OATES: Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo is dominating series with Raptors

Trading shoves and in the paint and hand-checks on the perimeter, the Bucks matched the Raptors' rise in defensive intensity with Toronto desperate to tie the series going back to Canada.

The leather-lunged crowd of 18,717 fans at BMO Harris Bradley Center - including quarterback Aaron Rodgers and several Green Bay Packers teammates - sounded louder from the opening tipoff than at any moment during Game 1 or 2 back in Toronto. Rookie starters Thon Maker and Malcolm Brogdon were mostly invisible, while the typically productive bench was largely quiet.

The antics go along with the Bucks' hilarious move during the Raptors introductions before Game 3, as they taunted Toronto's players by playing the "Barney" theme song as their names were announced.

Snell was Milwaukee's top scorer with 19, while Monroe was held to 14 points and nine boards.

Antetokounmpo finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and four rebounds, fairly pedestrian numbers for him.

DeRozan did not score a field goal, missing all eight attempts, while Lowry hit only four of 13 shots for 13 points.

In the postseason, Antetokounmpo also leads the team in every important segment except in passing where Khris Middleton tops the team with 5.3 assists in average. Center Greg Monroe, forward Michael Beasley and guard Matthew Dellavedova combined for 39 points off the bench. They even tried to huddle in the 2nd quarter, and everyone in the arena got on their feet and made sure that whatever it was they were talking about wouldn't be heard.

The Grizzlies won despite blowing a 10-point lead with 7:38 left in regulation and 23 turnovers that San Antonio turned into 31 points. "We'll be fine. We've got to come out there and do what we gotta do Saturday".

Date/Time: Monday, April 24th, 2017.

It also got another shooter into the game for the Raptors and Powell, who pulled a similar series-changing appearance in Game 5 against in, delivered with 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting and a huge charge he drew on a driving Maker late in the game when the Bucks still had designs on a comeback.

The Bucks were ready to compete in the opener at Toronto, when they outscored the Raptors 51-32 in the second half to win going away. And Saturday, that was just enough for the Raptors to get a win.

Looking at the betting trends, the Bucks are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following a lost of more than 10 points, 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games and 5-2 ATS in their last seven Conference Quarterfinals games.

Milwaukee's defense flummoxed Toronto, which shot 33.8 percent from the floor and made only 6 of 22 3-point attempts.

For Toronto, Powell contributed 12 points in the 34 minutes he was given, along with four assists. Mike Conley had 35 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.

Powell, who pulled a similar series-changing appearance in Game 5 against in previous year, delivered with 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting.

This season Lowry is shooting 46% from the field and a career-high 41% from the three.

The Bucks will aim to take a commanding 3-1 series lead Saturday afternoon. They seemed to feed off their home-crowd energy.

The Raptors shot an terrible combined 33.8% and couldn't get much help from DeRozan or Lowry. Wright drained a three-pointer two seconds before the break, and the Raptors trudged into halftime down 57-30 - just four points shy of their biggest halftime deficit in playoff history (31 points previous year in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Cleveland).

  • Julie Sanders