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Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer credits Brook Lopez for Game 1 win


by Janiel Abby Toralba

With the victory of the Milwaukee Bucks against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday (Manila time) came the rise of big man Brook Lopez, who, with his superb leadership and great performance, snatched away the crucial Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a final score of 108-100. Lopez rained an explosive 29 points in the scoreboard, add to that 11 rebounds, four blocks and two assists.

Lopez led the Bucks’ last attempt in a late rally at the last quarter to claim Game 1 in their homecourt, an important win to start the series especially against the powerhouse Raptors. Lopez’s dunk and three-pointer sparked a 10-0 run in the last three minutes of the game, taking the victory in front of the Fiserv Forum crowd.

Naturally, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was all praises for the 31-year-old center for the much-needed win to take the finals series lead.

“Big game from Brook on both ends of the court,” Budenholzer said. “In the first half we were struggling but Brook was able to manufacture a couple of things.”

“And several times in the fourth quarter he was out there making big-time plays — blocks, rebounds, contests. Certainly in a big moment, that was a great Brook Lopez tonight.”

Lopez however humbly credits his teammates as well for not giving up against the Raptors.

“It was a complete team effort,” Lopez said.

“We’d been playing with good energy the whole game but shots weren’t going down for us. So we knew we just had to keep grinding, which is what we’ve been doing all season long.”

Lopez shared, “We’ve learned never to hang our heads, never give up, and we haven’t all season. They hit us, but we stuck with it and stuck together as a team.”