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NBA Playoffs Poll: Who wins Game 4 in Milwaukee?

Perhaps the most stressful “who ya got?” in recent memory.

NBA: Playoffs-Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

In Toronto, the 2015 playoffs are only spoken of in hushed tones. They are a time we’d all rather forget. To watch the Raptors fold in realtime, after throwing out their best punches (and shimmies), was extremely hard to watch. By the time Game 4 of that Washington series rolled around, we knew it was over. The Raptors would go on to lose by 31 — they knew it was over too.

Today’s Game 4 against the Bucks is not quite the same situation, but the tenor and terms surrounding it feel similar. The Raptors are again the higher seed, and began the series as the favourite to advance. They stand opposed by the better singular player (as is almost always the case — see: George, Wall, LeBron, Giannis), and a surfeit of players who seem designed to stop exactly the type of game they want to play. The stakes are very high.

Confidence in the Raptors, however, is at a low right now. (I won’t say an all-time low, because this team has pushed us to some dark corners of our collective psyche.) Game 3 of this series was over in approximately five minutes, as the Bucks, energized by a frenzied home crowd, ran sprinted out to a lead. They were the hungrier team. When a score jumps from 13-8 to 32-12, something is wrong on a bone deep level. But like 2015, we don’t want to talk about it; the pain is too great. The team’s belief in itself was put to the test — and it failed.

It feels like a cliche to say that the Raptors have to play harder, but, well, they do. They have to attack the traps of the Bucks’ defense. They have to leverage their superior muscle near the basket. They need to remember the tactics and character that got them to 51 wins, a 3-seed, and a shot at being the best team in the conference. Remember those halcyon days from a week ago, when some thought the Raptors had a shot at the NBA Finals? I do.

I’m fascinated to see the results of the poll today. Raptors fans have a dark streak running through them, a panic that comes out when the team is tested. It took a lot of work for these Raptors to finally get anywhere in the playoffs, and despite the steps they took, the moves they made, the growth they supposedly experienced, we continue to be shaken in our belief. The spectre of events from 2015, and other years, still looms. We are reminded of the franchise’s largely ignoble legacy. We starve for a different outcome.

When will it be Toronto’s time? Is today the day we see something special?

I know I want to believe.

Poll

Who wins Game 4?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Raptors, never in doubt
    (243 votes)
  • 31%
    Bucks, I’m having flashbacks
    (113 votes)
356 votes total Vote Now