Norman Powell is starting for Toronto in Game 4

Jane Richards
April 23, 2017

It was ugly from the start. Raptors coach Dwane Casey made his first lineup change of the series, starting Norman Powell in place of Jonas Valanciunas. "They put together a game plan and sometimes a game plan is what we follow and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't".

In the Game 1, the Raptors DeRozan has scored 27 points as a game-high. Giannis' performance was validation of the incredible year he's having as he continues to transform into a superstar while playoff Greg Monroe left an imprint in his first ever playoff game finishing with 14 points, 15 rebounds, two assists and a steal in 26 minutes off the bench.

"They came out and threw the first punch", Toronto guard DeMarre Carroll said. "It's a bad feeling, the way we got our (rear) beat". "We need to talk about Tony Snell", GiannisAntetokounmpo noted.

Milwaukee can take solace in the fact it was able to remain competitive deep into the fourth quarter despite an off night from Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks shot 52.7 percent from the floor (39 of 74) and 52.2 percent from long range (12 of 23).

Khris Middleton scored 20 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19 points to lead the Bucks, who are making their first playoff appearance in two seasons.

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ABOUT THE RAPTORS: Toronto was ice cold from the outset while shooting 33.8 percent from the field in the embarrassing effort, but All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry insisted the club can recover. On defense, the Raptors have been unable to adjust to the Bucks' game plan thus far and are getting picked apart. Bucks, after some great runs like one of 9-0 in the middle of first quarter were up 32-12 after 12 minutes.

"I mean the Spurs were punking us". He was more aggressive, as he promised to be, but he wasn't just hunting for his own shots. Sometimes it gets to me. Get it? The Raps are purple dinosaurs, too! Head coach Jason Kidd's squad was relentless on the offensive glass to create a flurry of second-chance opportunities down the stretch, but the Bucks just never found their shooting stroke to make a serious charge.

Casey can relate, but he knows there's a game to be played Friday night, a game the Raptors must win or this series will be over.

Milwaukee extended the lead to 34 near the end of the third quarter, while Toronto struggled for form against the Bucks stifling defense. The last two times it happened, Toronto responded with winning streaks of six and four games, respectively. Milwaukee aims to take a 3-1 series lead over visiting Toronto on Saturday after steamrolling the Raptors 104-77 in Game 3. "I still think we can win the series", Lowry said after Game 3.

"We'll make changes. We made changes going into the second half, but whoever goes in has to go in and make a difference, and we didn't", Casey said. Whoever goes in has to go in and make a difference, and we didn't. The first ball tip-off of the Game 3 is scheduled on 03:00 pm ET. As a staff, we have to do a better job of finding ways to open space and finding ways to score. The Raptors want their ballhandlers to anticipate the traps before they come and get rid of the ball immediately.

Trading shoves and in the paint and hand-checks on the perimeter, the Bucks matched the Raptors' rise in defensive intensity with Toronto desperate to tie the series going back to Canada. According to the predictions, the Milwaukee Bucks will move towards their lead to 3-1 in the series. Why was the Toronto win in Game 2 fool's gold? Milwaukee's particularly locked down on Toronto's gunners Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, with the latter scoring his first points at the stripe after the halfway point of the second period with the Bucks already comfortably ahead by 31.

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