There was plenty to be excited about Thursday night following the Milwaukee Bucks' 104-77 rout of the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series. The Bucks shoot for a decisive 3-1 advantage when Game 4 returns to BMO Harris Bradly Center on Saturday afternoon (early Sunday AM in the Manila). They didn't, thanks in part to Khris Middleton's continued hot streak in the series (he finished with 20, majority coming in the first half when the Bucks made sure to put the game away) and some fantastic bench performances, led again by Greg Monroe (16 points, 7 rebounds).
Will the Toronto Raptors be able to bounce back when they face the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 today at 3PM ET?
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 previous year in Ontario, and Malcolm Brogdon. Wright drained a three-pointer two seconds before the break, and the Raptors trudged into the halftime break down 57-30.
ATLANTA - Paul Millsap had 29 points and 14 rebounds, Dennis Schroder scored 27 points and Atlanta cruised past Washington for a victory that sliced the Wizards' lead to 2-1 in the opening-round playoff series. "We had to treat tonight's game like it was Game 7, with that type of intensity on their home floor, and we did a great job doing it". Toronto went 6-for-19 from the floor, made 2 of 7 3-pointers and trailed by 32 to open the fourth.
Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey yells during the first half of Game 4 of an NBA first-round playoff series basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday, April 22, 2017, in Milwaukee.
Consecutive baskets from Lowry and Valanciunas put Toronto up by 11 and it was all but game over. They started the game with a 13-2 run, never looked back, despite a strong game from John Wall (29 points on 10-12 shooting). It's a coin flip in every game vs. not-great competition, no matter how great they've made the Bucks look.
The Raptors' defense was just as responsible for this one, playing terrific with a smaller lineup that saw Jonas Valanciunas in a much reduced role. Does this DeRozan show up, or the score-only guard who went 0-for-8 in Game 3?
The second quarter started the same as the first with the Bucks scoring inside and out.
The first seven or eight times he said it we nodded agreeably all the while thinking he was just being complimentary towards his opponent.
The Raptors didn't, but they might as well have. He also had four of the team's 13 first-half turnovers after the Bucks had averaged 10 turnovers a game in the playoffs against Toronto. He finished the half with 14 on his way to an team high 20-point night.
Heading into Monday's pivotal Game 5, the player under the microscope is Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee's go-to guy who did not make a single shot in the second half of Game 4.
Toronto wrapped up their 16-17 campaign with nine more wins than the Bucks.
"I was just going quick, being aggressive, not waiting on the doubles", DeRozan said. They responded Saturday, however, willing their team to victory in an ugly game on the road that was a must-win.
A couple of bad Toronto turnovers prompted a Bucks' run that gave Milwaukee a seven-point lead with 5:33 left in the first half. According to the predictions, the Milwaukee Bucks will move towards their lead to 3-1 in the series.