BY winning Game 5 on May 24, 2019, Toronto has suddenly snatched a solid shot at barging into the NBA Finals.
And by dropping that 105-99 decision to the Raptors on their own homecourt, the Milwaukee Bucks might have signed their own death sentence.
Almost instantly, role reversals had marred the synopsis.
The rampaging Raptors, the undisputed underdogs in the Eastern Finals against the heavily favored Bucks, now enjoy the luxury of having two chances to enter the title playoffs against the Warriors.
Toronto takes the first crack on Sunday (May 26 PHL time), needing to inflict on Milwaukee a painful fourth straight defeat for a gargantuan 4-2 Eastern Conference triumph.
A certified rarity should it happen.
When and where was the last time you saw a team win four games in a row and emerge champion?
Right here at home.
Didn’t San Miguel Beer do it, beating Alaska four straight times to miraculously convert a 0-3 deficit into a 4-3 victory in the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup?
Can Toronto also do the same to Milwaukee, the top seed after bumping out defending champion Golden State as regular season topnotcher this year?
I think so. With momentum grabbed back, plus the coveted homecourt edge secured in Toronto, the recalcitrant Raptors might just do it in Game 6.
But to achieve the near-impossible, the Raptors must not only own, wholly, the script of Sunday’s Suspense Theater. They must first write it. Collectively.
And next Nick Nurse should be given a free hand to direct it in the “Godfather” tradition, allowing Kawhi Leonard to do his Al Pacino thing as much as he pleases: Cool but courageous, persistent but precise, deliriously deadly.
Always a threat, of course. That’s why he is an MVP material almost beyond compare.
And if this seven-foot bugger from Greece isn’t contained a fourth time, then a Sunday tragedy may befall the Raptors.
Bottomline: A blunted “Pyrrhic victory” for Toronto in Game 6 could prove disastrous as a Game 7 in Milwaukee might mean a Buck ball in the end.
Ambivalent, am I?