MILWAUKEE — As the ultimate seconds of the third quarter of Sport 1 of the Japanese Convention finals bled away, Toronto Raptors ahead Pascal Siakam introduced the ball upcourt. On the final second, and nonetheless a few steps behind the Three-point line, he rose up for a shot over the outstretched arm of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the ball softly dropped by way of the online because the buzzer sounded.
The basket gave the Raptors an 83-76 lead after three quarters and seemingly had them poised to steal home-court benefit from the top-seeded Bucks on this collection. As a substitute, it turned out to be the ultimate discipline aim that any Raptor not named Kyle Lowry would make Wednesday night time.
Quite than take an early lead within the collection, the Raptors as an alternative noticed the Bucks outscore them 32-17 within the last quarter, as Milwaukee emerged with a 108-100 victory in entrance of a sellout crowd right here at Fiserv Discussion board.
“Fairly irritating,” Lowry mentioned. “Fourth quarter killed us. … They outplayed us within the fourth quarter. They obtained somewhat bit extra aggressive. They made some large photographs, made some large performs.
“It sucks while you lose like that. However we had an opportunity. We have got to be taught from it, make an adjustment. [We have to] keep even-keeled … not too excessive, not too low. Simply take a look at the movie and get higher.”
The fourth-quarter movie will spotlight an unpleasant image. Lowry was incredible, going 5-for-7 from the ground and scoring 14 of his 30 factors within the last 12 minutes alone. The remainder of the Raptors, although, had been terrible. Toronto’s different seven gamers who noticed time within the fourth mixed to go Zero-for-15 from the ground, together with Zero-for-7 from Three-point vary, with the one different factors approaching free throws by Kawhi Leonard (two) and Siakam (one).
“Couple key turnovers,” Leonard mentioned after ending with 31 factors however going Zero-for-Three and solely scoring these two factors within the fourth. “Missed some straightforward layups, some wide-open 3s. And we did not play too nicely on protection. … They ended up scoring their highest quarter factors within the fourth quarter. [That] just about sums it up.”
Toronto noticed that preliminary lead coming into the fourth immediately evaporate within the opening two minutes whereas Leonard was on the bench. The Raptors had three open seems — a Norman Powell layup, a Fred VanVleet midrange jumper from the highest of the important thing after which a VanVleet Three-pointer from the wing — however none of them went in.
On the opposite finish, Milwaukee — which went a mixed 6-for-34 from Three-point vary by way of the primary three quarters — instantly obtained two straight 3s from Brook Lopez (who completed with a team-high 29 factors to go together with 11 rebounds and 4 blocks) and a pair of free throws from Nikola Mirotic to take its first lead since early within the first quarter.
And whereas the groups went forwards and backwards over the ultimate couple of minutes — thanks largely to Lowry’s heroics — after Leonard drained two free throws to make it 100-98 with Three:31 remaining, the Bucks scored the ultimate 10 factors to seal the victory. Toronto missed its last eight photographs over that span, together with 5 Three-pointers.
In distinction to the remainder of his Raptors teammates, Kyle Lowry was incredible within the fourth quarter Wednesday night time, going 5-for-7 from the ground and scoring 14 of his 30 factors within the last 12 minutes alone. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Photographs
Milwaukee managed the paint all through the sport, profitable factors within the paint (44-26), second-chance factors (24-13) and fast-break factors (25-15), whereas additionally turning Toronto’s 12 turnovers into 20 factors. In the meantime, the Raptors not named Leonard or Lowry completed a mixed 14-for-51 from the ground.
“It is gonna be an fascinating collection,” mentioned Siakam, who completed 6-for-20 from the sphere for 15 factors, “and we all know we had an opportunity to win tonight. We felt like we may’ve gotten this recreation, however clearly, we did not. And credit score to them, they got here again and took the sport from us.
“But it surely’s a protracted collection, and we have to bounce again and be higher subsequent recreation if we need to get out of right here with a win.”
Maybe some fatigue set in from Toronto’s survival from a grueling seven-game collection with the Philadelphia 76ers within the Japanese Convention semifinals, a collection the Raptors received because of Leonard’s unbelievable buzzer-beater Sunday night. The Bucks, however, completed off the Boston Celtics in 5 video games and had per week to relaxation and put together at dwelling for this recreation, and Milwaukee actually seemed just like the more energizing crew down the stretch.
From Toronto’s standpoint, although, the why of how this recreation performed out the best way it did finally was irrelevant. An opportunity to take management of this collection proper off the bat had been wasted. Now, the Raptors don’t have any alternative however to attempt to discover a method to put themselves in an identical place when these groups meet once more right here Friday night time in Sport 2 of this best-of-seven affair.
“Every one among these video games is crucial,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse mentioned. “I believed we performed robust tonight, a tricky model of basketball, for essentially the most half.
“We gave ourselves an opportunity to win a recreation on the street within the Japanese Convention finals. It did not prove, and we put in numerous work, however you are going to file that one away and put in additional work the following time.”
“We gotta get some relaxation right here tonight, focus in on our movie, determine some changes, construct up some confidence,” Nurse added. “However then once more, as soon as it will get able to go up for Sport 2, we now have to be robust.”