Kawhi carries Raptors to brink of finals
MANILA, Philippines – Kawhi Leonard took charge in the final quarter as the Toronto Raptors downed the Milwaukee Bucks, 105-99, to take a 3-2 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals and move within a win of an NBA championship berth.
Leonard pumped in 35 points, including 15 of the Raptors’ 33 in the final quarter of Game 5 in Milwaukee on Thursday, May 23 (Friday, May 24, Philippine time)
“We weathered the storm early,” said Leonard, who dropped 8 straight points in a pivotal 10-0 run that put the Raptors on top, 89-81, midway in the 4th quarter.
The Bucks, who got off to a 2-0 series lead at home, absorbed their third straight loss – a first this season after a stellar run that made them the playoff top seeds.
@kawhileonard (35 PTS, 9 AST, 7 REB) scores 15 in the 4th, lifting the @Raptors to a 3-2 series lead with the Game 5 road W! #WeTheNorth #NBAPlayoffs— NBA (@NBA) May 24, 2019
Game 6: Saturday (5/25), 8:30pm/et, TNT pic.twitter.com/P9LbfQExmk
Leonard shot 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, including back-to-back triples that sparked the Raptors’ comeback, and also tallied 7 rebounds, 9 assists and 2 steals.
Guard Fred VanVleet again delivered off the bench, firing all of his 21 points from three-point range – the last putting the Raptors on top again, 96-93, as answer to a Brook Lopez trey that tied the game for the last time at 93.
“VanVleet just had a monster night,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer.
Kyle Lowry also had 17 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, while Pascal Siakam posted a double-double of 14 points and 13 boards for the Raptors.
Top MVP contender Giannis Antetokounmpo paced the Bucks with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
Eric Bledsoe added 20 points and Malcolm Brogdon had a double-double of 18 points and 11 boards for the Bucks, who will try to force a Game 7 in Toronto on Saturday, May 25 (Sunday, May 26, Philippine time).
The winner of the series will advance to the Finals versus two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors. – Rappler.com