Kawhi Leonard stuffs stat sheet as Toronto Raptors defeat Milwaukee Bucks

Kawhi Leonard finished with 30 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals as the visiting Toronto Raptors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 123-116 on Saturday night.

Pascal Siakam added a career-best 30 points for the Raptors. Who were coming off a disappointing 125-107 loss to the Spurs.

Serge Ibaka added 25 points and nine rebounds. Fred VanVleet chipped in with 21 points, and Danny Green finished with 12 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors. They defeated the Bucks for the first time in three meetings this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 43 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Bucks, who had won five in a row and six straight at home.

Malcolm Brogdon added 15 points. Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe scored 14 each. While, George Hill and Sterling Brown had 11 apiece for Milwaukee.

The Raptors took a nine-point lead into the fourth quarter. But the Bucks quickly reduced that to two on Middleton’s lay-up with 10:45 left in the game, and again on Hill’s 16-foot jumper with 9:28 to play.

Antetokounmpo made a three-pointer to give the Bucks a 96-95 lead with 8:12 to play. Green responded for Toronto with a three-pointer 28 seconds later.

Siakam’s three-pointer capped a 15-2 run that gave Toronto a 12-point advantage with 5:12 to play and the Raptors held on for the win.

The Bucks led 34-27 after the first quarter.

With Antetokounmpo scoring 18 points and grabbing nine rebounds, the Bucks led 57-56 at the half. Despite a closing 7-0 run by the Raptors.

The Bucks had been ahead by as many as 10 in the second quarter. Leonard had 17 first-half points.

The Raptors also scored the first seven points of the third quarter to lead 61-57 and pulled ahead by 12 points when Siakam hit a 29-foot three-pointer with 5:41 to play in the session.

Siakam’s 5ft bank shot had the Raptors leading 82-69 with 3:45 to play in the quarter. But that lead was reduced to four on Hill’s three-pointer with 2:10 left in the third.

The Raptors finished the third quarter with an 8-3 run and led 91-82.

Antetokounmpo’s dunk chopped the lead to seven with 2:53 left in the game but the Bucks would get no closer.

Nurse could at least take comfort in knowing his team could follow through on a game plan and rise to the occasion. Something missing of late. Particularly in Toronto’s ugly loss at San Antonio on Thursday.

He’ll be even happier when he looks back at this one as Toronto gutted out a 123-115 win over the Bucks at the Fiserv Forum. In a game that it easily could have squandered or had snatched away by a Milwaukee team (27-11) that came in having won nine of its last 10. The opposite trajectory of the middling Raptors of late, in other words.

“That’s a good two-game lesson,” said Nurse. “One game – tonight –we executed everything in our game plan defensively. And one game [in the Raptors’ 18-point loss to the Spurs] we didn’t execute any of it.

“We also played with some juice and physicality. That’s the way we need to play if you want to be a serious contender.”

Peace,

Burke

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