Milwaukee Bucks hold off Toronto Raptors as comeback falls short


Hampered again by early foul trouble - Siakam had two in the first five minutes and had to sit down - he had only 16 points and never really got rolling before fouling out with 1:41 left in the game.

For more on this battle at the Fiserv Forum, we have you covered with takeaways below.

You can't get off to much worse of a start than the Raptors did in this contest. Norman Powell contributed 19 points and two steals off the bench. The Raptors didn't make a two-point field goal until early in the second quarter and a highly-anticipated early-season National Basketball Association game went pfftt. Their offence was stagnant, they were forcing tough shots and they had five turnovers to just one assist.

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dribbles against Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors during the second half in game three of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Scotiabank Arena. Ersan Ilyasova added 10 points, five caroms and two steals as a reserve. Khris Middleton notched 16 points and six boards.

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The Bucks' habit of blowing big leads almost cost them again. Their 32-point win against the Magic was the only time their big lead hasn't been in serious danger.

Cue Kyle Lowry, who tends to have a sense of these situations.

In the home opener against Miami, they would go on to lose after being up by 21 points, and they also blew a 19-point lead at Boston on Wednesday before almost doing it again Saturday.

When the Raptors brought it to 96-100, Lowry had already spent such an outrageous amount of the game pulling the Raptors to that point, that it seemed like he needed a breather. Acting as the team's engine - as he always does - Lowry was bombing away from 3-point land, going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, which led to 17 points in the third frame alone.

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Without Lowry's efforts, this game would have gotten even more out of hand than it did in the first half and would have stayed that way, too.

He also scored 21 in the half-court en route to becoming the first player in Bucks history to record at least 35 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 blocks in a single game since blocks were first recorded in the 1973-74 season, per ESPN Stats & Information research.

In this rematch, Lowry scored a season-high 36 points on 11-of-18 shooting, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range. However, it's one thing to say that there will be considerable interest in Antetokounmpo, it's another to suggest that Toronto would be near the top of the list in potential landing spots.

But there was more to it than just a huge stat line.

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The Raptors took one shot in the paint the whole first quarter. Antetokounmpo attempted 6 of the Bucks 20, and hit 4 of them, 66.7-percent of their makes in the quarter.