TORONTO – A second loss to the Milwaukee Bucks and a Kyle Lowry in fall.
On a night that highlighted Lowry's offensive fights, the Bucks overcame Toronto 104-99 on Sunday, becoming the first team to beat the Raptors twice this season.
Lowry had zero points and three turnovers, and moments after the narrow loss, the four-time all-star seemed puzzled by his performance.
"I have to look at the movie, see where it was," Lowry said quietly. "I do not know, I just could not find the ones open tonight."
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Kawhi Leonard, who scored 20 points in the evening, said it was only a matter of time before Lowry regained his offensive rhythm.
"I feel like he should be a little more aggressive," said Leonard, "and we're going to have some great games coming up."
"I think he's shooting well, it's just that the ball is not falling for him, we're still in the late games with him fighting with the shot, he just has to keep being himself and they're going to fall." "
Serge Ibaka led the Raptors with 22 points, Fred VanVleet added 19 points and Pascal Siakam finished with 17 points.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 19 points and 19 rebounds, while Brook Lopez had 19 points to lead the Bucks (17-8), second in the East.
The Raptors had hoped to take advantage of what could be a post-season opponents of the Eastern Conference, particularly after suffering the season's first loss to the Bucks 124-109 on Oct. 29 in Milwaukee. Neither Leonard (rest) nor Antetokounmpo (concussion protocol) played that night.
But it was the Bucks who led most of the night, taking a 79-74 lead in the fourth quarter, and extending it to 11 points less than 90 seconds later.
But when Ibaka drilled a three-pointer with 5:18 to play – then he raised his arms to the fans, signaling for them to twist – he pulled the Raptors to within three points.
VanVleet's three-pointer, then Leonard's, who hit the other side of the ledge before dropping the rim, sent the Raptors to the final two minutes with a 97-94 lead.
Malcolm Brogdon calmed the crowd with three consecutive flips to give Bucks a three-point lead. A basket of VanVleet made a one-point play, but Antetokounmpo drove to the rim by a buried with 12 seconds to play that sealed the Bucks' win.
"Going down the road and playing with the main team at our conference and making it fall in the air and finding a way to win is a big win for the team," said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer.
Lowry is in the middle of a difficult stretch, arriving at night filming an unfortunate 8-for-37 in four previous appearances. It was over the same Sunday.
Do your teammates feel more pressured by the score load?
"I do not know if this puts pressure on them to play perfectly," said coach Nick Nurse. "I thought he played a very difficult game and did some good things, I think we have a lot of offense tonight."
Most of Lowry's shots during this stretch were from behind the bow. All five shots on Sunday were three-point attempts.
"I think we need some of your touches of paint," Nurse said. "He's driven over there and kicked at some open guys because they're really giving him a lot of attention. But somehow we have to get him to dig his way there and get over the edge and get to me to paint shots or at the edge takes. "
"Yes, I do," he said. "I was thinking about it tonight, and I just did not get a chance, or just did not do it. I have to be a little more inside the painting, inside the bow, I definitely do."
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The Raptors were coming off a 106-105 loss in overtime in Brooklyn on Friday.
Milwaukee's newest acquisition, George Hill, did not play on Sunday. In a move that signaled a serious playoff draw, the Bucks acquired Cleveland's bodyguard on Friday in a three-team deal.
Among the fans at Scotiabank Arena were Max Holloway, who beat Brian Ortega on Saturday night to win the UFC featherweight title, and Max Kerman and Mike DeAngelis of Arkells.
The leader switched hands five times in the first period before the Raptors had an eight-point lead at the end of the frame. They took a 30-25 lead to the second.
The Bucks opened the second quarter with a 7-0 lead, and a three-pointer by Ersan Ilyasova raised the Milwaukee number to eight. The Raptors reduced the gap in the last five minutes of the score and lost 51-59.
The difficult part of the Raptors' games does not diminish. They now head west for four games, starting on Tuesday against the Clippers in Los Angeles. They will travel to Golden State, Portland and Denver before returning home to host Indiana on December 19th.