Raptors, Spurs advance to second round of National Basketball Association playoffs

Rufina Vignone
Mag 1, 2017

The Cavaliers made history last week by overcoming a 25-point halftime lead to stun the Pacers; Toronto appeared on the verge of blowing a 24-point lead in the final 15 minutes.

The Bucks were socked in the kisser by the Toronto Raptors, 92-89, and eliminated from the playoffs in Game 6. Luckily, they were able to get back on their feet and find a way to win.

P.J. Tucker saw a new side of the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 and he's excited about what it can mean heading into a Round 2 series with the defending National Basketball Association champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

“Ball movement is going to be huge, ” coach Dwane Casey said on Sunday afternoon at the Raptors practice facility, before the team flew to Cleveland.

The team didn't give a timetable for Noah's recovery, but Coach Jeff Hornacek said late in the season that if Noah had the operation, the recovery time could be five months.

The Grizzlies got 26 points from Mike Conley - his fifth consecutive game with 20 or more - and 18 from Marc Gasol. From that point, Toronto went on a 9-0 run to reclaim the momentum they had lost.

The Cavs were 3-1 vs. the Raptors this season - and thus earned the tiebreaker as Toronto finished with the same 51-31 record - and the loss was the regular-season finale that meant nothing. With 34 seconds left, Joseph made two foul shots to ice the game.

Memphis was up by as many as 10 points in the third quarter, but San Antonio used a 13-3 run to help take a 75-74 lead into the final period. Tony Snell's inbounds pass was stolen to end the series. It's not like the Bucks eviscerated the Raptors with offense during their comeback; it was achieved through a rediscovery of the defensive execution they found at earlier points in the series.

After a Jason Terry 3-pointer put the Bucks up 80-78 - their first lead since the first quarter - with 3:06 left, it seemed like their night, and the Raptors, astonished and tired, appeared to be beaten.

"I was extremely exhausted, but I was just motivated by my teammates and the fans, the crowd", Antetokounmpo said. 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 knew they would make it hard and we just had to sustain. DeRozan was 7 of 13 for a game-high 16 points in the first half. "As a matter of fact I think we're better with our backs against the wall". Khris Middleton fought through an illness that bothered him all week to score 19 points. "I know what we have in that locker room, and that's some fighters and scrappers".

Kyle Lowry is still a big question mark; he finished with 13 points and four assists in 44 minutes.

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