Game 6 Preview: Raptors vs Bucks

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (3-2) @ Milwaukee Bucks (2-3)

When: Saturday, May 25th 8:30, P.M. ET

Where: Scotiabank Arena

Leading into tonight’s game:

- Injury report: For the Raptors, OG Anunoby (appendectomy), Jordan Loyd (coach’s decision) and Patrick McCaw (personal reasons) are listed as out. For the Bucks, Donte DiVincenzo (bilateral heel bursitis) and Pau Gasol (left foot surgery) are listed as out. 

- Saturday night hoops: The Raptors are back in Toronto to host the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday. After a thrilling 105-99 victory on Thursday night in Game 5, the Raptors took a commanding 3-2 series lead, giving them an opportunity to close out the series in six games and advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.  

- Recent History: Toronto pulled out a 105-99 comeback victory to take Game 5 in Milwaukee on Thursday. The Raptors trailed by 14 points in the first quarter, but continued to chip away, trailing by three at the half and three again after three quarters. The team then used a 17-6 run to open the fourth quarter to take control and hold on for the road victory. The 14-point deficit marked Toronto’s largest comeback in this year’s postseason. The Raptors made 18 three-pointers in the win (18-for-43), and had more makes from beyond the arc (18) than inside it (13). Kawhi Leonard once again led the way, scoring 35 points for the seventh time this postseason, while Fred VanVleet scored 21 points off the bench and Pascal Siakam added 14 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots. The Bucks were led by 24 points, six rebounds and five assists from Giannis Antetokounmpo and an 18-point, 11-rebound performance from Malcolm Brogdon.

Extra Assists

- All-NBA: Just days after being named to the All-NBA Defensive Second team, Kawhi Leonard was also named Second Team All-NBA. Leonard has scored at least 35 points seven times this postseason and at least 30 points 11 times, making him just the seventh player since 2000 to score 30+ in 10 or more postseason games. Leonard finished with a game-high 35 points in Game 5, as well as a career-high nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes. As the Raptors went on a 17-6 run to start the fourth quarter, Leonard outscored the Bucks team himself, 12-6, and went on to finish with 15 of Toronto’s 33 points in the final quarter.

- Bet on Fred: For the second straight game, Fred VanVleet has been a force off the bench. After scoring 13 points and dishing six assists in Toronto’s 120-102 Game 4 victory, VanVleet one-upped himself, scoring a playoff career-high 21 points in Game 6. He shot 7-for-13 from the floor, including 7-for-9 from beyond the arc, with two of his three-pointers in the decisive fourth quarter. "Obviously, [things have] turned around for me a little bit these last two games," VanVleet said after Game 5. "I've gotten more -- feels like I'm getting more better looks, more open looks, and as you make them, your teammates start to look for you more and more and the game kind of opens up all at once. Just staying confident, staying in there ready to knock them down when I get the opportunity, and just staying locked in."

 - Whatever it takes: Saturday’s game brings an immense opportunity and the team understands the gravity of the moment. “It's a 'whatever it takes' game,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said to the media in a conference call on Friday afternoon. “It's an unlimited-minutes night. This is just like any other critical must-win games. Again, I stress this is a great team we're playing, the same team we played in Games 1 and 2 and double overtime in Game 3. We've had to play really super hard and super well to get any victories. So we're focusing our thoughts on the first part of that, playing super hard.” With the series on the line, Toronto knows Milwaukee will be giving their best effort when the ball goes on up Saturday. Though the Raptors hold the 3-2 series lead, Nurse was quick to remind everyone that each win in this series has been earned: “As hard-fought as all these [games] have been -- and believe me, they have been -- I expect this one to be the hardest fought of them all.”

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