Kyle Lowry scored a milestone basket early and made things interesting for the Raptors late with a 14-point fourth quarter.
But the Milwaukee Bucks answered every Raptor run in a 115-108 victory Wednesday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was one assist from a triple-double with 24 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists for Milwaukee (11-6). Khris Middleton had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists while Brook Lopez added 20 points and seven rebounds.
Four straight baskets, including three three-pointers, by Lowry helped Toronto (7-11) cut the lead to 106-102 with under two minutes remaining. Milwaukee held firm, however.
Earlier Lowry became the third player to reach the 10,000-point milestone as a Raptor, scoring on Toronto’s second shot attempt at Amalie Arena.
The 34-year-old guard sank a three-pointer from 24 feet just 51 seconds into the game after a steal by Fred VanVleet. DeMar DeRozan (13,296) and Chris Bosh (10,275) are the only others to score 10,000 in Raptors colours.
“Unfortunately it came with a loss,” Lowry said later.
“It means a lot to be able to do that with one franchise,” he added. “That’s a lot of points for one franchise Hard work pays off.”
Asked about catching his good friend DeRozan, who now plays for San Antonio, Lowry put his tongue firmly in his cheek.
“He shot the ball way too much,” he said with a smile. “There’s so many possessions I was wide open he just wouldn’t pass the ball. I think he knew I was going to catch him.”
Lowry actually came into the game with 13,730 points, having scored 1,217 in two-plus seasons with Memphis and 2,515 in three-plus campaigns with Houston.
“I think it’s amazing,” Norm Powell said of Lowry’s milestone.
Lowry, in his 15th NBA season, is already Toronto’s all-time leader in three-pointers made (1,425), assists (4,032) and steals (842). He came to the Raptors in a July 2012 trade that sent Gary Forbes and a 2013 first-round pick to Houston.
Golden State’s Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Washington’s Bradley Beal and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo are the only active players with 10,000 points with their current team.
Powell had a season-high 26 points for Toronto, his fourth consecutive 20-plus outing. Six Raptors finished in double figures with Lowry finishing at 21. VanVleet had 10 points and 10 assists.
“I think there was a lot of good to take from the game, there’s a lot of positives to take from the game,” said Toronto coach Nick Nurse.
But he rued some missed offensive play executions.
“If you’re going to beat a high-level team, those things have got to get cleaned up,” he said.
Toronto made 22-of-55 three-point attempts with Aron Baynes 1-of-7, Pascal Siakam 1-of-4 and VanVleet 2-of-11. Lowry was good on 6-of-8 attempts, making all four from distance in the fourth.
Milwaukee outscored Toronto 40-26 in the paint.
Siakam (11 points) returned to the Raptors lineup after a two-game absence due to left knee swelling. But OG Anunoby (calf) was unable to go due to a calf issue.
The game marked the one-quarter mark of the 72-game season for Toronto. The Raptors were 14-4 and riding a six-game win streak at the same stage last season.
VanVleet played provider in the first quarter with seven assists, helping Baynes – who came into the game averaging 4.7 points this season – collect seven points early. Powell led all scorers with 10 points in the quarter.
A 10-3 Toronto run at the end of the first quarter tied the score at 33-33.
The Raptors led by five in the second quarter before they went cold and the Bucks reeled off a 21-7 run to lead 63-54 at the half.
Antetokounmpo had 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the half.
Toronto opened the third quarter with an 8-1 run to cut the lead to two. But Milwaukee answered with an 10-2 run of its own to make it a double-digit lead. The Raptors kept chipping away and only trailed 83-82 going into the fourth on the back of a 9-0 run.
The Raptors pulled ahead 84-83 on a Yuta Watanabe two-pointer but Milwaukee scored the next nine points.
After Toronto cut the lead to 100-94, Milwaukee challenged an offensive foul call against Antetokounmpo with 4:48 remaining. The Bucks won the challenge and the Bucks star buried two free throws to make it an eight-point game.
Toronto, coming off a 129-114 loss in Indiana on Monday, had won five of its last seven following a 2-8 start to the season.
The Bucks, who downed visiting Atlanta 129-115 on Sunday, were well-rested. The Hawks game was their first since a loss to the Lakers last Thursday, given Friday’s contest against Washington was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Wizards.
Toronto hosts the Sacramento Kings on Friday in Tampa. Milwaukee continues its road trip with games in New Orleans on Friday and Charlotte on Saturday.