• October 16, 2021

VanVleet carries Raptors to victory over Bucks after Lowry leaves with injury

Fred VanVleet scored 33 points, Pascal Siakam added 23 and the Toronto Raptors withstood the loss of Kyle Lowry to defeat the slumping Milwaukee Bucks 124-113 on Tuesday night.

Lowry exited with a sore left ankle in the third quarter but had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists in 22 minutes. The ankle problem caused Lowry to go to the locker room late in the first half, though he returned to start the third quarter.

“He hit it a couple of times, once in the first half and then once in the second,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “They’re going to evaluate it thoroughly here tonight and we should know more here tomorrow.”

Even with Lowry out of the game, the Raptors never fell behind in the second half.

“Any time a guy goes down, it’s that next-man-up mentality that we’ve always had here,” VanVleet said. “Something I’ve tried to continue to do is increase my level of play when he’s out. I thought the entire team just picked it up a notch when he went down. That’s what you like to see.”

Milwaukee lost its fourth consecutive despite getting 34 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and five steals from Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks hadn’t dropped four in a row since the 2019 Eastern Conference finals versus Toronto, when they blew a 2-0 lead and lost the series in six games.

Antetokounmpo nearly recorded his second straight triple-double. The two-time reigning MVP had 24 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists Sunday in a 114-109 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“You’ve just got to go to work the next day,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We’ve got to look at the film. We’ve got to go to practice. We’ve got to see where we can get better. Nobody’s happy with the result. Nobody feels good about it.”

Siakam added 13 rebounds and six assists. VanVleet had a team-high seven assists.

The Bucks were playing the first of eight straight home matches after ending a six-game road trip. This prolonged homestand also gives the Bucks the opportunity to play in front of spectators at Fiserv Forum for the first time this season.

Tuesday’s game featured only about 250 invited guests and family members of players in an arena that seats over 17,000.

Steve Carr

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