Toronto Raptors Cannot Overcome Early Deficit, Fall to Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks had a lot to prove on Saturday night when they took on the team that took them out of the 2019 NBA playoffs.
“Definitely, I had a lot of motivation,” said Antetokounmpo. “Obviously, a different team. Kawhi (Leonard) is not on the team, but I think guys have stepped up. (Kyle) Lowry is still playing amazing. (Pascal) Siakam has stepped up a lot for this team. They are the team that cost us a trip to the NBA Finals. Obviously, you are going to come out and play a little bit harder and have a little bit extra juice in you.”
The motivation was evident when the Bucks stormed out to a 36-17 lead following the first quarter.
Unfortunately, Milwaukee wasn’t playing just any opponent. The reigning NBA champions continued to claw back and following a first quarter, where a plethora of open shots simply failed to fall, the Toronto Raptors looked like the superior team, despite failing to overcome a 21-point deficit.
“We’ve got to get better,” the reigning league MVP said. “It’s happened three times so far. We’ve got to get better and be in the moment. We cannot relax. People are coming after us. Nothing is going to be given to us.”
Pulling the Raptors within five points heading into the final quarter, the Raptors failed to shock the Eastern Conference powerhouses despite a season-high 36 points from All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. Four other Raptors players finished in double-figures.
“We didn’t go into this with a playoff game-plan scheme,” Fred VanVleet said. “We had a good game plan. We didn’t execute it very well. There’s going to be games like that.”
The Bucks were led by Antetokounmpo, who finished the night with 36 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists and four blocks, helping the Bucks take this one by a score of 115-105.
The Raptors now head back home to face the Sacramento Kings before they kick off a very tough five game Western Conference road trip in New Orleans.