Instead of capitalizing with Antetokounmpo on the bench, the Raptors allowed the Bucks to close the quarter on an 11-4 run to take a five-point lead into the fourth quarter.
At first glance, the Toronto Raptors appear to be an easy choice to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series. Jonas Valanciunas had nine points and nine rebounds. Let’s say that the 30 National Basketball Association teams each played 10 guys per night. No matter what you do offensively, your rhythm is off or whatever, you can still run back on defence, make them feel you defensively which I didn’t think we did. “It’s definitely another step forward for me, but it’s just another game”.
Beneath the basket, Giannis Antetokounmpo elevated like Inspector Gadget and sent the ball flying with his right hand.
Antetokounmpo will be making his post-season debut, but Raptors coach Dwane Casey said what he lacks in experience, he’ll make up for with hustle.
“I remember one of the refs came to sideline and said “Hey, when are you going to get here?’ and I said soon, soon”. They had 28 points in transition and whether it’s scrambling, multiple efforts, next guy rotating, we didn’t do it. Milwaukee should be able to win at least once at home. While he didn’t light up the stat sheet (4 points and 3 rebounds in just 15 minutes of action), he made his presence felt with his incredible length and stellar defensive play. One, P.J. Tucker, a 31-year-old veteran of over 400 National Basketball Association games and many more overseas, the other, Thon Maker, a 20-year-old freshman with 57 games of National Basketball Association experience.
The athletic rookie’s high-energy play turned the game in the third quarter, sparking the Bucks to erase a six point deficit and take the lead.
Bucks coach Jason Kidd talked about the Raptors’ domination of his team.
The Bucks need more than just Antetokounmpo to win.
Giannis didn’t just produce on the offensive end, he made huge defensive plays too, as you can see from this wonderful block on Raptors star DeMar DeRozan. “It’s just Giannis being Giannis”. Antetokounmpo reminds him of one former teammate in particular. “He’s always focused and that’s just who he’s been since I’ve been around him”. I don’t know when, I don’t know where, but you know I’m going to make it tough for him. “It’s [fun] to watch because I’ve seen it before and I know it leads to greatness”. They are ready to compete, and they smelled blood in the water in Game 1.
The Raptors pulled their starters with 1:42 remaining and the Bucks ahead by 18 points. They hope the success under postseason-like intensity carries over into the Raptors series. The Raptors missed nine of their 33 free throws. They got next to nothing from Cory Joseph, Patrick Patterson, and P.J. Tucker. Now, they’d like to advance past the first round for the first time since going to the conference finals in 2001 with Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson leading the way. “It’s more recognition than anything”.
Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love had 17 for Cleveland, which has won 12 straight playoff games at home.
“So it’s about just doing whatever you can to slow them down”. Assists-Milwaukee 22 (Middleton 9), Toronto 15 (Lowry 6). Ibaka scored 10 points in the first and DeRozan had 10 in the second, going 6 for 6 from the free throw line.
However, losing Game 1 doesn’t mean the series is over.
In the first round last season, Lowry shot 32 percent from the field and 16 percent on 3-pointers in Toronto’s seven-game series victory against the Pacers.