Title: The 26-3 run that sent the Raptors to the NBA Finals
Date: May 25, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the epic Raptors comeback that secured them their first trip to the NBA Finals.
This moment was everything, and the Raptors knew it.
After getting down by 15 to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first half, the Raptors had managed to chip the lead back down to three. The last minute of the half was a minor disaster, allowing the Bucks to begin their pull-ahead in earnest for a second time. They smelled blood, and with 138 seconds left in the third quarter, the lead was back to 15.
There were no false ideas about what was hanging in the balance. The series was already somewhat miraculous for the Raptors, having erased a 2-0 series deficit with three consecutive wins, something the Bucks hadn’t suffered all year. The track record of teams coming back from down two games is difficult enough. Dropping a Game 6 at home would have made for even more dire stakes with a Game 7 back in Milwaukee. Teams come back from down 15 with 14 minutes to play just seven percent of the time. And teams going on the road after dropping Game 6 at home are 5-16 all-time. Somehow, seven percent felt more attainable than 24 percent, but it had to be now.
The next 7:32 of play will live on in Raptors history forever. The Raptors won those minutes 26-3, creating an eight-point lead, a hold on the game they would not relinquish.