Bucks Lead

Bucks Look to Bounce Back in Game 5

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The Milwaukee Bucks took both games against the Raptors at the Forum to go up 2-0 in the Conference Finals. Game three was a poor showing from both sides. Both teams shot under 40 percent from the field, but the Raptors ended up taking the win in double overtime. The way I look at it, it took arguably the worst game the Bucks played all season just for the Raptors to send it to overtime. With the final being 118-112, they put up a good fight, but ultimately fell short. With a poor showing in game 3, Giannis looked to bounce back in game 4. He did just that, but his performance wasn’t enough to lead them to the win. He came out strong in the first quarter, as did the rest of the team, keeping the deficit at one point. But everything started to fall apart after that. The Bucks ended up down 65-55 at halftime, and after that, couldn’t manage to get things back on track, losing 120-102.

Free Throws Can Help Bucks Bounce Back

Free throw shooting was a key factor in both road losses. Championship teams need to be able to hit their free throws at a decent clip, which is something the Bucks did not do. In Game 3 they shot 22 of 33 from the line, and in game 4 went just 17 for 26 for a combined 66 percent clip. The Raptors, on the other hand, shot 21 for 26 in game 3 and 24 for 27 in game 4 for a combined 85 percent.

Giannis went 2 of 7 from the line in game 3 and made 6 of 10 in game 4. He has struggled from the charity stripe all postseason and it hasn’t hurt the Bucks a whole lot. But when you go against the second-seeded team in the conference, every point counts because it’s going to be a tough battle. Three of his misses in game 3 came in the 4th quarter or later. Seeing how the game went to overtime, one could argue the game came down to missed free throws. Of course, he wasn’t the only one missing easy chances. But superstar players have to be able to hit freebies in crunch time.

Game 4 was a bit of a different story as a whole. It wasn’t exactly a nail-biter. The Bucks missed nine free throws, but the more important stat is the fact the Raptors were 24 for 27, with Kyle Lowry making 10 of 10. With the Raptors shooting that many free throws, it changes the game. The Bucks aren’t the best half court team in the NBA, as they get a lot of their points pushing the tempo in transition. They can’t play true to their strengths.

Giannis Can Bounce Back Strong

When Giannis has a poor performance like he did in game 3, he usually can bounce back the next game. He did just that in game 4, outside of his free throw struggles. Giannis came out with a couple of emphatic dunks in the first quarter of game 4, and did a little of everything on offense and defense. The game didn’t end the way he hoped it would, but he still finished with a 25 point, 10 rebound double-double.

The silver lining to that is that he can hopefully carry that performance into game 5 when they head home to Milwaukee. Giannis won’t be going down without a fight, no matter the cost. The Bucks go into game 5 tied 2-2 in the series. It’s a best of three series now, and the Bucks have home court advantage. And if we know anything, it’s that the home team has come away with victories in this series.

Game 5 Preview

As the Bucks head back home, they look to use their home court advantage and go up 3-2 in the series. With great performances from Khris Middleton and Giannis in game 4, they’ll need more of the same coming back to Fiserv Forum. The Raptors are showing they aren’t going out without a fierce fight. Their bench was able to bounce back in a big way in game 4, outplaying the Bucks bench and finally giving Kawhi Leonard a bit of rest. Leonard was looking fatigued at times in game 4 and was hampered by a minor injury of sorts. If Kawhi is rested and not nursing his injury, it’ll be a tough road ahead.

The Bucks need a better showing from their backcourt in game 5. Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill combined for 14 points on 5/20 shooting in the last contest. Bledsoe in particular has struggled for the majority of the playoffs and needs to bounce back. However, Hill and Brogdon have been productive for the most part, disregarding game 4. If those two can come in, lead the bench mob and light it up like they’re used to doing, then it’ll take the load off the starters and they can rest up. With how gritty this series has been, Milwaukee needs all the production they can get out of the roster.

Note to the Fans

Bucks fans, the team needs you right now. They need your relentless energy that you bring to the arena and the Deer District. They want to bring not just the pennant, but the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Milwaukee. It’s been a long time coming. They deserve it, and we as a city deserve it. Just like Milwaukee is taking a break from Drake, let’s break Drake and the Raptors.

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