After defeating the Milwaukee Bucks in a crucial Game Four, the Toronto Raptors were looking to go up 3-2. With home court advantage, there was no better time for the Raptors to strike. In Game Five, Toronto looked like their usual selves. High energy offence, tenacious defence and, a all hands on deck. If the Toronto Raptors can keep this play up, there’s no telling just how far they can go.
Getting the hot start
The Toronto Raptors came out hot. Whether it was the fact that the team had a hyped up crowd behind them or, their new found intensity, the Raptors finally got off to the hot start they wanted and, needed. Toronto lead 26-13 early in the first and, would end up winning the quarter 31-20. Although Milwaukee ended up winning the second-quarter, the Raptors continued to bring the heat in the third, finishing off the quarter with a 17 point lead. It was all Toronto early on. From Serge Ibaka‘s poster dunks to even, DeMarre Carrol getting in on the scoring action early and, often, it was a welcoming site to see the Toronto Raptors get off to such a great start.
Norman Powell, you have our attention
Wake up everyone and, stop sleeping on Norman Powell. If you thought Norm was good in Game Four well, he was even better in Game Five. After struggling to even get on the court, Norman Powell has stepped up in an absolutely massive way. It is truly amazing to watch Powell succeed in whatever role he is asked to play. On Monday night, the “Norm Storm”, was in full effect. Powell scored a Playoff career best and team high, 25 points points and, remained perfect from beyond the arc. Scoring aside, Powell also did a tremendous job moving the ball, playing strong defence and, looked like a cool, calm Playoff Veteran. Toronto Raptors on TSN analyst Rod Black summed up Powell’s recent success the best: “Inserting Powell into the starting lineup has been a freaking stroke of genius.”
All hands on deck
For the first time in this series, it truly felt and looked like, Toronto had all hands on deck. For the first time since late March, DeMarre Carroll scored in double figures, shooting 4-6 with 6 rebounds. Once again coming off the bench, Jonas Valanciunas did a great job and, even got to play again in the fourth-quarter. Valanciunas may not of shot 100% from the field again however, he did have 8 points as well as, 7 rebounds. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were among six Raptors in double- figures with 16 and, 18 points respectively. Lowry also added 10 assists to complete the double-double. Canada’s own Cory Jospeh also had a successful night and, Serge Ibaka bounced back scoring 19 points. Toronto finished the game with 28 points from the bench.
Strong defensive play again
Offence aside, the Raptors brought the indemnity on the defensive end. Toronto once again locked down Kris Middleton and, managed to contain Greg Monroe. Over the past two games, Toronto has put in major work and the defensive end which, has translated to easy, fast break points. The Raptors also controlled the glass, out rebounding Milwaukee 34-22. Lastly, Toronto scored 22 points on Milwaukee’s 15 turnovers.
The Toronto Raptors now find themselves up 3-2 and, will try and put this series to bed Thursday night in Milwaukee. Without a doubt, Toronto will head into Thursday’s game with a lot of confidence however, it is not over yet. To Milwaukee Bucks fans, those “Bucks in six chants”, may have been a bit premature. This is the type of basketball we have been expecting from the Toronto Raptors and, did they ever deliver. The start time for Game Six has yet to be announced.