Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) is called for a defensive foul against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during second half action in Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference final in Milwaukee on Thursday, May 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) is called for a defensive foul against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during second half action in Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference final in Milwaukee on Thursday, May 23, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE — The Toronto Raptors are in uncharted territory. One win from the NBA Finals.

Kawhi Leonard scored 35 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to a thrilling 105-99 victory over Milwaukee on Thursday in the most important game in franchise history.

The Raptors can book their ticket to the finals with a win Saturday in Toronto.

It was Leonard’s 11th 30-plus performance for the Raptors, who took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals with their historic win. Never before has Toronto won three games in a conference final.

Three days after his girlfriend gave birth to their son, Fred VanVleet had seven three-pointers as part of a playoff career-high 21 points. Kyle Lowry, playing through what he called “pretty bad” pain with a sprained thumb, had 17 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Pascal Siakam had 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points to lead Bucks, who with 60 wins (two more than Toronto) had the best record in the league in the regular season. The Bucks hadn’t lost three straight games all season.

RELATED: Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

The Raptors stumbled out at the start, digging themselves an early 14-point hole with horrible shooting. But, thanks to their stifling defence, they clawed their way back to take their first lead late in the second quarter. The Bucks led 75-72 with one quarter to play.

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

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