After each Raptors playoff game, Mitch Robson will take you through a pivotal moment on which the game hinged. He gets things rolling with a breakdown of the third-quarter run during which the Bucks blitzed the Raptors with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the bench with four fouls.
Following an encouraging 2nd quarter of Toronto’s Game 1 loss, the Raps traded buckets with the Bucks for a majority of the 3rd as Giannis Antetokounmpo continued to thrive and get wherever he wanted to on the floor.
With the score tied at 64 and 4:33 left in the period, Toronto was given a gift, as Antetokounmpo was whistled for his 4th foul after going over the back of PJ Tucker while trying to secure a defensive rebound. Jason Kidd sent Khris Middleton to the scorer’s table to check in, and the Raps had a great opportunity to close the quarter on a run without having to deal with Giannis, and bring momentum into the 4th quarter where they are usually at their best.
They did just the opposite.
Led by the playmaking of Middleton and a mini scoring outburst from human pest/mouth-breather Matthew Dellavedova, the Bucks closed the quarter on an 11-6 run. That in turn led to them cruise through the 4th quarter as Antetokounmpo returned to dominate and dish all over whoever the Raps threw at him.
The run began following free throws from Delly, and another good look from downtown that Lowry missed, as Greg Monroe managed to slip free from a tripped up Ibaka in semi-transition for a layup. After another open shot from Ibaka rimmed out, Delly hit a wide open triple as the Raps recovery scramble was late following a magnificent one-handed swing pass from Malcolm Brogdon in the corner.
Milwaukee then went up 73-70 on a Tony Snell dunk in transition, as their trap of DeRozan off a screen led to Jonas Valanciunas having to make a play, and his pass to the nearside corner was picked off by a lurking Middleton. Following a Patterson miss on offence, Middleton exposed the mismatch he had on Cory Joseph, posting up and drawing a foul to get himself to the line where he made both.
The Bucks blitzed DeRozan again on the final possession of the quarter, forcing him to fire the ball to PJ Tucker who had no time or space against Brogdon, as the President blocked his shot with ease and the horn sounded.
For the Raptors to tie this series and grab the advantage moving forward, the execution and the decision making against the Bucks supporting cast needs to ramp up and ramp up quickly. If you can’t take advantage of this team when their unicorn is in the stable, you’re going to get trampled real quick.