TORONTO – There is very little to Kawhi Leonard who is screaming "mindfulness guru," but when the Toronto Raptors gathered in the second half during the team's big 26-3 run during a break, he told his teammate "Enjoy the moment, stay here, stay together, we're good," said Norman Powell, the Raptors' guard.
The Raptors have enjoyed the moment, have stayed together and we're so good at a 15-point deficit late in the third quarter in less than four minutes of playtime. This explosive boost was the most consistent expansion of basketball in this NBA postseason, giving Toronto a 100-94 victory over Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final on Saturday night and the first appearance of the NBA final in the history of the Raptors.
"For those moments, you play basketball," Powell said. "The only thing Kawhi really emphasized for us was to just enjoy it, do not leave the character, just enjoy the moment and go ahead and just put it on the floor, it was an amazing feeling just to enjoy it." to be able to fight and break away from it.
"How to write history."
The 26-3 increase took less than eight minutes, but it was an action-suspense movie. The sequence corresponded to the postseason of a raptor's run, which was highlighted by Leonard's dominance, but in recent days has also been supplemented by timely contributions from many of the supporting actors who have weathered cold spells.
The first leg was completed in the third quarter with just over two minutes remaining time and the Raptors caster 76-61 – it was an exhibit of Leonard's jagged dominance. Toronto tore off The last 10 points of the quarter, eight of which Leonard, the other assisted by him – a short shot from Serge Ibaka.
These were not the most elaborate eight points by Leonard at night. – An uncomfortable passage in traffic, a 21-foot jumper who turned away from a pick-and-roll, and four free throws. But it was the kind of heavy manufacturing that the Raptors desperately needed to stay near Milwaukee when the game entered the fourth quarter. During this time, Leonard was also able to fend off four Raptors Misses defense rebounds and collect one of his own free-throw misses. With Leonard's individual heroics, a 15-point deficit has now been reduced to five, the fourth.
"He's been here before," said Raptor's guard and longtime Leonard team-mate Danny Green. "He feels very comfortable in such situations, when the bright lights get brighter, his game goes up and he knows how important it is, he makes the big games, whether they are shots or rebounds."
Leonard For the fourth quarter, a quick blow was planned that set the Raptors ahead of one of their toughest posts in the postseason: they should keep their momentum without the player who drove him forward. When Kyle Lowry returned to the lineup with Powell, Ibaka, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, the Raptors lit the unlikely 3½ minutes of their postseason. It started with VanVleet, who slid into the track after a good stacking game and shortened the lead to three points.
"When [Leonard] is on the ground, we all shift a little bit to what he wants to do," VanVleet said. "So you have to take a little bit more initiative in making the game."
For a majority of the playoffs, VanVleet's revival last week – a stretch that coincided with the birth of his first child – had been a slapstick to the Raptors' reversal in the conference finale. These battles were one of the reasons why Milwaukee's service depth seemed to favor dramatically in the series. But the towering game of VanVleet and Powell in recent days had reversed the script for Toronto, with the big hit in Game 6 another ad. With Lowry, a teammate he sees as a mentor and older brother, VanVleet took control of the potentially fateful six possessions of the season, without Leonard.
The Raptors achieved four of these possessions, without Leonard, to take the lead. As is so often the case, when the Raptors are in play but Leonard is not on the ground, the ball has jumped for the Raptors. VanVleet and Siakam attacked Milwaukee with a pick-and-roll, and Lowry advanced at the perimeter in the VanVleet-cleared area. As soon as the kickout hit Lowry, he quickly made a pass to Powell, who was open in the corner when the ball hit the bucks.
The Raptors tied the point down on the next ride as Lowry hurled a nice ball pass on Ibaka sneaking behind a collapsing Milwaukee defense. Then, the Raptors grabbed their first lead since the first minute with another VanVleet Siakam pick-and-roll that gave Siakam a silky swimmer.
VanVleet said. "As a player, you are aware of that – not to the point where decisions are affected, but you want to feel the momentum of the game – it was great to get you going and get offensive momentum." "
When Leonard returned to the game, the result was a good move – a five-point deficit earlier in the quarter had turned into a two-point lead, Leonard had rested and on his return, the Raptors held theirs Keeping pace to the delight of a reaming crowd at the Scotiabank Arena, Toronto scored seven of the next nine points in the game, including a 3-pointer backwards move from VanVleet and the Tour de Force – a sustained break-in by Leonard in a break from one Lowry was freed by a well-worn shuttle pass for him.
Kyle Lowry passes the ball to Kawhi Leonard, who throws a thundering jam over Giannis' antetoken bang.
"It was kind Swap, "said Lowry," We were on a run somehow and why do not we feed the big dog. Let the big dog eat. I'll always look for the guy I know can handle the best. That's exactly what he did. "
A dynamic run like the one the Raptors experienced on Saturday night, almost by definition, must be powered by defensive stops as well as offensive hits, and there was one for every 3-pointer and transition bucket It was Siakam who moved to Eric Bledsoe and caused a runaway run-off towards the end of the third quarter, or a brilliant sequence after sales in the early fourth quarter in which the Raptors entered A Thousand Dozen Milwaukee Actions Blunted A property that led to desperation when Hill shot the alarm clock and the Raptors set up a defensive clinic during the run.
"Our communication, our scheme, our switching, our lightning, our rotations 'Fencing shots, all these things have grown here since the playoffs began,' said Raptors coach Nick Nurse The thing is, there are some moments, like tracks – we call them consecutive stops – and there are some tracks where it's damn hard to complete a pass against us. It becomes a team after a while when you get up in it and you deny, and everyone is so connected and playing so hard.
The bucks were worn out as the Raptors held the lead until the last horn sounded and confetti fell in. A Toronto team that was completely dependent on Leonard, he and he managed during a historic run that took place in the Time capsule of the franchise will occupy an outstanding place.