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Kawhi Leonard's brilliance has Raptors one win away from NBA Finals

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24.05.2019

MILWAUKEE – These chances don’t come around often. For just the second time in 24 years the Toronto Raptors were in position to take control of an Eastern Conference Finals, to pave their way to the NBA Finals.

The last time they made it this point back in 2016 they didn’t have Kawhi Leonard on their roster and they never made it farther.

It turns out having a difference maker really makes a difference.

Leonard scored 15 of his game-high 35 points in the fourth quarter as he dragged the Raptors over the finish line in Game 5. Toronto now has a commanding 3-2 lead in the best of seven series with a chance to close it out on Saturday in Toronto.

The 105-99 win was in doubt until the final moments but in addition to Leonard’s spark Toronto got some luck with two key calls in the final minute being turned over in their favour upon replay review. One was a 24-second violation that was cancelled and put Marc Gasol on the line where he made a free throw. The other was a sidelines out-of-bounds that gave Toronto the ball with 26 seconds left up three.

So much for your NBA officiating conspiracies.

The Raptors came within a whisker of turning it over on the inbounds after the review but in the scramble Pascal Siakam was freed for a clear dunk, putting Toronto up five with 16 seconds left and silencing what was a deafening roar at Fiserv Forum.

It was one of the most balanced performances Leonard has had in what has been an almost exclusively brilliant post-season run.

Through three quarters he was leading the Raptors in scoring, being an obvious factor on defence and had six fouls against only one turnover as he used the attention he was getting to move the ball sharply to open teammates — no one took greater advantage........

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