Game 5 Preview: Raptors vs Bucks
Toronto Raptors (2-2) @ Milwaukee Bucks (2-2)
When: Thursday, May 23, 8:30 P.M. ET
Where: Fiserv Forum
Leading into tonight’s game:
- Injury report: For the Raptors, OG Anunoby (appendectomy), Jordan Loyd (coach’s decision) and Patrick McCaw (personal reasons) are out. For the Bucks, Donte DiVincenzo (bilateral heel bursitis) and Pau Gasol (left foot surgery) are listed as out.
- All square: The Raptors are on the road in Milwaukee to play Game 5 against the Bucks. Thanks to a huge Game 4 win at Scotiabank Arena, the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series is tied at two games apiece. In Tuesday's Game 4 victory, Toronto’s bench unit outscored Milwaukee's reserves 48-23 as the Raptors had six scorers reach double figures.
- Recent History: The Raptors picked up a strong 120-102 Game 4 win in Toronto. Toronto led by one after the first quarter, 10 at the half, and 13 after three before breaking the game all the way open early in the fourth. The Raptors were led by Kyle Lowry’s 25 points, a 19-point effort from Kawhi Leonard and a 17-point, team-high seven assist night from Marc Gasol. The bench was huge for Toronto with Serge Ibaka adding 17 points and 13 rebounds and Norman Powell scoring 18 points. The Bucks were led by a 25-point, 10-rebound, five-assist, three-block performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo and 30 points from Khris Middleton in the loss.
- All-defence: The NBA announced on Wednesday that Kawhi Leonard has been named to the 2018-19 NBA All-Defensive Second Team. This is his fifth selection to the NBA All-Defensive Team, and the first time in franchise history that a Raptors player has received the honour. Leonard averaged career-highs in points (26.6) and rebounds (7.3) to go with 3.3 assists and 1.8 steals in 34 minutes per game in 60 games this season. In the postseason, Leonard’s averages have gone up as he’s averaged 31.2 points 8.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks while shooting 52 percent from the floor and 39 percent from beyond the arc. In just his first season with Toronto, Leonard is already fourth on the list of franchise playoff scoring leaders, trailing Jonas Valanciunas for third place by just 45 points.
- Playoff Norm: For the third straight game in this series, Norman Powell has been huge for Toronto off the bench. On Tuesday, Powell led all reserves with 18 points in 33 minutes of action. He added five rebounds, three assists and a steal, but most impressive was that the Raptors were a +29 when Powell was on the floor. Toronto is a perfect 9-0 this season (regular season and playoffs combined) when Powell scores at least 15 points.
- Quick scorer: Kyle Lowry had a huge Game 4 effort, leading the team in scoring with 25 points, but also adding five rebounds and six assists in his 34 minutes. He shot 6-for-11 from the floor, 3-for-7 from beyond the arc and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. “I do feel like Kyle sees opportunities for himself in this series,” Nick Nurse said of his starting point guard. Lowry scored 18 of his 25 points in the first half as he helped Toronto build a 10-point advantage heading into the break. “I think Kyle is usually an early, early scorer,” Nurse said. “He knows leads are precious and he’s trying to jumpstart that. He was humongous last night. We didn't get off to a great start and I think he automatically changed that by himself.” Lowry needs eight points to tie DeMar DeRozan as the franchise leader in playoff scoring. Lowry is already the franchise playoff leader in three-pointers made, assists, steals and minutes played.