Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 12/17

Game 1: Tuesday, December 17th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 15th
Game 3: Tuesday, February 4th
Game 4: Friday, April 11th

Bucks 105

(40-40, 17-24 away)

Raptors 103

(24-55, 15-25 home)

    7:00 PM ET, April 11, 2003

    Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIL 25 25 27 28105
    TOR 27 24 24 28103

    Top Performers

    Milwaukee: T. Kukoc 25 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Toronto: R. Alston 20 Pts, 4 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Kukoc powers Bucks into playoffs with 25 points

    TORONTO (AP) -- The Milwaukee Bucks are in the playoffs, but not because of an impressive performance.

    Gary Payton

    Milwaukee's Gary Payton, left, and Toronto's Mamadou N'diaye tumble during a first-quarter collision.

    Toni Kukoc scored 25 points, and the Bucks clinched a playoff spot with a 105-103 victory Friday night over the Toronto Raptors, who dressed only eight players and were missing their two best.

    ''I really don't understand how we did it,'' Milwaukee coach George Karl said. ''I really think Toronto probably played the better basketball game tonight.''

    Toronto's Alvin Williams missed two chances to send the game into overtime in the final 10 seconds. On the first, he was fouled by Gary Payton on a drive to the basket with 6.3 seconds left in the game, but he made only one of two free throws to cut Milwaukee's lead to 104-103.

    Williams had one final opportunity, after Tim Thomas missed one of his free throws with 5.6 seconds left, but Williams missed a layup. Jerome Williams grabbed the rebound and powered down a dunk that would have tied the game, but it came after the buzzer. The officials used video replay and the call stood.

    ''I blew it,'' Alvin Williams said. ''We had an opportunity to win and I blew it. When you're undermanned, you almost need to play a perfect game.''

    Payton scored 24 points while Sam Cassell added 15 points and eight assists for Milwaukee, which has beaten the Raptors five consecutive times in Toronto.

    Rafer Alston scored 20 points for the Raptors, who lost their fifth consecutive game, while Jerome Williams scored 20 points and had 13 rebounds. Toronto played without Vince Carter (left ankle) and Antonio Davis (strained groin), who are both out for the season.

    The Bucks, who were down by 10 points early in the game, broke a 100-100 tie with 1:24 left in the fourth quarter when Payton blocked a shot by Alvin Williams, and then fed Cassell in for a layup. Kukoc then made it a four-point lead on a layup.

    But Morris Peterson cut the lead to 104-102, and Toronto had a chance to tie when Cassell missed a jumper with 10.6 seconds left.

    ''This is the first year I've ever seen a team that's not making the playoffs still play as hard as they are playing,'' Payton said. ''I think every one of (the Raptors) is trying to make a statement for next year.''

    Game notes

    The Raptors set an NBA record in their last game, on Wednesday against Orlando, with their 484th man-game lost to injury. ... Milwaukee forwards Anthony Mason (left thigh) and Jason Caffey (back) did not dress for the sixth consecutive game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 105 103
    FGM-FGA 42-80 (.525) 39-76 (.513)
    3PM-3PA 5-15 (.333) 8-12 (.667)
    FTM-FTA 16-21 (.762) 17-26 (.654)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-38 13-38
    Assists 27 26
    Turnovers 15 16
    Steals 8 11
    Blocks 5 2
    Fast Break Points 12 11
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 17 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Toni Kukoc Kukoc
    Points: 25
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 1
    Rafer Alston Alston
    Points: 20
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1