MILWAUKEE (AP) - Down for most of the game, clearly rusty at times after nearly a full week off, the Milwaukee Bucks looked very much like a team in trouble.
Until the fourth quarter.
The team with the NBA's best record this season found its stride at the perfect time.
Brook Lopez scored 13 of his career playoff-high 29 points in the fourth quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 24 points and the Bucks closed the game on a 10-0 run to beat the Toronto Raptors 108-100 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday night.
Milwaukee forced Toronto to miss its final eight shots and outscored the Raptors 32-17 in the fourth.
"I think it speaks a little bit to the character of the group," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "They just stick with it. I think it's become a little bit of a theme in the playoffs: I think eventually, hopefully, we feel like if we stick with what we're doing good things will happen for us."
Lopez had a dunk with 2:20 left to put the Bucks ahead for good, added a 3-pointer on the next Milwaukee possession to push the lead to four and the Bucks - after trailing for the overwhelming majority of the game - did just enough in the final minutes to grab the series lead.
"I think this game definitely made us better," Antetokounmpo said.
***********Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo dunks during the first half of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff finals against the Toronto Raptors May 15, 2019, in Milwaukee.