Tested again, resilient Raptors rest up for Cavs rematch

It will not be the first time the two have met in the postseason either, they have done it before. Or are they? The Raptors won the last three games against the Bucks after switching Norman Powell for Jonas Valanciunas. It just matters that the Raptors won.

Holding on by the skin of their teeth, the Raptors pushed past the Bucks in Game 6 on Thursday night, advancing to the Conference Semifinals where they'll face the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In the past this might have unsettled the Raptors, but these are not the Raptors who cower at the sight of an early deficit.

No, that was just the first test and as it turned out lesser of the tests they would have to pass. Toronto led by as many as 25 before falling apart in the fourth quarter. You could tell the Raptors were panicking and playing sloppy. But the Bucks responded with a 15-3 run to cut Toronto's lead to 74-61 heading into a nail-biting final frame. "And the whole building is against you on the road".

Somehow amongst all those voices the message got through and a semblance of calm returned.

The Toronto Raptors got the three-day break they were hoping for. "We made it hard on ourselves with turnovers and not getting stops but I thought we kept fighting".

Furthermore, they were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round in 2014 and 2015 despite high expectations and one of the league's most dynamic backcourts in guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.

But here's the kicker: Antetokounmpo took just 10 three-pointers total in the six-game series.

Isaiah Thomas to play Game 2, then fly to sister's funeral
Derrick Favors, who had 15 points and six rebounds for the Jazz in Game 1 , is expected to replace Gobert in the starting lineup. The Bulls scored 32 points off Rondo's assists, the most points off assists by any Bulls player in franchise postseason history.

Game 6 felt like a seesaw, teetering back and forth for chunks of the contest.

This is where the Raptors will be judged, particularly after acquiring Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline precisely for added muscle, physicality, rim protection and defence in the playoffs. They took a 28-24 lead into the second. Toronto has to be able to take advantage of a Cavaliers defense that has shown multiple faces this season, with many of them being average at best. He played 47 minutes. The offensive ceiling for such a configuration is off the charts, in much the same way as Draymond Green-backed Death Lineups have slain opponents for three straight years and James-led spread looks have put up eye-popping efficiency numbers in Cleveland this season. "They played four games their first round, we played six, two extra games".

My third year coach Kidd coming in, we knew there was going to be some stability.

This possession originally looked like it was going to end with a DeRozan mid-range jumper, something that would constitute as a great shot for Toronto.

"But we had to do that to beat Milwaukee, we had to really go out there and fight and grind it out and I think we're going to have to take pieces of that series into this one".

Lowry also needs to be on his best game to help in late-game situations. That line of thinking doesn't account for just how imposing they were for long stretches (and a couple of entire games) in this series.

Finally, we get to discuss a bit about Jabari Parker and what his return to competitive basketball could/should entail. "We moved the ball, we passed, we shared". "Understanding he can't wait, he's got to go to score it, we've got to find a three, or he's got to shoot a three. If we come together out there on the floor no matter what happens, as long as we come together, we can compete with anybody".


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