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NBA Playoffs 2019: 3 Talking points from Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks - Game 5

Arvind S
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
173   //    24 May 2019, 14:22 IST

Toronto Raptors v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Five
Toronto Raptors v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Five

The Milwaukee Bucks, reeling from two successive defeats, returned home to the Fiserv Forum attempting to regain their lead over the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals.

However, inspired displays from Kawhi Leonard and Fred VanVleet sank the Bucks, condemning them to a third straight defeat and taking the Raptors to within 1 game of a historic berth in the NBA Finals.

Game 5 was characterised by massive momentum swings, with both teams embarking on huge runs to try and take control of proceedings.

The Bucks began with an 18-4 run before the Raptors hit back late in the first and early in the second with an 18-2 run of their own.

The Bucks, led by Khris Middleton, blitzed the visitors early in the third, securing a 12-point lead on the back of a 14-2 run. However, the Raptors refused to throw in the towel and hit back again, Leonard and VanVleet combining well to carry them on a 9-0 run at the end of the third and a 10-0 run early in the fourth to take control of the game.

While the Bucks did rally yet again, tying the game with under 3 minutes to play, the Raptors managed to stifle Giannis and execute down the stretch to sneak an all-important 105-99 victory.

Here are three talking points from the Raptors' monumental road win:

#1 Budenholzer's questionable decisions; Raptors bench comes to the party

After seeing his side's 2-0 lead evaporate, Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer opted to tinker with his starting lineup, introducing Malcolm Brogdon in place of Nikola Mirotic.

While the tactic seemed to have worked in the opening quarter, it cost the Bucks big time down the stretch, with their bench production taking a massive hit.

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Mirotic failed to score a single point coming off the bench, while the rest of the reserve unit managed just 15 points in total, with George Hill laying claim to 12 of those. On the other hand, the Raptors bench, led by Fred VanVleet's career-high 7 three pointers, poured in 35 points.

However, that's not the only decision that came under scrutiny. Budenholzer also opted to take Giannis Antentokounmpo out of the game with a little over a minute left. On the Raptors' subsequent possession, Marc Gasol secured an offensive rebound off a Kawhi Leonard missed jumper that effectively sealed the game.

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