Round 3 Game 4 Rap

It was over when… the Milwaukee Bucks started subbing out their starters with 3:39 remaining and the Raptors leading by 19. Toronto would go on to record a 120-102 Game 4 victory to tie their best-of-seven series against the Bucks 2-2.

A solid start: The Raptors got off to a good start on Tuesday night, thanks in large part to a 12-point first-quarter effort from Kyle Lowry. Though the Bucks shot 55 percent in the opening quarter compared to Toronto’s 48 percent shooting, the Raptors connected on 6-of-12 three-pointers and led 32-31 after the opening 12 minutes. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 11 points.

Build the lead: The Raptors stepped up the defence in the second quarter and it paid off in a big way. Milwaukee’s field-goal percentage dropped to just 33 percent in the quarter, and the Bucks were outscored 33-24 in the frame as the Raptors built a 10-point halftime lead, going into the locker room ahead 65-55. Serge Ibaka led Toronto in the second quarter, scoring 10 points, while Khris Middleton scored 13 points to lead Milwaukee. Kyle Lowry led all scorers with 18 points in the half.

Continue to push: The Bucks came out firing after halftime, but the Raptors kept the pace thanks to an 11-point effort from Kawhi Leonard in the third quarter. Milwaukee shot 52 percent and the teams traded three-pointers at the end of the quarter, but Toronto held on to win the third 29-26, and take a 13-point advantage into the fourth.

Closing time: With a series-tying win in sight, the Raptors kept the intensity and effort high in the final frame, shooting 50 percent while holding the Bucks to 42 percent shooting from the floor, including a 1-for-8 effort from beyond the arc. Toronto’s bench starred late, with Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka playing much of the quarter allowing Raptors head coach Nick Nurse to rest his starters -- especially those who played major minutes in Sunday’s double-overtime affair -- for much of the quarter.

Raptors player of the game: Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with a team-high 25-point effort in Game 4. He played 34 minutes and shot 6-for-11 from the floor, 3-for-7 from beyond the arc and a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. Lowry added five rebounds and six assists while also drawing a charge as well.

Underrated Raptors player(s) of the game: It’s hard to single out any one player as Toronto’s Game 4 victory was a team effort in every way. From Kawhi Leonard’s 19-point, seven-assist, four-steal, two-block performance, in addition to a stellar defensive effort, to a 17-point, team-high seven assist night from Marc Gasol, there are plenty performances worth mentioning on Tuesday night. The bench, of course, was phenomenal for Toronto in Game 4,. The Raptors were a +29 with Norman Powell on the floor. Powell played 21 minutes, scoring 18 points off the bench. Serge Ibaka came off the bench to post a double-double, with 17 points and 13 rebounds and Fred VanVleet added 13 points and six assists.

That’s a rap…

 “Keep the same energy that we’ve been playing with, the same mindset, the same discipline, hopefully, the same result.” - Marc Gasol when asked about going on the road for Game 5

By the #’s…

47… Percent shooting for Toronto, 46 percent for Milwaukee.

14… Made three-pointers for the Raptors in 41 attempts. The Bucks connected on 11-of-35 attempts from distance.

6… Players in double figures for the Raptors, three for the Bucks.

48… Bench points scored by Toronto compared to 23 bench points scored by Milwaukee.

44… Rebounds for the Raptors, including 10 offensive rebounds. 40 rebounds for the Bucks, seven offensive rebounds.

17… Toronto scored 17 points off 13 Milwaukee turnovers. In comparison, the Bucks managed to score just five points of 11 Toronto turnovers.

They said it…

“I think the first two games they really brought the intensity to us. They really came out and were more physical, were more active. We wanted to change that narrative coming home. We wanted to protect home court. We wanted to come out with a lot of juice, be the aggressors, be more physical and take the game to them. I think we really did that in Game 3 and Game 4.” - Norman Powell on the way the team has played in two wins at home

“I think we stayed level-headed. I think we understood the situation. They did what they were supposed to do on their home floor, and we did what we were supposed to do on our home floor. Now we've got to go out there and continue to do what we've done the last two games and put it into Game 5. We know it's going to be tough. We know they're going to come out amped and ready to go. Some of the things we can continue to get better at is transition defence and catching-and-shooting and shooting the shots that are there.” - Kyle Lowry on tying the series at 2-2 and understanding the challenge ahead

“I think what Kawhi brings, regardless of who he is matched up on, is great size. He's got great strength. He's got a really good instinct to play defence as well, so he's showing you a lot by just presenting himself in front of you. He's got good feet. I don't want to say this fourth; it probably should be first. But he wants to stop you, and that goes a long way. Those are four pretty good things.” - Nick Nurse talking about what makes Kawhi Leonard such a good defender when speaking to the media prior to Game 4 

“I think it was incredible, man. Those guys, they came in, they brought energy, they rebounded the basketball, they ran. Just the way they played, man — it's definitely inspiring. And I'm glad we had those guys. We always knew, you know? We have a really deep team. And I think it showed tonight. And I'm just excited for those guys — Norm, Fred, Serge, coming off the bench and playing the way they played tonight.” - Pascal Siakam on the boost from the bench in Game 4

Up next… With the series tied 2-2, things shift back to Milwaukee where the Bucks will host Toronto in Game 5 on Thursday, May 23rd at 8:30 P.M. ET.