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NBA Playoffs Preview: Milwaukee Looks to Regain Home Court Advantage in Game 5

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The Bucks head North hoping to rebound from a poor game 4

NBA: Playoffs-Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Glee turned to glum rather quickly following the Bucks tough-to-watch performance in an ugly 87-76 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. The good news is the Bucks’ defense continued to restrain the Raptors, but their offensive swoon means they’ll need to pick it up in game five if they hope to regain home court advantage.

Bucks Update

20 turnovers and a sub-40% shooting night are two key ingredients to the offensive offense Milwaukee cooked up on Saturday, and Giannis Antetokounmpo with Khris Middleton contributed with 11 of those turnovers and going just 10-32 from the field. With both stars fading in the same game, a win would’ve been a tall order. Here are some of the other offensive and overall takeaways from that game.

Tony Snell went off for a playoff career high with 19 points on 5/10 shooting from beyond the arc, and looked like the Bucks’ best player on both ends of the court. That’s an issue if that statement holds true tonight. Milwaukee struggled to find good looks against the packline defense in the paint, and Toronto’s starting lineup change put another capable perimeter defender out there in Powell to match up with Middleton. For the first time this series, Milwaukee’s offense looked startled. Hopefully, that’s the last egg they lay.

Raptors Update

Just as Milwaukee is feeling somewhat down, the Raptors have to finally feel as if they’re not grasping at straws. Dwayne Casey’s insertion of Norman Powell into the starting lineup paid dividends, with the absent guard showing up to score 12 points and play cagey defense on Middleton. Their defensive improvement was staggering, plummeting the Bucks to the worst offensive rating by a team yet this series. They turned it into a rock fight, and the Raptors just happened to plunk home a few more pebbles.

Still, their offensive performance left much to be desired, and while DeMar DeRozan broke out of whatever funk ailed him in game three to score 33, they continued to struggle overall with the Bucks’ coverage. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter, when the Bucks were trying to make a run, that the Raptors seemed to string together several consistent possessions with buckets. Their low assist numbers persist though, and once more they will need their stars to make the same tough shots they’ve been attempting all series.

A win for Toronto would give them a significant advantage over Milwaukee, and the opportunity to close the series out on Thursday. That would give them some much-needed rest before a potential next round series with Cleveland, which the league just announced is set to start on May 1. Let’s hope it’s the Bucks aiming for that rest though instead of the Raps.