How the Raptors Managed to Put Pressure on the Bucks for a Pivotal Game 5

May 22, 2019 - 12:01 pm

The Milwaukee Bucks-Toronto Raptors Eastern Conference Finals suddenly got interesting on Tuesday night.

After dropping the first two games of the series to the Bucks, the Raptors eeked out a win in overtime in game three and have now tied the series at two games apiece with their 120-102 Game four victory over Milwaukee.

Kyle Lowry led the way for the Raptors with 25 points, six assists and five rebounds while Kawhi Leonard finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, four steals and two blocks in the win.

The series now becomes a best-of-three as it heads back to Milwaukee for Game 5 where the Bucks are 6-1 this postseason.

For the Bucks to turn things around in Game 5, they will need more production from players not named Giannis Antetokounmpo, particularly on their bench. Milwaukee's bench was outscored 48-23 by Toronto's in game four. 

This is great news for the Raptors, who have demonstrated a formula to win without relying heavily on Leonard, but it happened to come on a night that the Bucks played their worst defense in the postseason.

Even if the Bucks’ defense can return to form in Game 5, they have not really found an answer for Leonard, despite holding him to 19 points on Tuesday.

Leonard scored at least 30 in each of the first three games and was able to take a back seat while his supporting cast took advantage of the attention he received on defense.

Yet it was the games where the rest of the Raptors’ were held in check that the Bucks won. If they wish to swing the series back into their favor they will need to hone in on making sure Leonard does not get any help from his teammates.

If he does, then Milwaukee could be on the brink of elimination heading back to Toronto for Game 6.