The Milwaukee Bucks struck the first blow in the Eastern Conference finals, coming from behind to knock off the Toronto Raptors 108-100 in the series opener at Fiserv Forum.
Brook Lopez fueled a 32-17 fourth-quarter rally by the Bucks, scoring 13 of his career playoff best 29 points in the final period.
Giannis Antetokounmpo added 24 points, 14 rebounds and six assists and Malcolm Brogdon scored 15 points off the bench to lead the Bucks.
The Raptors led 83-76 after three quarters and looked like they were about to steal the series opener in Milwaukee, but they went cold in the final quarter.
Kawhi Leonard had 31 points and Kyle Lowry added 30, but Lowry is the only Raptors player that had any success in the fourth quarter at all. He scored 14 of his 30 in the final period, hitting 5 of 7 shots from the field. The other seven Toronto players that played in the quarter, combined to go 0-for-15 from the field, including 0-for-7 from 3-point range.
Leonard had just two points in the fourth quarter, both coming at the free throw line.
The Raptors not named Leonard or Lowry finished a combined 14-for-51 from the floor for the game.
It was clear as the game wore on that the Bucks depth was a huge advantage, not to mention a full week off compared to Toronto, which needed a full seven games to take care of Philadelphia. That series didn’t finish until Sunday.
Neither team shot well, 39% from the field for the Bucks to 37% for the Raptors. Toronto made 35% of their three-point attempts, while the Bucks hit just 25%. But the Bucks won the battle of points in the paint 44-26, second-chance points 24-13 and fast-break points 25-15.
Defensively, the Bucks blocked eight shots and changed countless others, which had a big effect on the Raptors shooting numbers.
It was a game that Toronto had a chance to win and they didn’t. The Bucks now will try to go up 2-0 in the series when they host game two on Friday night.