The Eastern Conference Finals are set. The Milwaukee Bucks will be hosting the Toronto Raptors for two games before the series shifts back to Canada for the next two games. Games 5-7 will be played if necessary. Milwaukee is having a really good season. They finished with 60 wins, and just 8 home losses. In the playoffs, they swept the first round against the Pistons, and they won 4 in a row against the Celtics after dropping game 1 of that series. The Raptors also put together a solid season. They finished 2nd in the East, just 2 games behind the Bucks, so it is fitting that the top 2 teams will play each other to determine the conference champ. What a great game yesterday between the Raptors and 76ers to get to this point.
Toronto dominated game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead, but lost game 6 in Philly. Game 7 was back in Toronto, and it was a close game throughout. Toronto lead by 5 after the 1st quarter, and 4 by halftime. Philly cut it to just a 3 point lead after three quarters, and ending up losing by 2 points. The Raptors looked like they wrapped up the game late in the 4th, but Kawhi Leonard, who finished with 41 points and seemed like he was the only Raptor scoring in the 4th quarter, hit what looked like a 3, but it was later called back to a 2 pointer. Slowly but surely, Philadelphia chipped away at the lead, and Jimmy Butler ended up tying the game at 90 with about 4 seconds left. No surprise that the ensuing inbound pass would end up in Leonard's hands. He pulled up and released his shot just before the buzzer; a high arcing shot that clanked off the short end of the rim.
So the game was seemingly going into overtime, but it then bounced off the far end of the rim, then the short side again, and yet a 4th time. The arena was so quiet with anticipation you could hear each clang. Eventually, several seconds after the release of the shot, the ball somehow found its way through the hoop, and the Toronto Raptors won the game 92-90, and earned the trip to the Eastern Finals. Believe it or not, it was the first winning buzzer-beater shot in a game 7 in NBA history. Toronto lost 3 of 4 against Milwaukee in the regular season, and thus open game one as 6.5 point underdogs, and +230 with the money line. The over/under is 218 points for game one. The winner of this series will take on the West's winner between top seeded Golden State and 3rd seed Portland Trailblazers.