The Bucks moved one game closer to playing for a championship Wednesday.
Milwaukee pulled out a 108-100 win over Toronto in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals at the Fiserv Forum. The Bucks trailed by seven entering the fourth quarter but opened the period on a 20-8 run and held on for the win from there.
Brook Lopez scored a team-high 29 points for Milwaukee while Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds.
29 PTS | 4 3PM | 11 REB | 4 BLK
Game 2: Friday (5/17), 8:30pm/et, TNT pic.twitter.com/CTAEvkTpTc— NBA (@NBA) May 16, 2019
Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry combined for 61 points for the Raptors in the losing effort.
Here are three takeaways from the Bucks’ Game 1 win.
This series should be a fun one
On paper, this series looked like it would be one of the most intriguing of the entire playoffs. After one matchup, that observation still stands.
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Brook Lopez, Bucks steal Game 1 away from RaptorsUSA TODAY SPORTS2:04
Did the Warriors sacrifice Game 3?USA TODAY SPORTS1:08
Players react to Raptors' winning Game 3 of NBA FinalsReuters1:50
Raptors take 2-1 series lead despite 47 from CurrySports Illustrated1:16
Beckham Jr. on missing most of OTAs: The good thing is 'we play in September'NFL0:00
Chara defines toughness in Stanley Cup FinalSports Illustrated1:40
Rome: Bellinger is having an all-time best seasonCBS Sports2:18
Zion Williamson NBA draft tapeACC Digital Network0:57
Game 1 was by no means an offensive showcase, but both teams were evenly matched. Toronto and Milwaukee each relied on their stars while role players stepped up for both teams.
The matchup was tied with 4:02 left and the outcome was in doubt in the final minutes.
Every game of the Eastern Conference finals has the potential to turn into a must watch.
Malcolm Brogdon makes an impact
It didn’t take Malcolm Brogdon long to make an impact.
The 26-year-old guard suffered a foot injury last month and did not return until the final game of the Bucks’ conference semifinal series against the Celtics. Milwaukee was thankful to have him on the floor Wednesday.
Brogdon finished with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting while adding three rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes. He also finished a big fast break dunk midway through the fourth quarter that energized his team.
Malcolm Brogdon dunks it down and Milwaukee loves it! pic.twitter.com/adP1QvFfqv— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 16, 2019
Brogdon will give the Bucks a big boost off the bench if he can continue to contribute in a big way.
Bucks overcome 3-point struggles
It wasn’t all good news for Milwaukee.
Despite the win, the Bucks were dreadful from long range. They finished 11 of 44 from behind the arc, a mark of 25%.
Khris Middleton and Nikola Mirotic combined to hit just two of their 12 total 3-point shots, Eric Bledsoe failed to connect on all six of his while Ersan Ilyasova missed three of his four triple attempts.
Milwaukee may not be able to afford to shoot like that again in this series.