After falling into a deep hole early on Thursday night at Fiserv Forum, the Toronto Raptors rallied back late to snag their third-straight win against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals.
While they had already fallen behind after leading for nearly the entire contest, there was one play in the final minute that Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer clearly felt the officials missed — and he let them hear it.
The Raptors held a three-point lead with less than 24 seconds left in the game, and went to inbound the ball. After throwing it into the back court, Kawhi Leonard lobbed it up to Kyle Lowry.
Lowry, after catching the soft pass, was instantly swarmed from both sides and sent to the ground. Just before he fell, though, he somehow dished the ball to Pascal Siakam in the corner, who had a clear lane to the hoop and threw it down to put the Raptors up by five points.
Even with the contact that sent Lowry to the floor, a foul wasn’t called.
Naturally, that upset Budenholzer, who came right out onto the floor to protest the call — clearly thinking Lowry was fouled, which would have extended the game.
By that point, though, it was too late. Lowry hit a pair of free throws and Norman Powell added another to push Toronto to its six-point win and another step closer to an NBA Finals berth.
When looking at the video, it’s easy to see why Budenholzer was upset. Lowry was easily hit hard enough to draw a foul in most situations — and a foul call there would have sent Lowry to the free throw line. While he could have still put the Raptors up by five points anyway, just like Siakam did, it would have at least given Milwaukee an opportunity to extend the game.
Regardless, though, Budenholzer doesn’t have time to dwell on the call.
The Bucks, down 3-2 in the series, need a win on Saturday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto to keep their postseason and NBA Finals hopes alive.
“We talk about the character of the group, the toughness and competitiveness of the group,” Budenholzer said. “It’s first to four. We have to go to Toronto and get a game. I think the group will be ready. They’ll fill their cup up and be ready to go.”
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