Published: Sat, May 06, 2017
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

Raptors get tough, beat Bucks to tie series at 2-2

April 22, 2017; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) tips the ball away from Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the second quarter in game four of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at BMO Harris Bradley Center.

But while that effort gave the Bucks their first 2-1 series advantage since taking two of the first three from the Charlotte Hornets in the 2001 Eastern semifinals, Bucks coach Jason Kidd was again preaching the importance of perspective as the team prepared for today's Game 4 at the Bradley Center.

In the second quarter, backup center Greg Monroe entered and ran a low-post clinic on Toronto's overmatched big men, scrappy guard Matthew Dellavedova hit some shots and got on Raptors star Kyle Lowry's nerves, and Milwaukee's lead grew to almost 30 points.

After combining to score 53 points in Tuesday night's win, Raptors all-star tandem DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry shot just 4-18 from the field in a forgettable performance.

It also got another shooter into the game for the Raptors and Powell, who pulled a similar series-changing appearance in Game 5 against in, delivered with 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting and a huge charge he drew on a driving Maker late in the game when the Bucks still had designs on a comeback.

The Wizards got 29 points from John Wall, who was 10 of 12 from the field and added seven assists and four rebounds. The Bucks took a 20 point lead by the end of the first quarter, and essentially held that large margin for the rest of the game. I'll go into more detail about the players in the Game 3 and 4 recap, but it's clear they did just what they set out to do.

"I thought, one, the fans were great here at home, giving us the support from start to finish", he said.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks will be going back to the drawing board after falling flat on their faces in Game 3.

"They ambushed us", Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.

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They played Toronto on their turf through the first two games of the series. He was held to 12 points on 6-of-20 shooting, missing all six of his attempts beyond the arc. Unless the Raptors demolish the Bucks for three straight games, I don't know how any Raptors fan isn't concerned with this team.

LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers have a commanding 3-0 lead in their series after eradicating a 25-point half-time deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers 119-114 in Indianapolis.

The Raptors went 4-1 this season following losses by 15 points or more. But for the first time in the series, the Bucks showed their age.

"We know what to expect from them", Casey said. He didn't make a field goal, and slid more in his 30 minutes of play than Rickey Henderson ever did in his baseball career. "He's making threes. That's something we've got to make sure we understand, and not let someone else have a big night".

"Coach is going to make his decision and ultimately we have to go with his decision", Lowry said. After Antetokounmpo controlled the paint in Game 1, the Raptors took away his easy shots under the basket and made him work for his 24 points in Game 2.

Here's the frustrating thing about Toronto: it didn't feel like a turning point. 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.

Toronto continues to be softer than baby poop, the Bucks are beating them up, and until that changes, no other adjustments in this series will matter.

Nevertheless, the contrast after three games is heavy: The Bucks look like they have found ways to slow the Toronto stars, while Giannis is adjusting after each game and within each game.

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