Raptors aim to top Bucks for NBA Finals berth
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[May 25, 2019]
TORONTO - The Toronto Raptors
will be looking to move on and the visiting Milwaukee Bucks will be
hoping to stay alive Saturday night in Game 6 of the Eastern
The host Raptors lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 after winning
Game 5 in Milwaukee 105-99 on Thursday night. Another win will put
them into the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
The Bucks have an immediate goal of forcing a Game 7 Monday night on
their home court.
The Raptors are approaching Game 6 warily, not trying to get ahead
"Listen, this is a great team we're playing," Raptors coach Nick
Nurse said. "They are really good and deep and athletic and long and
all kinds of stuff. This was a super hard win (Thursday), super
hard. And we have to play with a tremendous amount of effort. Again,
I think our keys are this: We've got to play good offense, not turn
it over and score the basketball, because if you don't, they're
getting what they want, which is downhill basketball in a hurry.
"If we can score it, if we can take care of it, we can get our
defense set up, for the most part we get down and guard them and
make the shots a lot tougher. We have to rebound the basketball.
They're a great rebounding team."
Bucks center Brook Lopez is aware of the task at hand.
"We're just on to the next game," Lopez said. "We're not thinking
about winning two right now, obviously. We just want to go out there
and get Game 6."
Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo was emphatic.
"I'm (ticked), I'm not going to lie to you," Antetokounmpo said.
"We've got two more games to go and we can do this. ... We're the
best team in the league, man. We're not going to fold. We're going
to go and give everything we've got. We're not going to go there and
even (if) they set a great tone and come out and hit us in the mouth
first -- we can't fold. We're going to come back to Milwaukee being
(ticked), like, you cannot fold. You've got to go out there and give
everything you've got. If we lose, we lose. OK, cool. But we're not
going to fold as a team. That's not what we do."
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Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) passes the ball as Milwaukee Bucks
forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) defends during the fourth quarter
in game five of the Eastern conference finals of the 2019 NBA
Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY
As usual, Kawhi Leonard led Toronto's scoring Thursday with 15 of
his 35 points coming in the fourth quarter. He also added seven
rebounds and a career-best nine assists.
"Just got to give credit to my teammates," Leonard said. "They
knocked down shots (Thursday) when I gave it to them, and I'm not a
guy that really controls the ball the whole game."
The Raptors have an advantage in playoff experience over the Bucks,
and that could have been a factor already in this series and could
be again in Game 6.
"Experience helps a lot," Leonard said. "You know, just from my
input, I've been here before. I've been to the finals, and it's
pretty much nothing new that I'm seeing out there. You just have to
have fun with it and enjoy it. Like I told them (Thursday), we were
down 10, I told them to enjoy the moment and embrace it, and let's
have fun and love it. This is why we're here."
Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova said it's a mental game.
"I think it's going to be about us showing our strength -- not just
physically," Ilyasova said. "Mentally, because we have to be ready.
They will come out full force, and not just them -- the fans and
everything. We have to stick together and play our best game."
--By Larry Millson, Field Level Media
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