The Milwaukee Bucks used a fourth quarter run to roar back into Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night before holding on for a 108-100 win over the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors were fresh off of their miracle Game 7 win over Philadelphia on Sunday during which Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard hit one of the greatest buzzer beaters in NBA history. From the opening tip, Toronto controlled the tempo and used a 16-0 run to take command of the game early. Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard were on fire with Leonard scoring 31 points and Lowry 30.
Entering the fourth quarter, Toronto held on to an 83-76 lead but began to unravel when the Bucks stepped up their defense. Bucks center Brook Lopez scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and hit a number of key shots during the Bucks’ fourth quarter surge.
With Malcolm Brogden and Khris Middleton harassing him and Toronto coach Nick Nurse being unable to find time to rest him, Kawhi Leonard began to fade midway through the fourth quarter. Leonard had only 2 points in the quarter and the Raptors failed to score for the final three minutes of the game.
The Bucks finished the game on a 10-0 run with Fiserv Forum becoming delirious. The Bucks are 3 wins away from advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974.
”I think it speaks a little bit to the character of the group,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. ”They just stick with it. I think it’s become a little bit of a theme in the playoffs: I think eventually, hopefully, we feel like if we stick with what we’re doing good things will happen for us.”