The Toronto Raptors struggled in their first two games of the Eastern Conference finals, letting the first game of the series slip away in the final minutes and getting blown out in Game 2.
While it took an extra 10 minutes on Sunday night, the Raptors finally came out on top.
The Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 118-112 in double overtime on Sunday at Scotiabank Arena. They got a 36-point performance from Kawhi Leonard.
“At the end of the day, we didn’t have our best game,” said Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who fouled out after scoring only 12 points. “But obviously our team is special, and even though their leaders had a bad night, they were able to send this game into double overtime.”
Raptors hold on in overtime
After a pair of 3-point buckets from each side, Pascal Siakam put the Raptors ahead with a put-back layup with two minutes left in the extra period. Leonard then drained a step back shot to put the Raptors up four, capitalizing on an Antetokounmpo turnover.
Brogdon answered with a floater of his own just before George Hill hit a pair of free throws, tying the game back up with just 14.5 seconds left in overtime. Leonard’s final shot was off the mark, which sent the game into a second overtime.
The Raptors pulled up by two points again by the one-minute mark in the second overtime, behind a pair of huge dunks from Leonard. Then, after Siakam came up with a key block, Leonard made a layup to send the Raptors up by four points with just 30 seconds left. A pair of free throws from Siakam and Leonard then sealed the deal, giving Toronto the six-point win.
Leonard led the Raptors with 36 points and nine rebounds and five assists. The 27-year-old shot 11-of-25 from the field, and played a career-high 52 minutes in the win.
“I’m just confident in myself,” Leonard said after the game. “My teammates are confident in me. I just go out there and play, and I can live with the results because I’m giving 110 percent out there.”
Siakam finished with 25 points, having shot 9-of-18 from the field, and Norman Powell added 19 points off the bench.
Hill led the Bucks with 24 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Brogdon added 20 points, and center Brook Lopez finished with 16 points.
Game 4 of the series is Tuesday night in Toronto.
“There’s so many things that we can get better,” Antetokounmpo said. “We will get better. We’re going to come out to Game 4 and we’re going to be us, we’re going to be the team that we’ve been all year.”
What led up to the overtimes
The Raptors started the game on a 16-5 run, and looked ready to avenge their blowout loss in Game 2. A pair of quick 3-pointers from Kris Middleton and Hill, though, brought the Bucks back within five points minutes later.
The Raptors, though, pushed ahead to take a nine-point lead after the first quarter, all while holding Antetokounmpo to just two points.
The Raptors fended off multiple Bucks pushes in the second quarter and, thanks to a huge corner 3-point bucket from Serge Ibaka with less than a second left in the period, ended the half with a seven-point lead.
While it was Leonard who led the way with 15 points in the first half, it was Siakam who turned heads. Siakam — who has averaged just 11.5 points in the first two games of this series — dropped 12 points in the opening half, having shot 5-of-9 from the field.
Milwaukee closed the gap in the third quarter, ending the period on a 9-2 run to make it a two-point game, and then tied it up with just four minutes left in the game.
A big jump shot from Leonard paired with three free throws put the Raptors back into control with one minute left. Yet a key reverse layup from Brogdon with just 38 seconds left brought Milwaukee back within two points.
After a pair of huge missed free throws from Siakam in the final seconds — which would have sealed the deal for Toronto — Middleton knocked down a key layup for Milwaukee to tie the game.
Toronto had one last chance, but Siakam’s 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark, which sent the game into overtime.
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