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Leonard stars as Raptors claw back with win over Bucks

May 21, 2019

LOS ANGELES: Kawhi Leonard scored eight of his 36 points in the second overtime period on Sunday (Monday in Manila) to lead the Toronto Raptors to a gritty 118-112 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

The Raptors, who dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven series in Milwaukee, clawed their way back in front of home fans and will try to level the set when they host game four on Tuesday.

Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and Spanish center Marc Gasol added 16 for the Raptors, who got off to a quick start and led much of the night but had to battle to put the Bucks away.

Milwaukee’s Most Valuable Player finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled to just 12 points on five-of-16 shooting.

Kawhi Leonard (No. 2) of the Toronto Raptors shoots the ball during overtime against the Milwaukee Bucks in game three of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada. AFP PHOTO

Antetokounmpo didn’t reach double figures in points until the middle of the fourth quarter, although his 23 rebounds helped the Bucks stay in touch.

Antetokounmpo fouled out in the first minute of the second overtime period.

Moments later the Bucks managed to edge ahead 105-103, but Leonard and the Raptors roared back.

Leonard’s steal and dunk put Toronto ahead 112-109 and his driving bank shot gave Toronto a 114-110 lead with 32.4 seconds remaining.

Leonard played a key role in limiting Antetokounmpo and Toronto coach Nick Nurse said his defensive play was “probably the biggest key of the game.”

“Not only did he just play good, but he made some huge plays with some steals and rip-aways and break aways,” Nurse said.

“Offense was hard to come by there for both teams for a while and any time you can get a steal and a break out it’s a huge momentum play.”

Toronto had a chance to win it in regulation, but they let a 96-91 lead slip away in the final 1:13 of the fourth quarter.

Milwaukee guard Khris Middleton’s putback basket from his own miss with 2.2 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.

The Raptors led 103-99 with 1:29 remaining in the first extra session.

But Malcolm Brogdon floated in a shot and George Hill drained two free throws to tie it before Leonard’s jump shot fell short.

The Raptors overcame a slow night from Kyle Lowry, who scored 11 points and played in foul trouble much of the night before fouling out with 6:12 left in the fourth.

Blazers starLillard playing with separated ribs

Portland’s star guard Damian Lillard confirmed Sunday that he’s playing with painful separated ribs and wore protective padding in the Trail Blazers’ loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Lillard told reporters he was hurt in game two of the NBA Western Conference finals against the defending champion Warriors, speaking about it after the injury was reported by The Athletic.

“I don’t think it’s something that’s affecting my game,” he said. “It’s there but it’s not something that’s affecting anything that I’m doing.

“Obviously you feel it, but that’s it,” added Lillard, who said he could feel the injury when he was breathing hard or when he absorbed contact on his left side.

The injury occurred in the third quarter of game two on Thursday, when the Warriors’ Kevon Looney landed on top of Lillard in a scramble for the ball.

AFP

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