Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan dunks during the first half of Game 6 of an NBA first-round playoff series basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Milwaukee.
The Bucks consider themselves a team on the rise in the Eastern Conference, a belief no doubt reinforced by a furious 14-4 run late in the season that propelled them to sixth place in the East and solidified by a strong, though inconsistent, effort against Toronto in the playoffs.
Milwaukee was out of timeouts, so after DeMar DeRozan hit two free throws to push the lead back to three, the Bucks needed a three anyway, and they had to go the length of the floor to get it. He finished with 32 points on 50 percent shooting, grabbed four boards, dished out three dimes, and came up with five steals on the other end.
Thon Maker blocked a career-high five shots, the most blocks in a playoff game by a Buck since Joe Smith had five blocks against Detroit in the First Round of the playoffs in 2004.
It's been sixteen years since the Bucks have won a first-round series.More news: Death toll in Turkish raids on Syria Kurds hits 28: Monitor
Toronto, should it choose to, can take some small comfort from the fact that it found sanity at just the right time.
With the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors knocking off the feisty Memphis Grizzlies and Milwaukee Bucks at home, we're one step closer to leaving an entertaining and competitive first round behind us.
Jason Terry drilled a three on the Bucks' next possession to put the Bucks ahead, while the ear-splitting Bradley Center crowd roared. Still, the Bucks weren't backing down.
Down two with three minutes left, DeMar DeRozan's endless well of self-confidence got them a bucket. But then Tony Snell threw the ball away on the inbounds, ending the series and the Bucks' season.
Rebounding from a 2-1 series deficit and an embarrassing 27-point loss in Game 3, the Raptors will face Cleveland a year after losing to the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference finals in six games.More news: Women's golf: NMSU to play in ABQ Regional
Game 6: Wizards at Hawks, 4:30 p.m.
Ball movement was everything for the Raptors in their deciding Game 6 win. "We lost our composure a little bit".
"Our guys understand: it won't be from our guys overlooking Milwaukee".
The Raptors shot 45.7% from the field and 40.9% from long range, but the Bucks weren't far behind at 42.1% and 36.8%, respectively.
The second-seeded Cavaliers, meanwhile, have been off since sweeping No. 7 IN on Sunday. Toronto led by as many as 25 before falling apart in the fourth quarter. That led to 17 second-chance points.More news: Green Bay Packers: Positions of need for the team on Draft Day
Kyle Lowry has been the face of Toronto Raptors playoff failure these last few years, with his superb regular seasons inexplicably crumbling into no-shows, awful shooting nights and early postseason exits every time.