At the beginning of the series, the Milwaukee Bucks seemed to be the team with more depth. Yet, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, the Toronto Raptors scored 35 bench points compared to the Bucks 15. This helped the Raptors take a 3-2 series lead over the Bucks after a 105-99 victory in Milwaukee.
The Bucks started the game off hot. They opened on an 11-3 run, including a three-pointer by Brogdon.
Bledsoe scored nine points in the first quarter for the Bucks. However, it did not last all that long. Raptors coach Nick Nurse called a timeout and then things started to slow down.
The second quarter began as a struggle for both teams offensively. The Bucks were 1 for 10 over the first seven minutes. Eventually, the Raptors took a 38-34 lead before Antetokounmpo shot a three-pointer.
Milwaukee entered halftime with a narrow lead, 49-46.
The second half began similarly to the first quarter. The Bucks were strong and seemed to be on fire. They took a 60-51 lead and then Nurse called another timeout. In the third quarter, VanVleet made three three-pointers, tightening the game. In the first three games against Milwaukee VanVleet was only 2 for 14 on three-pointers.
It was 75-72 Bucks at the start of the fourth quarter. With just under eight minutes left in the game Raptors superstar, Kawhi Leonard shot back-to-back three-pointers. He then made two free throws after a Bucks timeout.
Things were getting close. There were nerves in the air. The Raptors fouled Bledsoe and the Bucks then had a shot at getting some points from free throws. Bledsoe missed both his free throws. The Raptors had a seven-point lead after scoring another three-pointer, but the Bucks got their feet rolling and answered. Brook Lopez tied the game 93-93 with a three-pointer.
With roughly 35 seconds left in the game, Lopez fouled Gasol and the Raptors were able to make one of their free throws.
Leonard would end the night with a phenomenal stat line: 35 points on 11 of 25 shots, 44% FG, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 steals.
Game speaks for itself. #WeTheNorth
35 Pts | 9 Ast | 7 Reb | 5 3PM | 2 Stl pic.twitter.com/qxoIf80P0z
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 24, 2019
A dunk from Siakam ended the game and ensured a win for Toronto.
Game 6 is crucial for the Bucks. Saturday night in Toronto Milwaukee will attempt to break their first three-game losing streak of the season. The Bucks haven’t made it to the NBA finals since 1974. They’re hoping to change that.
“We’ve been resilient all year,” Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon said. “And we’re going to rely on each other and lean on each other as we’ve done all year, and go out and compete as hard as we can.”
Game 6 is set for 8:30 pm tomorrow on TNT.