Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry rebounded from his lowest scoring playoff game in eight years with a 22 point effort to lead the team to a 106-100 victory over Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday evening to even up their seven-game series at one game apiece.
Before Game 2, Lowry vowed to be more aggressive against the Bucks. "Put it this way, I guess I'm going to have to force shots", Lowry said. "We did what we were supposed to do".
"Try to get off it quick, trust my teammates to make the next play", said DeRozan. And even though the Raptors have lost Game 1 in 11 of the 12 playoff series that they have played in team history, losing the opening game in a series where you are heavily favored in is bad practice. "Don't really think (I could play)", he said. "It's something now that we're not unfamiliar with, being at this point".
DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Serge Ibaka added 13 of his 16 points in the second half and Jonas Valanciunas had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who improved to 5-1 when playing Game 2 of a playoff series on their home court.
"It's big for us, but now we have to focus on Game 2", Antetokounmpo said. We've had it in stretches but we've lived by being down and coming back.
"There were a few times, it wasn't like it was a whole bunch, but there were a few times he could have turned the corner and got to the paint, caused another problem, kickout", Casey said. The young Bucks chipped away at it by executing some of the same things that made them so terrifying in Game 1 - driving dunks from the Greek Freak, jumpers by Khris Middleton, sweet three-point shooting from Tony Snell.
"But once you get going, your vehicle feels like a 2016 Lexus or something".
Kyle Lowry was held to four points in the Toronto Raptors' Game 1 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
"We've done everything and there is no consistent statistic or number or group", Casey said. "It's not a good feeling".
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Kyle Lowry wound up being the hero of the game with this clutch shot that gave Toronto a four-point lead with about nine seconds left.
"Just play, go out there and make my shots, being aggressive", Lowry said.
Perhaps more importantly, the Raptors could not get any open looks against the Bucks in the second half Saturday, and I'm not convinced that will change anytime soon. "If you get their offense out a little further, if it takes a little bit more time off the clock, all those things help", Wade said.
Milwaukee still had plenty of life, however, and when Antetokounmpo scored on an alley-oop layup from Matthew Dellavedova with 2:46 to play, the Bucks pulled to within a point. If you're like me then you're always on the go.
A exhausted Westbrook just kept jacking up shots, many of them bad ones, and he shot 4-of-18 for the quarter, including 1-of-7 from three. But he went just 2-of-4 from the floor in the fourth while Eric Gordon was 4-of-7 for 11 points and Patrick Beverley was 3-of-3 for eight in the quarter. It made things very hard for the Bucks at times, with Antetokounmpo shooting 37% on 24 shots.
The Bucks kept hacking at Toronto leads. Toronto shot 7 for 35 in the second half, following up a 3 for 18 showing in the third by going 4 for 17 in the fourth. Another pick, 25th overall, will go to Orlando as part of the Ibaka-Terrence Ross deal. "And we didn't. I thought they were the more desperate team tonight".
Lowry aggressively attacked the basket the entire first half, getting to the line seven times and converting all seven freebies.
For the Raptors, Game 2 was another sign of relief for a group familiar with first round disappointments, and another great escape from a potential early playoff disaster.