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.
The Bucks took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven first-round Eastern Conference playoff series. They didn't, thanks in part to Khris Middleton's continued hot streak in the series (he finished with 20, majority coming in the first half when the Bucks made sure to put the game away) and some fantastic bench performances, led again by Greg Monroe (16 points, 7 rebounds).
A free throw by Antetokounmpo with five-and-a-half minutes left pulled the Bucks to within five points, but the Raptors, who led the league in comeback victories this season, refused to get frazzled.
DeMar DeRozan had his best playoff performance in Game 4 with 33 points, five assists and nine rebounds on 12-of-22 shooting from the field. Yes, the Raptors have a substantial more amount of experience than the young Bucks and yes overall they have the edge in talent although no one comes close to the seemingly endless talent possessed within the 7-foot frame of 22-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo. With the Raptors defense making their offense look sluggish and out of sorts from start to finish, the Bucks dropped an 87-76 decision that evened the series at 2-2 and cost them the home-court advantage they had stolen with a victory in the opener. You just gotta play basketball, try to be disciplined, just try to get the game.
Can you have faith they'll deliver?
"It's on us to come out this next game and tie it up". The Bucks have two wins and leads 2-1 series.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey knows his team isn't going to be able to shut down Antetokounmpo completely, but will aim to neutralize him as the series moves to Milwaukee for Games 3 and 4 beginning on Thursday.
The pace of this game favoured Toronto. JV didn't miss all game, hitting 5 field goals and a pair of free throws.
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The Raptors had just 28 points in the Bucks' paint in the game to the 38 the Bucks had and simply could not find the three-point game at all to make up for that huge deficit inside.
"We were just trying to send as many bodies to him as we possibly could", Casey said.
The Bucks played the theme song from your favorite children's show "Barney & Friends" as they introduced the Raptors' starting lineup.
The leather-lunged crowd of 18,717 fans at BMO Harris Bradley Center - including quarterback Aaron Rodgers and several Green Bay Packers teammates - sounded louder from the opening tipoff than at any moment during Game 1 or 2 back in Toronto. The Toronto Raptors came into Milwaukee tied at 1-1 in their series, after the Bucks came in and beat down the Raps in their city back in Game 1.
Giannis finished with 19-8-4 and two assists and two blocks, but he could have easily had another 19 if his team had needed them. What do they get in Game 5?
A couple of bad Toronto turnovers prompted a Bucks' run that gave them a seven-point lead with 5:33 left in the first half.
"I was just going quick, being aggressive, not waiting on the doubles", DeRozan said. The Raptors scored 30 in the second half of a loss at Charlotte on January 20, 2017.
Can the Milwaukee Bucks even out the series?