The Milwaukee Bucks demolished Toronto Raptors in the fourth quarter to take a 1-0 lead in the East finals. Mike Budenholzer’s guys smashed the Raptors with 32-17 in that sequence and practically stole the game from their hands.
It was 108-100 in the end, for the home side, who was behind throughout the entire game.
“We just don’t quit as a unit,” Brook Lopez, one of the heroes of this win, said. “There’s no quit in our team. I don’t think it’s really in our DNA at all.”
The Bucks opened the game slowly and allowed the guests to take the command on the floor, not being able to adjust to the rhythm and the pace of the Raptors. A 13-0 run the guests made in the first period, pulled them away to a safe double-digit distance, which was kept for a long time.
At one moment of the first, Toronto was up 26-13. Milwaukee was near in the late second and early third, when they even trimmed the deficit to only one bucket, 63-62. The Raptors had another burst, during which they dropped 9 straight points and once again run away to a 10-point lead.
Entering the final sequence things didn’t look bright for Giannis and the company. They were down 83-76 and were looking rather slow, without their usual explosiveness.
But everything changed then. Bucks limited the guests to 17 points, forced them to shoot 5 of 22 from the field, and shut down Kawhi Leonard who had just two points in that quarter.
“Fourth quarter killed us. … They outplayed us in the fourth quarter,” Kyle Lowry stated after the match. Toronto’s point guard was the only bright spot of the guests in that period, shooting 5 of 7 from the field, scoring all the guests’ points from the game.
The other players who were on the floor in those 12 minutes went 0 for 15. The leading star of the Raptors, Leonard, was unable to breathe without having one of the hosts near him.
Going to be interesting to see how the Bucks handle Kawhi post-ups going forward. Look at the space Kawhi sees going 1v1 against Middleton. Siakam is the guy you usually help off of but he's on the weakside wing. Kawhi able to attack and draw a foul. pic.twitter.com/7oyppSgjNc
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) May 16, 2019
“Guys did a great job jus sending him left. He tries to go right and get to his spot to rise up or go all the way. Guys like Brook or Nikola did a great job just being out there behind and just show him the body.” said Giannis, and added, “We made him feel us the whole game.”
On the other side, Milwaukee was unstoppable. They were dominant in the air, grabbing 20 boards opposing to only 10 of the guests. Bucks were excellent from the field, 9 of 18, and missed just one of their 10 free throws.
The guy who changed the course of this game was Brook Lopez. Not only did the 7-foot center have a team-high in points, but was also the one who delivered fatal blows to the guests from Canada.
With the Raptors being ahead one point, 100-99, Lopez dunked to give the Bucks a lead, and after that sunk a three-pointer to kill the morale of the Raptors. He had 13 points in the last period.
“I’m just so thankful at the group, teammates for supporting me 100%, regardless if its (shots) going in or out, they just want me to keep going out there and do my job,” Lopez said.
Milwaukee’s center had 29 points and 11 boards, Shooting 12 for 21 from the field. Giannis and Khris Middleton also had double-doubles. The Greek Freak added 24 points, 14 boards and 6 dimes, while Bucks’ other All-Star had 11 points and rebounds each.
Especially good performance was Malcolm Brogdon’s. Not only did the former Rookie of the Year scored 15 points, but he often guarded Kawhi Leonard. And to be honest, he did it quite well.
Among the Raptors. Kawhi ended the night with 31 points and 9 rebounds. Kyle Lowry played his best game in the playoffs with 30 points, hitting 7 shots from deep in 9 attempts. Pascal Siakam didn’t have a good night, scoring 15 points, but missing 14 of his 20 field goal attempts.
Game 2 is on this Friday in Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write, read, and bet on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a betting tips writer at WagerBop.