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Toronto Raptors take East finals lead with Game 5 win over Milwaukee Bucks

By
Connor Grott
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard shoots in front of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo during Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard shoots in front of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo during Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

May 23 (UPI) -- The Toronto Raptors earned a 105-99 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night to take a 3-2 series lead, moving within one game of the NBA Finals.

The Raptors defeated the Bucks for the third consecutive game in the Eastern Conference finals. It marked the first time this season that the Bucks lost three in a row.

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The Raptors knocked down a franchise playoff-record 18 3-pointers on 43 attempts (41.9 percent) against the Bucks. Toronto superstar Kawhi Leonard fought through his leg ailment and paced the team with 35 points (11-of-25 shooting), nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals in 40 minutes.

"He gets stronger as the fourth [goes] on," Raptors head coach Nick Nurse told reporters. "He wants the ball and he wants to make the plays and he seems to be making the right play. It really gives the rest of the guys a lot of confidence when you got a guy playing like that."

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Kyle Lowry, playing through his thumb injury, recorded 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Reserve guard Fred VanVleet continued his postseason surge with 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting from 3-point range.

Raptors forward Pascal Siakam had a double-double with 14 points and 13 boards. Norman Powell added eight points and four rebounds off the bench.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, who appeared to tweak his ankle late in the fourth quarter but returned, led the Bucks with a team-high 24 points, six rebounds, six assists and two blocks. Malcolm Brogdon tallied 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

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Eric Bledsoe had a personal series-best 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting. He has struggled against the Raptors, shooting 30 percent or below in the first four games of the series.

Milwaukee center Brook Lopez registered 16 points and eight rebounds. Backup guard George Hill had 12 points and eight boards in 29 minutes.

Game 6 is Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

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