Raptors beat Bucks 87-76 in slugfest, tie series at 2-2
MILWAUKEE (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 33 points, and the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 87-76 in a defensive slugfest on Saturday to tie their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at two games apiece.
Kyle Lowry had 14 of his 18 points in the second half for the Raptors, who turned up their intensity before a hostile road crowd after getting embarrassed in a 27-point loss to Milwaukee in Game 3.
Toronto's tested backcourt reverted to its playmaking form, especially the resurgent DeRozan. He was 12 of 22 from the field after missing all eight of his attempts in Game 3.
The Raptors seized home-court advantage back in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is Monday at the Air Canada Centre.
The game was tied at halftime before Toronto slowly edged away in the second half, building a 10-point lead with 4 minutes left on Norman Powell's 3-pointer.
Tony Snell led Milwaukee with 19 points.
His 3 with 3:14 left got the Bucks within seven. Lowry answered with a bucket before setting up another basket with a drive-and-dish to center Jonas Valanciunas for a layup in traffic.
Toronto's star guards produced in the clutch, while the defense threw up roadblocks to a Bucks team that ran all over them on Thursday night.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to 14 points on 6-of-19 shooting, while also committing seven turnovers. Toronto's P.J. Tucker helped contain the Bucks' All-Star with physical play in the post in the fourth quarter.
Milwaukee went 0 of 9 from the field during a stretch between late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, but still managed to stay within two possessions of Toronto for much of the second half. The Raptors were only slightly better with the ball.
Their defense set the tone.
Trading shoves in the paint and hand-checks on the perimeter, the Bucks matched the Raptors' rise in defensive intensity with Toronto desperate to tie the series going back to Canada.
The Bucks had 13 first-half turnovers compared to 10 for Toronto in a game that would have been considered a sloppy dud in the middle of the regular season.
The sluggish pace played more to the Raptors' strengths.
Raptors: Powell started in place of Valanciunas, a switch that Toronto announced about 15 minutes before tipoff after coach Dwane Casey promised to make changes following the Game 3 blowout. The 6-foot-4 Powell offered more quickness to counter the athletic Bucks. Powell finished with 12 points. ... DeRozan was 8 of 14 for 21 points in the first half alone.
Bucks: Antetokounmpo got off to a choppy start after missing five of his first six shots. He also had four of the team's 13 first-half turnovers after the Bucks had averaged 10 turnovers a game in the playoffs against Toronto. The 6-foot-11 forward also added to his collection of highlight-reel plays with a dunk in transition after sidestepping around DeRozan with about 5:30 left in the second quarter.