Leonard scores 36, Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2 OTs
TORONTO — Pascal Siakam felt guilty about a pair of missed free throws and the extra minutes they added to his teammates’ night.
Fortunately for Siakam and the rest of the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard didn’t seem to feel any fatigue.
Leonard scored 36 points, including eight in the second overtime, and Toronto beat Milwaukee 118-112 on Sunday night to cut the Bucks’ lead in the Eastern Conference finals to 2-1.
Leonard made 11 of 25 shots and went 12 for 13 at the free throw line in more than 52 minutes of action, a playoff career high.
“At the end of the game, Kawhi said he played an hour of basketball,” Siakam said. “I told him ‘My bad.’”
Leonard had nine rebounds and five assists despite appearing to be bothered by some leg discomfort. He said he would keep fighting and playing.
“I mean, it’s 52 minutes and it’s in the playoffs, so you definitely feel it. When you play 30 minutes, you feel it still,” Leonard said. “Just got to not worry about it, get my treatment and move on to the next one.”
Leonard’s previous career high in playoff minutes was 46, set with San Antonio against Miami in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 18, 2013. The Spurs lost that game in overtime, then lost Game 7 two days later.
Siakam had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Norman Powell scored 19 points before fouling out, and Marc Gasol had 16 points and 12 rebounds. The Raptors will try to draw even when they host Game 4 on Tuesday night.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 12 points and 23 rebounds before fouling out with 4:24 to go in the second overtime. Antetokounmpo shot 5 for 16.
“They were just playing better than us,” Antetokounmpo said. “Whenever we got close, they’d hit some shots and take the lead back to seven or eight. At the end of the day, it wasn’t our best game. We can get a lot better.”
Toronto won despite guards Kyle Lowry and Powell both fouling out in the fourth quarter. Siakam also missed a pair of free throws with 7.4 seconds left in regulation that could have iced the game for the Raptors.
“It’s tough,” Siakam said. “Those are shots that you practice and think about every day.”
Siakam redeemed himself by blocking a potential tying shot by Brook Lopez with 43 seconds to go in the second overtime, leading to a layup for Leonard that put Toronto up 114-110 with just over 30 seconds to play.
George Hill scored 24 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 20 for the Bucks, who lost for the first time in five road games this postseason. Milwaukee is 10-2 overall in the playoffs.
“We were right on the cusp of winning a game when we didn’t play that well,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
The Raptors led 103-99 with 1:26 to go in the first overtime but Hill tied it at 103 by making a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left. Toronto used its final timeout to draw up a play for Leonard, who let the clock run down to 3 seconds before driving for a jumper that missed, sending it to a second extra period.
Hill’s tiebreaking basket to begin the second overtime put Milwaukee up 105-103, its first lead since the opening basket of the game.
Gasol answered with a 3 and Leonard finished a fast break with a left-handed dunk, putting Toronto up 108-105 with 3:13 left.
Khris Middleton shot 3 for 16, but one of his baskets tied the score with 2.2 seconds to go in regulation. He finished with nine points.
After suggesting Saturday that he might change his lineup, Raptors coach Nick Nurse stuck with his normal starters, but gave Powell 30 minutes, the most he’s played in any game this postseason.
“We just played a lot tougher, man,” Nurse said. “We were up guarding and we were physical and we were ready to play tonight.”
Toronto fell behind 9-0 early in a blowout loss in Game 2, but turned that around in Game 3. After Antetokounmpo made a layup for the opening basket of the game, Siakam replied with a hook shot, Gasol followed with a 3 and the Raptors didn’t trail again in regulation.
Powell scored 10 points on five shots in the first, including a pair of 3-pointers, and Toronto led 30-21. Gasol, who had eight points in Games 1 and 2 combined, also made two from long range and scored eight in the first.
“After a tough Game 2 personally, you want to come out and get rid of the bad taste,” Gasol said.
Gasol played with five fouls for part of the fourth quarter and the entire overtime.
“He’s a big reason why they were able to win,” Budenholzer said.
Leonard scored 11 points in the second and Lowry added eight, but Pat Connaughton made two of Milwaukee’s five 3-pointers as the Bucks closed the gap. The Raptors led 58-51 at halftime.
Toronto took a narrow 77-75 lead into the fourth.
Bucks: Milwaukee made six turnovers in the first quarter, leading to 10 points for the Raptors. They finished with 20, leading to 21 points for Toronto. … The Bucks shot 7 for 21 in the opening quarter. Five of their made baskets were 3-pointers.
Raptors: Toronto’s Danny Green missed his first eight shots before hitting a tiebreaking 3 to open the scoring in the first overtime. … The Raptors recorded an assist on 17 of their first 18 baskets. … Gasol had four assists in the first quarter. He finished with seven. … Comedian Mike Myers attended the game.
Antetokounmpo and Lopez each made five field goals, but no other Bucks starter had more than three. Milwaukee’s starters shot 19 for 69, with Middleton and Bledsoe each going 3 for 16.
“Just one of those games,” Hill said. “We’re not worried about it.”
AYE AYE EYE
VanVleet needed stitches to close a cut below his left eye after he caught an elbow late in the game.
END OF THE LINE
Leonard entered having made 20 consecutive free throws. He made his first of the game but missed the second. Lowry holds the Raptors’ playoff record for consecutive free throws, making 25 straight in 2014.
Game 4 is Tuesday night in Toronto.