Milwaukee Bucks record second straight victory over Toronto Raptors

Malcolm Brogdon made two three-pointers late in the fourth quarter, including the one for the go-ahead bucket with 40.7 seconds remaining, as the visiting Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Toronto Raptors 104-99 on Sunday.

Brogdon, who finished with 18 points, tied the game at 97 with just over a minute remaining. Before draining another shot from deep on the Bucks’ next possession.

Milwaukee (17-8) have now defeated the Raptors (21-7) twice this season. Therefore closing the gap at the top of the Eastern Conference to 2.5 games.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 19 points and grabbed 19 rebounds for the Bucks. Brook Lopez also had 19 points, while Khris Middleton and Tony Snell scored 10 each.

Serge Ibaka led the Raptors with 22 points as Kawhi Leonard had a relatively quiet night with 20 points on 8-18 shooting from the field. Fred VanVleet scored 19. Pascal Siakam added 17 for the Raptors, who have lost two in a row.

Kyle Lowry did not score a point for the Raptors for the first time since March 17, 2013, against the Miami Heat. However, he did produce seven assists.

The Raptors had hoped to gain a leg up on what could be an Eastern Conference post-season opponent. Particularly after suffering their first loss of the season to the Bucks, 124-109 on Oct. 29 in Milwaukee. Neither Leonard (rest) nor Antetokounmpo (concussion protocol) played that night.

But it was the Bucks who led for much of the night. Taking a 79-74 advantage into the fourth quarter, and stretching it to 11 points less than 90 seconds later.

But when Ibaka drilled a three-pointer with 5:18 to play — then raised his arms to the fans, signalling them to cheer — it pulled the Raptors to within three points.

A three-pointer from VanVleet. Then one from Leonard that bounced off the far side of the rim before falling through the hoop sent the Raptors into the edge-of-your-seat final two minutes with a 97-94 lead.

Malcolm Brogdon quieted the crowd with back-to-back threes to give the Bucks a three-point lead. A VanVleet basket made it a one-point game. But Antetokounmpo drove to the hoop for a dunk with 12 seconds to play that sealed the Bucks’ victory.

“To go on the road and play the top team in our conference and have it go down to the wire and find a way to win is a great win for the team,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer.

Lowry is in the midst of a rough stretch. Coming into the night shooting a woeful 8-for-37 in four previous appearances. It was more of the same Sunday.

Do his teammates feel more pressure shouldering the scoring load?

“I don’t know if it puts the pressure on them to play perfectly,” coach Nick Nurse said. “We didn’t get anything out of (Lowry) offensively, again. I thought he played a pretty tough game and did some good things. I think we got a lot of really good offence tonight.”

Most of Lowry’s shots during this stretch have been from behind the arc. All five of his shots Sunday were three-point attempts.

“I think we need some of his paint touches,” Nurse said. “He’s driven in there and kicked it out to some open guys a lot because they’re really giving him a lot of attention. But somehow, we have to get him to bulldoze his way in there and get to the rim and get so me paint shots or at the rim shots.”

Lowry agreed.

“Yeah, I’ve got to,” he said. “I was thinking about that tonight, and I just didn’t get an opportunity, or just didn’t do it, rather. I’ve got to be a little bit more inside the paint, inside the arc. I definitely do.”

The Raptors still own the best record in the league at 21-7, but they suffered a second straight defeat after falling 106-105 to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

Peace,

Burke

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