National Basketball Association
Toronto 92, Milwaukee 89
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, April 27, 2017
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
#25 Tony Brothers, #8 Marc Davis, #71 Rodney Mott
MILWAUKEE -- All through their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Toronto Raptors were reminded of their not-so-sparkling playoff history.
So when the Bucks routed them in Milwaukee in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead, it seemed the script was being written once again for another inglorious postseason exit.
The Raptors, however, had other ideas, ripping off two consecutive convincing victories to take a 3-2 lead back to Milwaukee for Game 6 and then slamming the door on the Bucks with an 92-89 win Thursday, punching their ticket to a second-round meeting with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"I think we're better with our backs against the wall instead of having smoke blown at us," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "I know what we have in that locker room, and that's some fighters and scrappers.
"Sometimes we make it hard on ourselves, but we're going to go down swinging."
Of course, they probably weren't expecting the fight they found themselves down the stretch in Game 6.
The Raptors led by 25 points in the third quarter before the Bucks responded with a desperation run to take an 80-78 lead on Jason Terry's 3-pointer with 3:07 to play.
But Toronto didn't collapse. Instead, the Raptors regrouped and rattled off nine straight points, recovering in just enough time to silence their naysayers.
"We didn't think it would be easy," Casey said, "but we made it harder than it needed to be."
DeMar DeRozan led the way, scoring 32 points on 12-of-24 shooting from the field, including a thunderous dunk with 48 seconds to play. Kyle Lowry added 13 points for the Raptors, who shot 45.7 percent from the floor.
"We knew they weren't going to give up," DeRozan said. "They fought extremely hard. We knew they were going to make a run. We just had to sustain it.
"We didn't expect to be down fighting back in the last couple minutes, but we were. We stayed calm and we executed, got stops when we needed to, and got buckets when we needed to."
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 47 minutes for Milwaukee but went 7 of 13 from the free throw line. The Bucks made only 18 of 28 free throws, and they shot 42.1 percent from the floor.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Norman Powell and DeMarre Carroll gave the Raptors a 71-46 lead with 5:17 left in the third quarter.
That seemed to wake up the Bucks as Antetokounmpo hit a 3-pointer with 3:13 left to get the Bucks within 19 and Khris Middleton (19 points) followed a Toronto turnover with another 3-pointer as Milwaukee closed the quarter on a 15-3 run to make it a 74-61 game heading to the fourth.
"We never put our heads down," Antetokounmpo said. "We were feeling good about ourselves. We were playing good defense."
A free throw from Monroe got the Bucks within eight before DeRozan stopped the Raptors' bleeding. Bucks coach Jason Kidd was called for a technical after a block call on Middleton, and Lowry's two free throws restored a 12-point advantage.
Toronto led by six when Serge Ibaka drew his fourth foul, but a 14-0 Milwaukee run capped off by Terry's wide-open 3. The lead could have been even bigger, but the Bucks simply could not make free throws -- going 6 of 14 from the line in the fourth quarter -- and Antetokounmpo missed 5 of 8 during a three-minute stretch.
"We made a run and gave ourselves an opportunity," Kidd said, "We fought. We always talk about the little things and when we look at this, it just comes down to free throws. It's not that hard. We don't need to overanalyze this; we got to the stripe and we just couldn't capitalize on that."
NOTES: The Bucks have lost eight consecutive playoff series and haven't advanced past the first round in their last seven trips to the postseason. ... Toronto won three consecutive playoff games for the first time and advanced past the first round for the third time in franchise history. ... Prior to Thursday, the Raptors were 0-3 in Game 6 since Dwane Casey took over as coach in 2011.
Top Game Performances
DeMar DeRozan 32
Giannis Antetokounmpo 34
Kyle Lowry 4
Khris Middleton 5
Serge Ibaka 12
Giannis Antetokounmpo 9
DeMar DeRozan 8
||Free Throws Made
Giannis Antetokounmpo 7
DeMar DeRozan 5
Giannis Antetokounmpo 2
Serge Ibaka 2
Thon Maker 5
Team Stats Summary
Toronto will play their next game on the road against Cleveland. The Raptors have a W/L % of .620 after a win and .625 after a loss.