Bucks overwhelm Raptors 104-77, take 2-1 series lead

Ross Houston
April 24, 2017

Playing in front of a deafening Milwaukee crowd that made the Air Canada Centre feel like a library, the Raptors looked completely unhinged from the opening tipoff against a young Bucks team that featured two rookies in Thon Maker, who was playing high school basketball at this time past year in Ontario, and Malcolm Brogdon.

Khris Middleton scored 20 points and the Milwaukee Bucks overwhelmed the cold-shooting Toronto Raptors for a 104-77 win on Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

"I've always said we play better with our backs against the wall". "It's a tough way to live, but I love our team's resilient personality".

Given the circumstances, it might have been the best game the Bucks have played under Kidd. In a Game 4 loss at home Tony Snell led the team with 19 points while Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 14 points and had team-high four assists. "We didn't come out with the sense of urgency that we needed". "He did a good job offensively and defensively", said Casey. "But I'm alive now and ready to get back to practice and get better and learn from the challenges we have come across in this series and try to come out in Game 4 and get a win". This first round matchup was back-and-forth as the Raptors would barely pull through and win the series in seven games.

"Our tempo was extremely slow", Coach Jason Kidd said.

ABOUT THE RAPTORS: Toronto was ice cold from the outset while shooting 33.8 percent from the field in the embarrassing effort, but All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry insisted the club can recover.

It would be easy to write the game off as a learning experience if the stakes weren't so high. Even on open shots, I think we've missed some shots we normally make. Benching Valanciunas to start the second half was puzzling and not the right answer.

Maybe by the time Game 5 rolls around the Bucks will. It created a small starting five with Serge Ibaka at centre, DeMarre Carroll at power forward and Powell at small forward. But Leonard's final 3 tied it up one last time before Gasol's big bucket.

The Bucks scored a first-quarter knockout in this one, racing to a 32-12 lead after 12 minutes behind Middleton (11 points) and Antetokounmpo (10 points, three assists). "Overall, I thought we weren't as physical, that they were a little bit more physical". "He got a lot on random shots ― his activity on the pick and roll, without the pick and roll, mixing up what he does".

Australian Mills played his usual strong supporting role for the Spurs, coming off the bench to score six points and adding two rebounds, four assists and a steal in his 23 minutes on court.

Casey hinted there could be changes to his rotation. "He had the proper attitude, proper disposition and he was a pro". Just then, the video board showed a movie clip from Jurassic World, subbing Antetokounmpo's face onto that of the raptor trainer, soothing and quieting aggressive dinosaurs. They only had 87 points. "We've got to be hungry". We have put ourselves in the position where we have come back home (tied) and it's back to square one.

Those in the media that talk to the players can tell you that when athletes praise the fans, it's not just a PR move to boost jersey sales.

• Raptors: Toronto trailed 57-30 at the half, tying the teams regular-season low for scoring in a half.

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