Game 4 was your typical early Saturday afternoon game. The Raptors scored 30 in the second half of a loss at Charlotte on January 20, 2017.
James had 41 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists and two blocks in leading the largest half-time comeback in National Basketball Association play-off history. Star guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for 51 points to lead Toronto, which employed a physical, grinding style that wore down Milwaukee as the game - tied at 41 at halftime - went on.
"I have always said we are at our best in a precarious situation", said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "It's a tough way to live, but I love our team's resilient personality". This team is on the cusp of contending in the East for years to come, but they've first got to do what veteran teams do - act like they belong here.
"Every game is a different story".
"I thought Norm performed".
The Bucks didn't appear to have any answers or counterpunches of their own.
Those in the media that talk to the players can tell you that when athletes praise the fans, it's not just a PR move to boost jersey sales.
If they can play it cool, the Bucks will bring even more hype with them to the second round, where they'd most likely play another grizzled playoff machine in LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Lowry, who had been 2-of-7 in the first half, was getting free - driving, dishing passes, hitting three-point shots and drawing fouls. He's been the best player on the court by far in this series.
"This is a terrific partnership we've created along with Dion Petty and his Delta team in Milwaukee to help spread the excitement of the NBA Playoffs throughout the city and into the skies", Bucks Chief Operating Officer Mike McCarthy said. When Powell drilled a three-pointer with four minutes left, it gave Toronto a 10-point lead and prompted a "Let's go Raptors!" cheer from one section of the arena.
"We seemed to be walking the ball up". "They found a way to slow us down and our tempo really slowed in the second half and came to a halt". "And we have to make another adjustment to figure it out and counter the things that they do and figure it out and go play".
Khris Middleton scored 20 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19 points to lead the Bucks, who are making their first playoff appearance in two seasons. That's on top of his game-high 33 points.More news: Trump considers action on NAFTA ahead of 100-day mark
In a game the home crowd will be eager to forget, the Milwaukee Bucks fell to the Toronto Raptors 87-76. But after a forgettable Game 3, DeRozan said the team stayed patient and remained confident. He looked nearly unstoppable, torching every defender Milwaukee tried on him.
"We were aggressive on both ends", DeRozan said.
"It was big from the first play", All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo said about the home-court environment.
DeRozan said the Raptors have to be willing to roll with whatever changes are made. We had 24 assists in Game 2, last night we tried to beat them with the dribble. Talent and experience and youth will obviously play a role, but the team better able to both hand out and absorb punishment is going to win the series.
DeRozan added nine rebounds and five assists. Afterward, he agreed with his coach's assessment of Milwaukee's performance. I think they had so much freedom [in Game 3].
Gasol "told me he was going to get it and go to his fadeaway, and that's what he did", Randolph said. For a team that lacks playoff experience and has an average age just north of 24, meeting expectations can often prove more hard than facing an opponent. Toronto had nothing to show for its first six 3-point attempts.
The Busting Bucks are in accelerated growth mode, maturing ahead of schedule and at the exact wrong time for the Raptors. "We needed more drives, more kick-outs to have their defense scrambling because they're so long".
Game four is in Memphis on Saturday.
The pace of this game favoured Toronto.
NOTES: Milwaukee has not held a 2-1 lead in a playoff series since taking two of the first three games from Charlotte in the 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals.
Game 5 is Tuesday night in San Antonio.