After a disappointing double-overtime loss in Game 3 on Sunday, the Bucks are back in action tonight for Game 4 in Toronto, as they look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead and move one step closer to the NBA Finals. The game tips off at 7:30 pm/ct on TNT.
Game 3 was a rough one for the Bucks’ three best players (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Eric Bledsoe), who combined to score just 32 points on 11-48 FG (23%) and 2-15 3PT (13%) with 16 turnovers. Milwaukee’s depth was once again on display, however, as Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill each scored 20+ off the bench to keep the game close.
As for Toronto in Game 3, Kawhi Leonard led the way with 36 points and 9 rebounds, and Pascal Siakam scored 25 points to go along with 11 boards. Norman Powell was also huge as he scored 19 points, and Marc Gasol was able to shake off a nightmarish first two games in Milwaukee to go for 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists.
In the end, the Bucks shot just 37% from the field, 32% from three, and 67% from the line, while the Raptors shot 39% from the field, 38% from three, and 81% on free throws. Although the game did not end in Milwaukee’s favor, it was encouraging that they were nearly able to come away with a win despite having such an off night.
Another encouraging note for the Bucks heading into Game 4 is the fact that Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam each played over 50 minutes in Game 3, which should definitely play a factor in tonight’s game, especially as it gets later in the game. Giannis did end up playing 45 minutes of his own on Sunday before fouling out, but that is just the third time all season and the first time in the playoffs that he has played over 40 minutes. The Bucks have had big leads in plenty of games this year, leading to Giannis not needing to play as much, allowing Mike Budenholzer to rest him well all season long. Meanwhile, Leonard and Siakam have each had 5 games playing 40+ minutes just in the playoffs alone, so fatigue should definitely be more of a factor for the Raptors tonight compared to the Bucks.
As for Giannis’ mindset heading into Game 4, it’s safe to say he is confident in his ability to bounce back after a tough game.
We’ve seen Giannis bounce back and have great games many times before, especially this season. It is well-documented that the Bucks have been great coming off of losses this season, only losing back-to-back games once all year, but Giannis has been particularly good following “off-games.” Here are his numbers in some bounce-back games this season:
If the Bucks’ “big three” of Giannis, Middleton, and Bledsoe can return to form (or close to it), they should have a good chance of coming home to Milwaukee with a 3-1 series lead.