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Raptors show some leaks, fail to weather Bucks' storm in Game 1

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MILWAUKEE – There was a lot of hoping going on before the Eastern Conference Finals tipped off Wednesday night.

Most of it was being articulated by Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.

Maybe he was just nervous, but taken together it sounded a little bit like someone looking up at what they know is a leaky roof and crossing their fingers and toes before an advancing storm – in this case the Milwaukee Bucks.

He hoped the Raptors wouldn’t be emotionally spent after their dramatic Game 7 win over Philadelphia; he hoped they would find a way to keep Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo from turning into a human freight train in transition, scattering Raptors like bowling pins; he hoped his club would maintain the defensive effort that allowed them survive the second round in the first place.

Anything else?

“And man, I hope we make some more of those shots,” Nurse said. “I’ve been saying that for a while, though. I hope we make some, and I hope we create them. As long as we’re creating them, and I hope we’re getting some more people involved, I think we really need to, I think we have for most of the year, and I think we’ve shot it [well] for most of the year.

“So again, I think — I’m hoping, and I just think that the games that we do shoot it pretty well, our defence even gets better. The energy kind of feeds itself.”

So many of his wishes came true, and the Raptors still came out on the wrong end of a 108-100 loss. The Raptors started well, defended well and at times shot the ball well, holding a slim lead late in the fourth quarter.

But eventually the roof began to leak even as the Raptors led after the first quarter, at half and at the start of the fourth.

As the game wore on the open looks dried up. Time and........

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