Norman Powell was draining threes, throwing down dunks that would have won the contest All-Star weekend, and he finished with a career playoff-high 25 points on just 11 shots. Plus defensively he caused Khris Middleton trouble.
The Raptors finished with 28 assists, the most in a playoff game since Dwane Casey took over as coach.
Toronto shot 57.7 percent overall, a franchise playoff best.
The Raptors bench played well pitching in 27 points and growing the lead when they were in, part of an overall strong night from the role players in Toronto.
Toronto raced out to an early lead and went on to rout the Bucks 118-93, giving the Raptors a 3-2 series lead.
This was a game where the Bucks tried to force the ball out of the hands of Lowry and DeRozan as much as they could, using their length and athleticism. However, Lowry had 10 assists, and DeRozan would get the ball off pindown screens and feel the double coming, move the ball, and another quick pass or two later the role-playing player Raptors were getting good looks and knocking them down. Or throwing it down like this.
Toronto just looked more comfortable against the Bucks pressure, having seen it for so many games in a row, than they have all series.
The question for the young Bucks team is how does it bounce back from this kind of loss in the biggest NBA game most of them have ever played? Can they get their defensive edge back?
“We’re going to miss some shots, and we can’t let our offense dictate our defense,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said postgame. “And also the turnovers, again. Right off the bat we had three…
“Our defense kind of got hit there in the first quarter, we knew that they were going to come after us, we had to expect that. And we just couldn’t respond.”
The Bucks had some runs in the second quarter and got the lead to nine at one point, but the Raptors always seemed to be in control.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had another strong game with 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting, and rookie Malcolm Brogdon pitched in 19 points on 11 shots, but for the most part the Bucks struggled with their offense in this game. As their coach noted — and as often happens to young teams — they let their offensive woes impact the other end of the court.
At home, the Bucks will likely feel more comfortable, and they will fight for their playoff lives.
The question is, can the Raptors be this sharp again and close them out? Or will the yo-yo nature of this team continue?