Raptors advance to conference semis with nailbiting 92-89 victory over Bucks

"They ambushed us", said Raptors coach Dwane Casey after his team fell behind 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. At only 22 years of age, Giannis became the first player in National Basketball Association history to finish in the top 20 in points, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals in a single season, and I won't hesitate to draft him with the No. 1 pick in fantasy for many years to come.

DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points, Cory Joseph had five points in a 9-0 run in the final 2 minutes to answer a furious rally by the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Raptors held on for a 92-89 victory Thursday night to take their first-round playoff series in six games.

"You know you're going to be exhausted, it's the playoffs. We make it hard on ourselves sometimes, but at the end of the day we're going to go down swinging". Toronto suddenly looked slow, indecisive and disconnected, and it came close to a devastating collapse. Instead, the Raptors regrouped and rattled off nine straight points, recovering in just enough time to silence their naysayers. "We know what we're facing", Casey said.

Nevertheless, Antetokounmpo was marvelous, scoring a game-high and personal playoff-best 34 points.

Kyle Lowry is still a big question mark; he finished with 13 points and four assists in 44 minutes.

Maybe the Raptors don't need to over-analyze this, either - they all said the Raptors built that 25-point lead by moving the ball, and they all said the lead vanished when they stopped. "We've got some fighters and scrappers. I was supposed to go earlier ... so we could have more seconds on the clock".

"We're just a team up north".

"We didn't expect to be down fighting back in the last couple minutes, but we were".

That's a tough way for Giannis to enter the offseason, especially considering his series averages of 24.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.7 blocks were the main reason the Bucks were in position to challenge the Raptors.

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The first was a spectacular one-handed dive to stop a curling shot from Rashford from going into the top corner in the 20th. On the second leg, Berizzo added: "We are going to play a game having learned what happened tonight".

But The Greek Freak made a very poor decision when the Bucks were trying to complete their comeback in the final seconds.

The Raptors, who had never won a playoff series in less than the maximum number of games, dominated for much of the night and led by as many as 25 points midway through the third quarter.

"Yeah, we got away from (the ball movement) during that stretch where they were going on their run", Patrick Patterson said. "We were feeling good about ourselves". Khris Middleton had 19 and Matthew Dellavadova added 12 as the only Bucks in double figures.

The Raptors led by as many as 25 in the third quarter before Milwaukee finally showed signs of life.

And then the Raptors went to work.

"We made a run and gave ourselves an opportunity", Kidd said, "We fought". That's even in spite of some horrid free throw shooting. It's not that hard.

NOTES: The Bucks have lost eight consecutive playoff series and haven't advanced past the first round in their last seven trips to the postseason.

Milwaukee was out of timeouts, so after DeMar DeRozan hit two free throws to push the lead back to three, the Bucks needed a three anyway, and they had to go the length of the floor to get it.

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