Kyle Lowry scored 22 points, including the clinching basket with less than 10 seconds to play, and the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 106-100 Tuesday night, evening their first-round playoff series at 1-1.
"It sounds like a yearly song we sing but we're going to go as (Lowry) and DeMar (DeRozan) go and he's got to be aggressive no matter what the defense is doing", Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "He's a competitor. He's a fighter and I just knew he wouldn't be satisfied the way he played the first game".
Game 3 is Thursday night in Milwaukee. Lowry, who had four points in Game 1, led all first-half scorers with 17 points. Offensively, Toronto need to do a better job moving the ball and creating mismatches.
Their momentum continued into the second quarter, and a running jumper from Tucker capped a 12-2 Raptors run and gave Toronto a nine-point lead. "My teammates challenged me. and I got to the free-throw line nine times". But the 11 shot attempts is the more telling statistic because Lowry simply couldn't get to his spots without being harassed by the always extending arms from Milwaukee. On the other possession, the Celtics weren't even able to get a shot off, and the Bulls' forced a shot-clock turnover.
"It would have been easy to let go of the rope", Bucks coach Jason Kidd said.
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While they couldn't snatch a second win away from home, Antetokounmpo said the Bucks had still managed to achieve something important.
Casey said after the game that fans can expect to see Norm Powell in the series before all is said and done as well. Lowry did not come out forcing shots - he acted as mostly a facilitator in the first quarter, hitting two free throws and making his first three-point attempt of the game to calm the nerves of the home crowd. Letting the Bucks feel empowered by their defensive prowess would only build on the momentum they have after a statement Game 1. "We've got to get those guys off the 3".
Ibaka is not a player who sits out a game, particularly a playoff game, with anything less than a serious injury and his sprained ankle was not serious enough to keep him out. They needed the tenacious defence of P.J. Tucker, the trio of three-pointers that Cory Joseph made, and a 10-point, 10-rebound night from Jonas Valanciunas, because the Bucks were not going to go quietly.
Back-to-back great looks from distance, wide-open looks, wouldn't drop for Milwaukee as Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova couldn't drain their shots. "(DeRozan) drives to the basket or (Lowry) drives to the basket and now it's five on four or one on two or three.
The combined wingspan of the Bucks' starting lineup of Brogdon+Middleton+Snell+Giannis+Maker is 35 feet and one half inch.
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In Game 2, Toronto's bristly point guard fired back at the narratives and growing piles of empirical evidence that paint his playoff worthiness in an unfavourable light.
Antetokounmpo, 22, will be looking to once again put his stamp on the Bucks' series against Toronto in their Game 2 showdown, one of three National Basketball Association playoffs games tonight that feature lower seeds trying to take 2-0 series leads.
Bucks: Antetokounmpo missed six of his first eight field goal attempts. "We need all five men or four men back to guard (Antetokounmpo), and out of that make sure we are in scramble mode and have our scramble rotation in and we didn't do a good job of that".
Dwyane Wade had 22 points, including 16 in the second half, and Robin Lopez added 18 points and eight points. The Clippers do have the resident talent, so this one is by no means over, though, their problematic history is going to have the criticism dial cranked up to 10 if they lose this game.
After a better start by the Celtics, a familiar theme started to take hold as the Bulls took control by again dominating on the offensive glass.
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The Bulls simply out-rebounded the Celtics in Game 1 and Jimmy Butler put in a virtuoso appearance that helped the Bulls steal a game.