For the first time in franchise history, the Toronto Raptors are heading to the NBA Finals following a Game 6 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks. What did we take away from the game?
The most important game in Toronto Raptors history, with a trip to the NBA Finals potentially on the horizon.
Those were the stakes heading into Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Milwaukee Bucks were just as desperate the Raptors in regards to the game. They needed a win to keep their season alive. Both teams were going to treat this game like a Game 7.
It was a three-point barrage for the Bucks in the first quarter, as they shot 6-of-9 from beyond the arc and 57-percent from the field. Giannis Antetokounmpo was driving to the rim and kicking it out to shooters, a gameplan that has taken a step back a bit during this series.
That gameplan was working in the first quarter as the Bucks led 31-18.
The second quarter started in much of the same vein as the first for the Raptors. The Bucks were making life difficult for Kawhi Leonard inside the paint but the Toronto defense was starting to step up, even with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka picking up three fouls apiece before halftime.
Toronto found the shooting that evaded them in the first quarter, shooting 9-of-14 in the second, led by Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam. Down by seven heading into half time, the Raptors did well to bring themselves back from a 15 point deficit.
Following the pattern of the second quarter, the Bucks started hot after halftime and began to build up their lead back to double-digits, leading by 13 at one point. Giannis was casually knocking down three-pointers just like he always does, ahem, and the Raptors were struggling to create anything offensively.
Yet, Kawhi Leonard carried Toronto down the stretch and his late excursion to the free throw line in the third quarter, and the Raptors were somehow down by only five points. It was still a possibility.
Only it was more than a possibility. It was a reality. The Toronto Raptors took the lead early on in the fourth quarter and never looked back. A Serge Ibaka dunk tied the game at 78, and from then on, the Raptors switched the game into overdrive. They held off the Bucks run late on, even with Brook Lopez crashing the boards, doing all he could to keep Milwaukee in the game.
It’s official, though.
The Toronto Raptors are the Eastern Conference Champions for the first ever time.
Let’s hit up those takeaways.