lead to three with 1:07 left.
The Bucks scored the final four points of the half to lead 50-43.
A 3-pointer by Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks a 10-point lead early in the third quarter, before Gasol’s 3-pointer with 8:26 left in the third trimmed the lead to five.
But Middleton made a hurried 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and, after Leonard missed a shot, Eric Bledsoe came back with a 10-footer to put Milwaukee ahead by 13.
Middleton’s 3-pointer had the lead at 14 with 3:46 left in the third. The Bucks worked the lead to 15 before the Raptors went on a 10-0 run, with Leonard scoring eight. The Bucks led 76-71 after three quarters.
By Larry Millson, Field Level Media