The Raptors adjusted to the Bucks style of play after a Game Three beatdown in Milwaukee and came back to win ugly in Game Four 87-76 and with devastating offense in front of the home crowd in Toronto 118-93 in Game Five.
As Bucks head coach Jason Kidd pointed out, the Raptors have been here before and his young Bucks haven’t.
“I think one, we’re lacking the experience of what’s coming,” Kidd responded postgame. “We can talk about it, but we have to go through the process. We have to walk through that door.
“For a lot of these guys they’ve never seen this. You’re talking about a team that’s been to the Eastern Conference Finals. They’ve been there and their coach has seen this before.”
The Raptors didn’t let the Bucks build up an early lead like they’ve been prone to do during the season and earlier in this series. From an 11-11 tie, Toronto went on an 20-9 run to close out the quarter and it’s a lead they would protect from Milwaukee’s best shots the rest of the way.
“We knew that they were going to come after us,” Kidd said. “We had to expect that and we just couldn’t respond. Then we started to get a little rhythm on the offensive end and our defense picked up and we just couldn’t get it under 10. It kept going to nine and it went back up. They would hit a three, We just couldn’t get it back under control.”
“I think they just did a great job setting the tone, hitting first,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “I think it’s a learning process for us.”
The Raptors spread the scoring out, led by second year guard Norman Powell with a postseason career best 25 points. Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 30 points, but it must have felt like he was the only one sinking baskets for his squad.
Game Six is back in Milwaukee on Thursday night and it’s a win or go on vacation for the Bucks.
“Win or you’re done,” Malcom Brogdon said. ” It’s as simple as that.
“If we want to continue to play, if we want to push it to a Game Seven, we have to win at home. I think we have the upper hand bein at home, but they have the upper hand with the momentum and the confidence.”
After winning Game Four in Milwaukee, the Raptors should believe they can wrap this series up on Thursday.