Raptors Tie Series With Win Over Bucks, 120-102
Thanks to contributions from the bench the Toronto Raptors ties their series with the Milwaukee Bucks at two games a piece.
The Raptors may have figured out how to slow down one of the hottest teams in the NBA playoffs. Their defense on MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and the rest of the Bucks, has helped them win the past two games. This was only the second time all season that Milwaukee has lost two games in a row. Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 25 points and Kawhi Leonard added 19 as Toronto relied on their bench in last nights win. Kris Middleton had a good game with 30 points. However, the Bucks role players were nullified, as only one of them scored in double figures. The series is now tied at two, with the home teams defending their respective courts.
— NBA (@NBA) May 22, 2019
Battle of the Benches
For most of the playoffs the Bucks bench players have helped them win their first two series. In this game the tables were turned as Toronto’s bench outscored the Bucks 48 to 23. The trio of Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka, and Fred VanVleet all had their best game of the playoffs. They also played over 25 minutes each, which allowed the starters, especially Leonard to get a well deserved rest. He played in 52 minutes in the double overtime game three, and has been visibly tired in this series. Milwaukee’s bench struggled for the first time this playoffs including Malcolm Brogdon who went 2-11 from the field, missing all three of his 3-pointers. The Bucks have relied on their role players the entire playoffs and must find a way to return to form. For Toronto this may be a sign that they may have found the answer to defeat Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo continues to struggle
After a bad game three, where he only scored 12 points, Antetokounmpo did not have his best game last night. He started out hot in the first going 4-5 from the field. He was playing with a sense of aggressiveness that we have come accustom to. Then after air-balling another free throw, for the second straight game, he seemed to lose confidence. He did finish with 25 points but continued to look frustrated as the Bucks could not overcome the double digit lead. He has not been himself the past couple of games, mainly thanks to the team defense of the Raptors.
Raptors Going the Distance
This series will go to at least six games now that Toronto has tied it up. If the trend holds up, of the home team winning, it will probably go to a game seven in Milwaukee. The Golden State Warriors await the winner of this series, and if it does go the distance that team would only have a few days to prepare for the defending champs. Luckily for either team, the NBA finals will start at home, as both Toronto and Milwaukee own home court advantage over the Warriors. The next game of this series will be on Thursday May 23, from Milwaukee on TNT at 8:30 p.m.
THURSDAY'S Eastern Conference Finals #NBAPlayoffs Matchup!
8:30pm/et: (2) TOR 2-2 (1) MIL, TNT pic.twitter.com/Nd6gUHhIsG
— NBA (@NBA) May 22, 2019
Written by Blair Young
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Photo credit to Toronto Raptors via Twitter