Lowry's shot still off in Game 1 lossBy Kelly Sanders Apr 18, 2017
DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 27 points, but would be the first to admit a 7 for 21 night doesn't cut it.
The 22-year-old Greek has emerged as a force this season, becoming the first player in National Basketball Association history to finish a campaign in the top 20 in total points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.
"I think we've come back more than any team in the NBA", Tucker said. "But the game was slower for me". Defenses can collapse even tighter in the paint, and DeRozan cramps the Raptors' spacing because he is a complete non-factor from three.
If there is a reason for optimism, it is that the Raptors' streak of poor starts has also routinely been followed by strong bounce-back games.
DeMar DeRozan preferred political correctness over frankness, essentially biting his tongue knowing full well anything he says publicly would likely result in the National Basketball Association cutting into his salary. "You've got to start up and sit there for a while before you pull off, and you go on a little road trip but once you get going, your auto feels like a 2016 Lexus or something".
"We'll figure it out", Casey said. The Bucks find scoring baskets a lot more hard than the Raptors, but Khris Middleton, Greg Monroe and likely rookie of the year Malcolm Brogdon are the ones who'll have to help out Antetokounmpo carve out his playoff legacy with the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo is a highlight-reel regular for dunks in transition.
The Bucks had a confusing rotation during the first half where Jason Kidd would play Spencer Hawes, Matthew Dellavedova, Jason Terry and Tony Snell over Greg Monroe. Casey said Toronto must do a better job at getting back in transition.
VanVleet gets ready for NBA Playoffs
This was exciting news for the Raptors because it meant the team could go back to winning games through defense - "the Casey way". But the electric Toronto backcourt slipped early in the playoffs last season, nearly costing them a First Round win.
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, who has been in the lead bench role for the past five playoff series, was not impressed with the team's effort, particularly in the second half. "Honestly, we're not surprised". Terry has played with and against plenty of superstars in his 17 years in the league.
Antetokounmpo, noting he hasn't seen much of the playoffs, said afterwards he was just caught up in the energy of the sellout crowd of 20,133 at the Air Canada Centre. "I feel like we've proven people wrong up to this point and we're going to continue to do so".
In 2014-15, the Bucks were a.500 team that lost a first-round playoff series in six games to the Chicago Bulls. Their lone Game 1 win came in the second round against Philadelphia in 2002. They shot 9-for-23 from three, and had plenty of open looks thanks to the attention their star was drawing from the Raptors defense. It's a make-or-miss league, and the Raptors actually had plenty of good looks from the three-point line on Saturday. "We understand what it takes to get there", DeRozan told reporters.
"Some guys it takes a little longer to get their bones going and bodies moving", he said. "It's more recognition than anything".
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Toronto. "Again, it's a credit to him that he sets screens that way and gets away with it and it helps them execute what they want to do".
Regardless of what happens in the series, this will certainly be a coming out party for the Greek Freak as he finally takes his terrific regular season form onto the biggest stage.
His disappointing performance brought back memories of the series-opening struggles Lowry faced past year, including 3 for 13 efforts against both IN in the first round and Miami IN the second, and a 4 for 14 effort against Cleveland IN Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Milwaukee had a 42-40 overall record this season to earn the sixth seed while the team went 36-46 against the spread. He hopes it won't be quite as glaring as Game 1's. DeRozan said he expects Lowry to contribute any way he can in Game 2, even if his shots aren't falling.
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