As it happens more often than not, especially recently in the East, the top two seeds of the Conference battle it out in the Conference Finals for a spot in the NBA Finals. In the 2019 Playoffs, those two teams were the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks, that had won 60 games, and the second-seeded Toronto Raptors, that had 58 wins to their name.
Both teams experienced contrasting runs leading upto this bout
The Raptors had won their first-round series in five games against the Orlando Magic but were coming off a grueling and competitive seven-game series against the Philadelphia 76ers where they needed a game-winning buzzer-beater by Kawhi Leonard in Game 7 to advance.
On the other hand, the Bucks cruised through the first two rounds, only dropping one game - Game 1 against the Boston Celtics.
While the visiting Raptors were playing only after a couple of days off, the Bucks were playing after nearly a week's rest and it showed early on in Game 1 of the Conference Finals. In the first quarter, the Raptors held their biggest lead of 13 and maintained a lead of around seven for a majority of the first three-quarters of this game.
However, the fourth quarter was a different story.
The Bucks, fueled by Brook Lopez, outscored the Raptors 32-17 in the final period and clinched the game on the back of a 10-0 run. Lopez scored 13 of his playoff career-high 29 points in the fourth and the hosts forced the Raptors to miss their final eight shots to win Game 1 108-100.
At the final horn, Giannis Antetokounmpo was the team's biggest contributor with 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, three blocks, and two steals in 37 minutes. For the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard (31) and Kyle Lowry (30) combined for 61 points.
Watch the game below:
The Bucks would go on to win Game 2 comfortably - by 22 points (125-103). In Game 3, double-overtime was required for the Raptors to finish out on top and that sparked a turn in the series. The Toronto franchise then won the next three games to eliminate the Bucks and advance to their first-ever NBA Finals.
In the 2019 NBA Finals, the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games and Kawhi Leonard was named Finals MVP.
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