The Toronto Raptors are putting together a quality run in the NBA playoffs.
Toronto’s 120-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday tied the Eastern Conference Finals at 2-2.
Here are three takeaways from the Raptors’ second consecutive win.
Toronto are learning not to rely on Kawhi Leonard
Leonard suffered an apparent leg injury in the Raptors’ Game 3 victory and he lacked aggression in Game 4.
The Raptors star scored 19 points on six-of-13 shooting. Before Tuesday, he had not attempted fewer than 18 shots in the series against the Bucks. Leonard has only attempted fewer than 13 shots once in the postseason so far – against the Orlando Magic in the first round.
However, Milwaukee continued to double team Leonard, and his decoy role helped Toronto’s bench explode for 48 points. The Raptors role players cannot be afraid to shoot the ball down the stretch if they want to advance to the NBA Finals, so this could be a blessing in disguise.
#WeTheNorth @sergeibaka (17 PTS, 13 REB), @npowell2404 (18 PTS, 4 3PM) , & @FredVanVleet (13 PTS, 6 AST) come up big off the @Raptors bench in the Game 4 W! #NBAPlayoffs
Game 5: Thursday (5/23), 8:30pm/et, TNT pic.twitter.com/wFt74lrF0u— NBA (@NBA) May 22, 2019
Kyle Lowry is in attack mode
Lowry needs to assert himself early and often for the Raptors, and he did just that.
The point guard was the most important part of Toronto’s offense, as he shot a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line and recorded a team-high 25 points.
When Lowry is scoring on all three levels and bringing his usual peskiness on the defensive end, he gives the Raptors their best chance to come out on top.
Milwaukee need to convert free throws
The Bucks lost by 18 points, and they left nine at the free-throw line.
Milwaukee only attempted one fewer free throw than the opposition, but shot an underwhelming 65.4 per cent to Toronto’s 88.9.
Giannis Antetokounmpo missed four of his 10 attempts from the line, and he will likely shoot plenty more moving forward as the centerpiece of the Bucks’ offense.
Getting back in Fiserv Forum could help Milwaukee’s struggles, though.
Game 5 will take place in Milwaukee on Thursday.