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Raptors vs. Bucks, Game 6: Just close it out

The Raptors have the chance to do something they've never done in franchise history: win a series in less than the maximum required number of games.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

It really is wild when you think about it. The Raptors have won three playoff series in franchise history -- 2001 vs. the Knicks, 2016 vs. the Pacers, and then the Heat. That's it. That's the whole list. When you consider that this is the 22nd year of the franchise, the winning percentage math here is not great. But that's not the wild part.

Now, the usual caveat applies: beggars can't be choosers. Raptors fans have long been so starved for playoff wins that we'll take'em any which way we can get them. If it means a clunky, thoroughly stressful series against some lesser foe, or a late Alvin Williams jump shot, or a miracle comeback, we'll take it. And if it happens to go the maximum seven (or, once upon a time, five games), so be it. A win is a win, even with a bunch of losses mixed in there. This is how every single playoff series win -- all three of them -- has gone for the Raptors. Wild.

We arrive now at tonight's Game 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Raptors have a chance to close out a series they've been heavily predicted to win. It would mean continuing a three-game win streak in which Toronto has looked better and better. There is a fascinating mix of emotions at work right now.

On the one hand, the Raptors should definitely win this game. I've written this a million times now. And said it out loud even more. They have solved the Bucks. Period.

On the other hand, The Raptors could definitely lose this game. I've felt this a million times now. And watched it happen again and again. Our expectations are for nothing, or sense of the future an impossible joke. We know nothing.

The facts: the Raptors are whole -- Kyle Lowry says not to worry about his back -- and the Bucks are healthy -- Khris Middleton's sore throat has surely cleared up by now. The relentless Giannis Antetokounmpo is coming. And yes, the Bucks could theoretically try out some wrinkles (Start Greg Monroe! Play Giannis at centre! Throw him at Lowry!) on the Raptors. We know all of this by now, 30 minutes from tip-off.

So let's just read Dan Grant's preview and prepare. Forget the past, don't look yet into the future. The present is right here.

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