Raptors advance to first NBA Finals

May 27, 2019
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) holds up the trophy after the team’s 100-94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals on Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Toronto. The Raptors advanced to the NBA Finals.
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) holds up the trophy after the team’s 100-94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals on Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Toronto. The Raptors advanced to the NBA Finals.

(AP):

Kyle Lowry stole the ball and pushed it ahead, then waited for Kawhi Leonard to arrive before feeding his All-Star teammate for a thunderous one-handed slam over Giannis Antetokounmpo.

"The building exploded after that dunk," Leonard said.

It sure did. Now imagine how it will sound when the NBA Finals come to Toronto for the first time next week.

Leonard had 27 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Raptors into the finals for the first time with a 100-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. His big dunk with 6:46 to go in the fourth quarter was the final basket in a game-changing 26-3 run that began late in the third.

"It was kind of a momentum capper," Lowry said. "We were on a run, and why not feed the big dog? Let the big dog eat."

The Raptors overcame a 15-point deficit to win the series in six games and will host the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night.

It will be the two-time defending champions against a Raptors team that will finally bring the NBA Finals outside the US after entering the league in 1995.

"They're one of the greatest teams in history," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of the Warriors. "It will be a tall task, but we'll try to figure it out."

Pascal Siakam scored 18 points, Lowry had 17, and Fred VanVleet 14 for the Raptors.

Lowry held the game ball and picked up his children after the game, finally getting to the championship round after the Raptors kept falling short against Cleveland.

"It's taken a long time to get here in my career," Lowry said. "I've run into one guy for a while."

Toronto were eliminated by LeBron James and the Cavaliers in three straight postseasons before shaking things up last summer with the acquisition of Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals MVP who was acquired from San Antonio and has carried the Raptors in this postseason.

"He's the best player in the league and we're happy he's in Toronto," Raptors President Masai Ujiri said.

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