May 27, 2019
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Milwaukee Bucks rally to take Game 1 of East finals against Toronto Raptors

Milwaukee, USA, May 15 (efe-epa).- A fourth-quarter surge saw the Milwaukee Bucks seal an 108-100 win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.

Milwaukee were led by Brook Lopez, who scored a career NBA-playoff high of 29 points, including four three-pointers, 11 rebounds and four blocks in a dominant, all-round showing as the Bucks rallied to take the first game of the best-of-seven series.

The Bucks had trailed by 13 points during the first quarter, and were behind by eight at half time, as Toronto began looking much sharper than the home team.

Milwaukee’s slow start might have been explained by the week’s rest they enjoyed, whereas the Raptors’ semi-final series against the Philadelphia 76ers went the full seven games.

But the home team found its stride by the fourth quarter, which they began trailing by seven points. By the end of the game, they had turned that deficit on its head to win with an eight-point cushion.

“I think we did a great job of just sticking to what we’ve been doing," Lopez said. “Shots didn’t go in early, but we did a great job of grinding it out, we played great defense, and just stuck with it."

Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks’ leader and one of the league’s best all-round players, scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while Malcolm Brogdon and Nikola Mirotic added 15 and 13 points respectively.

“I always talk about our defense. The way the guys competed in the second half, and particularly the fourth quarter, stands out to me," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

“We feel like we can get better. To get this win after pretty significant days without playing, I think we’ll be better between now and Game 2," he added.

The Raptors, who were led by Kawhi Leonard’s 31 points, will be disappointed not to have capitalized on a golden opportunity to secure a coveted road win.

Kyle Lowry added 30 points from 10-of-15 field goal attempts, including seven out of nine three-point tries.

But Toronto did not have enough from the rest, with only Pascal Siakam putting up respectable numbers of 15 points and six rebounds. No other Raptors player broke the 10-point barrier.

“Fourth quarter killed us. They outplayed us, they got a little bit more aggressive, they made some big shots and plays. We had a chance, we have to learn from it, make an adjustment.”

Game 2 will be played at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee on Friday.

ks/tw

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