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Bucks defeat Raptors to extend winning streak

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TORONTO — The Milwaukee Bucks found a way.

They were reduced to eight players when guard O.J. Mayo was ejected for a double-technical foul with 4:08 to play in the first half.

They were outscored 15-2 to open the fourth quarter as an 18-point third-quarter lead disappeared when the Toronto Raptors tied the game with 3:33 to play.

Yet, the Bucks scored the final seven points of the game on Monday to defeat the Raptors 82-75, extending their winning streak to four games and snapping Toronto’s six-game win streak.

“I don’t think anybody panicked,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “They made a run; we finally got to the line and made some free throws. We didn’t shoot the free throws extremely well. It’s something we talked about that we have to get better at.”

The Bucks also held the Raptors to 32.1 percent shooting from the field.

“I don’t think we ran out of gas, we just couldn’t score,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “We shot 32 percent. You’re not going to beat too many teams shooting that percentage.”

Khris Middleton, a forward who started at shooting guard, scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Bucks (26-22), who had lost their previous six games to the Raptors (33-16), including the first two meetings between the teams this season.

Forward Jared Dudley added 14 points for the Bucks, including a big 3-pointer with 2:08 left in the game that put Milwaukee up by four points. Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo added 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and center John Henson had 12 points for the Bucks.

“It was a good win,” Henson said. “We figured out a way to win with three or four guys down and that’s what we have to do. I think teams might see us being down three or four guys and come in thinking not as on point as they should be. We have taken advantage of that early in the last three or four games.”

Guard-forward DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 16 points but did not play in the fourth quarter after shooting 5-for-16 from the field.

“We came out flat,” DeRozan said. “They were missing a couple of key guys that they normally have and they came out playing extremely hard. You have to give credit where credit is due.”

Center Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Raptors while guard Lou Williams had 12 points and guard-forward Terrence Ross added 10.

“We were definitely missing shots and maybe a step slow,” said Raptors forward Amir Johnson, who had three points and three rebounds.

“We just kept playing defensively, relying on our defense when we weren’t scoring” Kidd said.

The task became more difficult after Mayo’s ejection. He had seven points.

“Man, just praying that we got the win,” Mayo said. “Obviously I want to be out there helping the guys but a poor decision by me.”

The Bucks led throughout the first quarter, which ended 23-14. They led by as many as 11 points early in the second quarter and took a 47-41 lead into the intermission.

Middleton’s 3-pointer gave Milwaukee an 18-point lead with 2:25 left in the third, which ended with the Bucks leading 73-60.

After the Raptors tied the game on a tip shot by forward Tyler Hansbrough, the Bucks took a one-point lead when Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws with 3:26 to play. Dudley made a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Bucks a four-point lead.

The Raptors turned the ball over with 1:50 to play.

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws with 1:38 left for a five-point lead.

Guard Kyle Lowry turned the ball over with 50 seconds left and guard Jerryd Bayless hit a jumper with 30 seconds left for a seven-point lead.

NOTES: Raptors F James Johnson (right hamstring strain) missed his third consecutive game. … The last time the Raptors won seven consecutive games was during the team-record, nine-game winning streak from March 22-April 9, 2002. They failed to get their seventh straight win this time too. … Bucks C Zaza Pachulia (right calf strain) and F Ersan Ilyasova (sore right groin) were both out for a third straight game. … Milwaukee G Brandon Knight (sore right quadriceps) also was out, and G Jorge Gutierrez started in his place, leaving the Bucks with nine healthy players. … The Bucks are four games above .500 at 26-22. The last time Milwaukee was four games above .500 was Feb. 2, 2013. … The Bucks return home to face the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. … The Raptors play the second game of a five-game homestand Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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