Whew! Raptors blow 25-point lead, but beat Bucks 92-89

Posted May 04, 2017

The Raptors move on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, a series that starts Monday. "At the end of the day, I loved our resiliency".

It's hard to make too much of anything from the season series between these two teams.

In Toronto's first-round series with the Milwaukee Bucks, it was a 25-point Game 3 blowout loss that led to a switch up in the starting five.

Spurs centre Pau Gasol missed all six shots he took and turned the ball over twice but LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds as San Antonio look ahead to a Western Conference semi-final showdown with the Houston Rockets.

Cleveland is marginally different from that team a year ago adding a lights-out three point shooter in Kyle Korver and a better shooting backup to Irving in Deron Williams. The Raptors now have back-to-back double-digit wins after losing by 27 at Milwaukee in Game 3, and the Bucks are trying to rediscover that form before losing their eighth consecutive playoff series dating to 2001.

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The team leaders, DeRozan and Lowry, were getting plenty of credit for that but so too was Cory Joseph, the only guy outside of Serge Ibaka who has taken an National Basketball Association playoff run all the way to its final game.

The Toronto Raptors got the three-day break they were hoping for.

Yet the Raptors flirted with disaster at Milwaukee's BMO Harris Bradley Center. That was a different kind of series where we had to get out of our comfort zone to beat them.

Down two with three minutes left, DeMar DeRozan's endless well of self-confidence got them a bucket.

"It's human nature to get a little bit tense when things aren't going your way". "And the whole building is against you on the road". It was one of the prettiest games the Raptors had played this series until it absolutely wasn't.

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"You just always have to play until that clock is zero, zero, zero, zero".

Antetokounmpo finished 13 of 23 from the field and 2 of 6 in the fourth.

The defence got raggedy there too so you can't pin it all on ball movement, but consider the Raptors scored 71 points in the first 30 minutes and 43 seconds of the game and then just seven in nearly half of that.

The Bucks still had a chance to force overtime, but instead of looking for a tying three-pointer, Antetokoumpo dribbled too much of the clock of the way, then drove for a dunk with 3.5 seconds left.

Lowry was asked about the big baskets by Joseph and Patterson, and the point guard's trust in his teammates down the stretch. "Give them credit, they slowed us down".

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"My first year we had seven or eight free agents, so we knew that wasn't going to be the same team", forward John Henson said. "It's human nature. You have to fight against that to calm yourself down and still play the game". He's still giving us rim protection, and those kind of things, rebounding. "Think that prepared us for this series for sure". They changed it up tonight, stopped blitzing as much and got us into more of a 1-on-1 game. The 15th overall pick was a relative unknown and figured, at the outset, to be a draft-and-develop pick.