What a difference home cooking makes! Six different Raptors scored in double-figures, and none of them was named Pascal Siakam. The leading rebounder, Serge Ibaka (13 boards), only played 24 minutes. Norman Powell took the “Playoff Norm” title to heart, launching 13(!) three-pointers. It was the type of game that reminded everyone why the Raptors are legitimate title contenders. With the series now a best-of-three, Toronto’s got the momentum, best player in the series (albeit hobbled), and defensive answers to each of Milwaukee’s weapons.
Before the Raptors head to Milwaukee to try and steal home-court, listen along as the boys of That’s A Rap break down the Raptors’ monumental Game Four victory.
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The Bucks limited Pascal Siakam to seven points, dished out 30 assists, and finally got the Khris Middleton breakout game (30/6/7 and 4 triples) they’d been waiting for. Yet, it’s the Raptors who blew out their opponent, thanks in large part to Kyle Lowry and the Bench V.I.P. (VanVleet-Ibaka-Powell)
Lowry’s performance cannot be understated. He was assertive on offense and tenacious on defense. The extra pep in his step was apparent as he hit two early threes. Marc Gasol turned in another outstanding performance.
The defense was clicking on all fronts, from switching to limiting transition opportunities to forcing turnovers. It’s been said that players win games, coaches lose them. However, Nick Nurse deserves credit for the game plan he put together and the matchups he was able to dictate on both ends.
After shutting down Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton in Game Three, the Raptors shut down everyone else in Game Four. The team effort and comfortable lead afforded Kawhi Leonard some much-needed rest.
While it’s fair to point out the Raptors’ hesitancy to crash the offensive glass, the payoff is limiting the Bucks’ deadly transition game. Foul trouble may have limited Siakam’s minutes, but it also allowed others to step up. If there’s one glaring negative from the game, it’s that Middleton re-discovered his all-star form (on the offensive end). Is that an acceptable trade-off for basically shutting down every other Buck?
Norm has played well enough to deserve a starting role. However, his energy and scoring ability has been crucial off the bench. Plus, Danny Green’s defense and ability to create space on the offensive end are paying off in underrated ways.
Just as the Raptors looked lost and lacking enough counters after Game Two, the Bucks now look like a deer in headlights!
1:35 - Bench V.I.P.
6:25 - K.L.O.E.
10:45 - Negatives
10:46 - But really more positives (see what I did there?)
16:05 - Should Powell start?
17:50 - Should Brogdon start?