Behind an energetic crowd, the Milwaukee Bucks galloped all over the Toronto Raptors to win Game 3, 104-77. The Bucks have a 2-1 series lead.
Typically, NBA games consist of four 12-minute quarters. To be frank, this one should’ve ended after the first quarter. The Bucks didn’t just jump on the Raptors like a schoolyard bully; they took their lunch money before hanging the Raptors on the flagpole by their underwear.
The Bucks outscored the Raptors 32-12 in the opening frame behind the two-headed attack of Giannis Antetokounmpo (10 points, three assists, three rebounds) and Khris Middleton (11 points). Milwaukee’s defense swarmed like angry bees; they rotated in perfect concert, ran players off the 3-point line, and contested virtually everything. Here’s how stark the difference in efficiency was: the Raptors shot 4-of-18 from the field in the first; the Bucks went 4-of-7 from 3-point land (14-of-21 overall).
There was no suspense after the first. There was no “Uh-oh, the lead is down to 12” moment to give Raptors fans faux hope. The rest of the game had neutral viewers wishing for 2K’s “sim to end” option to be available in real life. This was the mood of everyone that expected a competitive game:
PLAYER OF THE GAME: GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO
This could’ve easily gone to Middleton, who finished the game with 20 points, seven assists, a pair of steals, and a plus-17. However, Antetokounmpo’s line was a tad better. He finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, four dimes, two steals, two blocks, and was a game-high plus-29.
The Raptors were pretty sloppy defensively, but their plan was still clear: crowd the paint and let Giannis (and the rest of the Bucks) to beat them from the perimeter. Giannis still used his long strides to force his way into the paint, creating looks for himself and for others.
Here, he was able to run DeMarre Carroll off a high screen. Jonas Valanciunas stepped up to contain the drive, freeing up Thon Maker rolling down the middle of the floor:
On this next play, Giannis took advantage of P.J. Tucker overhelping on the inbounds pass. It only took Giannis two dribbles — two! — to teleport from the 3-point line to the rim for the easy layup:
Giannis’ length on defense caused problems for the Raptors. Nothing displayed his range quite like his block on Norman Powell in the third quarter. Vince Carter has the elbow dunk; Giannis has the elbow block:
- The pace clearly favored the Bucks from the opening tip. All of their shots didn’t come early, but they got into their action early on offense. They flew around on defense and pushed the ball hard after misses. The Raptors just didn’t look ready in any way, shape, or form.
- Really strong minutes from Thon Maker (11 points), especially in the first quarter. Valanciunas couldn’t move with him.
- I’m not sure what kind of dice Jason Kidd is rolling before games to decide the rotation.
- On that note, Michael Beasley (13 points) looked good in his (random) 20 minutes.
- It is becoming increasingly clear that Toronto has no answer for Greg Monroe (16 points, seven rebounds, two steals). The spin-and-drop-step he put on Valanciunas early in the second quarter should’ve been censored; children shouldn’t be allowed to watch such filth.
- Tony Snell had done a solid job on DeMar DeRozan through the first two games, but he really put the clamps on him in Game 3. DeRozan couldn’t shake loose at all (0-of-8 from the field).
- Everyone was bad.
- The team should feel bad.
- The organization should feel bad.
- The fan base should feel bad.
- Anyone using the Raptors on 2K should feel bad.
- Actual dinosaurs, if they were alive, would feel bad.