Lopez’s massive 4th quarter rescues Bucks in Recreation 1

Three:07 AM ET

Malika AndrewsESPN

MILWAUKEE — Brook Lopez was pissed off. His early Three-pointer missed badly, his fadeaways had been clanking off the again rim and he was struggling to discover a rhythm inside the Bucks’ offense.

The 7-foot middle shook his head in disgust as Toronto raced out to a 34-23 first-quarter lead Wednesday night time. The Raptors, hoping to steal home-court benefit within the Jap Convention finals, stored their momentum rolling and managed the sport via three quarters.

However Recreation 1 turned on the Bucks’ robust fourth-quarter comeback, with Lopez hitting key pictures to seal the come-from-behind 108-100 win.

“We simply do not give up as a unit,” Lopez mentioned. “We preserve hounding, preserve hounding, preserve hounding and grinding, after which we lastly bought there. There isn’t any give up in our workforce. I do not suppose it is actually in our DNA in any respect.”

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All advised, Lopez scored 13 of his career-playoff-high 29 factors within the fourth quarter. He completed with 11 rebounds, two assists and 4 blocks. Lopez hadn’t scored a minimum of 29 factors in a sport since March 2018 and hadn’t grabbed a minimum of 11 rebounds since October 2017.

Down the stretch, Lopez was essential. He bought a layup. Then he buried his third Three-pointer of the fourth to present the Bucks a 104-100 lead with lower than two minutes remaining. He stood up Kawhi Leonard and stripped the Raptors ahead of the ball. Then with a bit greater than a minute remaining, Lopez claimed an extended defensive rebound to finish one other Toronto possession.

“That is the Brook everyone knows and love,” Bucks celebrity Giannis Antetokounmpo mentioned. “We simply need him to be aggressive, particularly on this sequence.”

With out Lopez’s late heroics, the Bucks simply may have dropped Recreation 1 for the second straight sequence. Toronto guard Kyle Lowry drained seven Three-pointers and scored 30 factors, and the Raptors had been the extra energetic workforce early, regardless of having much less relaxation time between sequence.

The Bucks suffered the sluggish begin they’d wished to keep away from. The Recreation 1 blowout loss at dwelling to the Boston Celtics within the convention semifinals weighed heavy on the minds of Milwaukee’s gamers — maybe turning into paralyzing on the outset.

Slowly however certainly, nevertheless, the Bucks lower the Raptors’ result in single digits, and the Fiserv Discussion board crowd rose in unison to holler approval. Lastly pulling shut within the fourth quarter, the Bucks lower Toronto’s result in 4, then two. Once more followers stood and screamed, solely to deflate as soon as the Raptors answered.

The comeback wasn’t all fairly. Khris Middleton plowed right into a Raptors defender, drawing an offensive foul that preceded a Lowry Three. On the following possession, Middleton dribbled the ball out of bounds. Regardless of these offensive hiccups, Middleton was important in Milwaukee’s defensive sport plan for Leonard, who scored solely two of his 31 factors within the fourth quarter.

“I believe we want video games like this, as a result of not each sport goes to be a blowout,” Antetokounmpo mentioned. “Not each sport goes to be straightforward. And I believe this sport positively made us higher.”

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