- Associated Press - Sunday, April 6, 2014

MILWAUKEE (AP) - The playoff-bound Toronto Raptors found themselves trailing the hapless Milwaukee Bucks by nine points at halftime.

DeMar DeRozan made sure the Raptors recovered to continue their push for postseason position.

The Toronto guard scored 15 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and the Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 102-98 Saturday night to keep pace with the Chicago Bulls for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

“We can’t look at a team’s record, come in here and think this is going to be a cakewalk,” DeRozan said. “That team came out here and played extremely hard. They kind of blindsided us and we had to fight the whole game.”

After the Raptors gave up 38 points in the paint to trail 56-47 at halftime, coach Dwane Casey lit into his team at halftime.

“We let them shoot 58 percent in the first half and I can’t accept that,” Casey said. “The first half, we were playing in mud. Standing up straight and it wasn’t just the starters. Everybody who was in there.”

Toronto is tied the Bulls, who beat Washington on Saturday night, at 45-32 with five games to play.

Milwaukee fell to an NBA-worst 14-63, guaranteeing the team’s worst record in its 45-year history.

“We want to win, but I think if we can play this competitive as a team every night, I think there are some better days to come,” said Milwaukee’s John Henson, who had 23 points and nine rebounds in 39 minutes.

Greivis Vasquez tied a season-high with 26 points for Toronto, which has won three consecutive games and six of seven. Vasquez, who averages 9.1 points, made up the scoring lost when starting point guard Kyle Lowry missed the game with a bruised left kneecap.

“Coach jumped on us (at halftime) and we reacted pretty well,” Vasquez said. “In the second half we came to play.”

DeRozan made six free throws in the final 24 seconds to seal the victory.

“We always find ways to fight through,” DeRozan said. “We tried to turn up the aggressiveness, especially in the fourth quarter.”

Khris Middleton scored 20 points for Milwaukee, which has lost 13 of 14 games. Middleton made 6 of 9 shots after a shooting slump in which he made 14 of 41 over the past four games.

DeRozan made a pair of free throws to give the Raptors a 98-94 lead with 24 seconds left. Giannis Antetokounmpo then made two free throws to pull Milwaukee within 98-96 with 20 seconds left.

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