Milwaukee’s Monday night matchup with the Toronto Raptors proved to be a game of runs, and in Game 5, the Raptors just had more runs in them than the Bucks.
The score wasn’t close, as the Raptors took a 3-2 series lead convincingly with a 118-93 victory.
The first major run of the game came from Toronto, who went on a 17-0 run early in the first to put them ahead 26-11.
“Our defense got hit there in the first quarter,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “We knew they were going to come after us; we had to expect that.”
That was the story the whole night. The Raptors would go on a run, that was briefly answered by the Bucks, but not by enough to keep them in contention.
By the fourth quarter, Milwaukee trailed by 18 and never came within 13.
“We just couldn’t respond,” Kidd said. “Then we started to get a little rhythm on the offensive end and our defense picked up. And we just couldn’t get it under 10. It would go to nine and they would hit a three. We just couldn’t get it back under control.”
Norman Powell was the surprise star of the game, leading the Raptors in scoring with 25 points. Powell was inserted into the starting lineup before Game 4, sending Jonas Valanciunas to the bench to try and give the Raptors a little extra speed.
“Powell has come in with a lot of energy on both sides of the ball and they’re feeding off of that,” Jason said. “He’s playing extremely hard and he’s knocking down shots. When you look at the stat sheet, he’s picked them up here the last couple of games just with his energy and his spirit.”
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had a terrific bounce back performance after struggling in Game 4, scoring 30 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
But even with his terrific play, the Bucks committed too many turnovers, 15, which lead to 22 Raptors points.
The Bucks have the current advantage of playing Game 6 at home, but the Raptors have the experience of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.
“We’re lacking the experience of what’s coming,” Kidd said. “We can talk about it, but we have to go through that process. We have to walk through that door.”
Statistically, a team with a 3-2 series lead goes on to win 82 percent of the time. Some say ignorance is bliss, and with such a young and inexperienced team, that might be the case for the Bucks. We’ll find out Thursday night if this youthful Bucks team is up for the challenge.
“For a lot of these guys, they’ve never seen this. You’re talking about a team (Toronto) that has been to the Eastern Conference finals. They’ve been there,” J-Kidd said. “You go down, 3-2, you’ve got to go home and try to protect home and force a Game 7. That’s all we can focus on now is Game 6. And we’ve got to be desperate and hungry.”