MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Bucks fell at home in Game 5 to the Toronto Raptors 105-99.
Player of the game: Kawhi Leonard
Leonard played a game-high 40 minutes, scored a game-high 35 points, dished out nine assists and grabbed seven rebounds. He absolutely took over in the fourth dropping 15 points (4-9 FG, 2-3 3PT).
He scored or assisted on 62 points which is the most in any game of his career. But his impact defensively may have been even bigger. He was the primary defender on Giannis for most of the night holding him to 24 points (9-18 FG).
“I know coaches are like this a little bit, but I | as impressive as his offense is, and it’s impressive | I get more impressed when he’s down there guarding and making plays and blocking shots and flying in for rebounds,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. “And my favorite thing is when he just decides once or twice a game to just go take it from somebody and go the other way, those are huge momentum plays, and that’s impressive to me.”
Play of the game: Malcolm Brogdon turns it over
There are so many plays you could look at that tilted the game, but this was really the last shot for the Bucks to stay in the game. With 26 seconds left and Milwaukee down by three, Brogdon had the ball knocked away from him by Pascal Siakam’s knee which bounced off Brogdon and out of bounds.
The good: The start
Milwaukee got off to a promising start finishing the first quarter with a 32-22 lead. Their defense was switching which frustrated the Raptors forcing them into bad shots. Toronto shot just 35% (7-20). Also, Leonard picked up his second foul with just over four minutes left in the quarter.
It seemed like everything was going right for the Bucks and they were back to playing their style of basketball. Fiserv Forum was loud and cheering their team on as they believed the Bucks were on the verge of riding their home court to a Game 5 win.
Bledsoe had his best quarter of the series scoring nine points (3-4 FG) as he found his jumper knocking down two mid-rangers and one three-pointer. Brogdon looked like he bounced back from a poor Game 4 dropping eight points (3-5 FG) in the first quarter.
The not so good: Nikola Mirotic
Brogdon got the start in favor of Mirotic and performed well. He finished with 18 points (8-17 FG, 2-6 3PT) and 11 rebounds. However, Mirotic, off the bench was less than impressive. His shooting struggles continued. In nine minutes of play, Mirotic failed to hit a shot on his four attempts and three shots from deep finishing with zero points.
“We’ll evaluate everything and see how Niko fits,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He gives us great spacing, great shooting. If he can help us off the bench, then obviously we’ll use him, and he can be very helpful to us.”
The weird: Bakhtiari, Rodgers, Yelich and beer
It was probably the highlight of the night.
Stat of the game: 21 points for Fred VanVleet
VanVleet was a Bucks killer Thursday night pouring in 21 points off the bench He knocked down seven of his nine attempts from beyond the arc. The role players have been huge in this series and have been the difference in each game. VanVleet had the highest plus-minus (28) of the game in his 37 minutes of play.
“Way to play,” Kyle Lowry said about VanVleet after the game. “It’s one thing where people talk a lot and they say this or that, but to come out with a performance like that on the road, it shows the mental toughness. It shows just how much of a professional he is. It was an unbelievable performance by him, and he made some big shots for us. You know, he did his job tonight.”
What they said:
Budenholzer on the loss…
You know, we’ve been a resilient group all year. We just need to think about going and winning one game, go to Toronto and get that. Tonight a little bit of a strange box score, obviously, VanVleet from the three-point line and them in general from the three-point line was a huge impact on the game. They got to the free throw line more than us and just we couldn’t get | we needed a couple rebounds there down the stretch that I think when we look at the film we’ll feel like if we could have gotten a few more defensive rebounds from the five, four, three-minute mark on, maybe the end result would have been different. But you know, we’ll get ready. We’ll get prepared, go to Toronto.
Nurse on winning for the third time in a row…
Listen, this is a great team we’re playing. They are really good and deep and athletic and long and all kinds of stuff. This was a super hard win tonight, super hard. And we have to play with a tremendous amount of effort. Again, I think our keys are this: We’ve got to play good offense, not turn it over and score the basketball, because if you don’t, they’re getting what they want, which is downhill basketball in a hurry.
In case you missed it:
*Brogdon recorded his first career playoff double-double as he hauled in a playoff-career-high 11 rebounds and scored 18 points. This is his third game with 15+ points this postseason and fifth scoring in double figures.
*Giannis led the Bucks with 24 points and nine rebounds, marking his 12th 20+ point game of the postseason.
*Khris Middleton hauled in 10 boards and dished out 10 assists, tallying his fourth career playoff double-double and third of this year’s playoffs.
*Bledsoe finished the night with 20 points for his third game of the postseason scoring 20+ points and fourth 20+ point game of his playoff career.
*Leonard led the Raptors with a game-high 35 points while also dishing out a playoff-career-high nine assists. This is his 11th game of this postseason with 30+ points.
*VanVleet scored a playoff-career-high 21 points.
*Siakam tallied his fifth double-double of this postseason, scoring 14 points with a game-high 13 rebounds.
*The Raptors also had Kyle Lowry (17) score in double figures.
The Bucks (2-3) will travel back to Toronto for Game 5 to play the Raptors (3-2) in a must-win situation on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30pm.