NBA Playoffs – Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a series! Thanks to massive performances from their reserves, the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 120-102 in Game 4 to even their series in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Golden State Warriors have already advanced to the NBA Finals and are awaiting which of these teams will emerge victorious from the East.
The game was close early, but the Raptors were able to pull away in the second quarter when their bench players, led by Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka took control of the game. Even Fred VanVleet, who has been relatively quiet throughout this series woke up to contribute 13 points, three 3-pointers an six assists. Ibaka had a 17-point, 13-rebound double-double as he gave the Bucks all sorts of headaches in and around the paint. Norman Powell hit some big shots en route to his 18 points (four 3s), five rebounds and three dimes. These three players were the only reserves to score for Toronto but considering they combined for 48 points, they were definitely able to leave their mark on the game.
Kawhi Leonard, who hurt his leg in Game 3, was hobbling about in this one, possibly still hampered the injury. He finished the night with 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Kyle Lowry took charge, with Leonard not operating at 100 percent and put up his best game so far with 25 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 run at the line, adding five rebounds, three 3s and six assists.
The Bucks were struggling to find their flow in this one. They were lauded for having one of the best defenses in the league in the regular season, but the Raptors gave them a taste of their own medicine tonight. Only Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton wound up with noteworthy performances with 25 and 30 points, respectively.
The series heads back to Milwuakee on Thursday, where the Bucks will look to protect their homecourt advantage and secure a 3-2 lead in the series.