Tucker says Raptors can “take it up a couple of notches” for playoff games in Milwaukee

Raptors need to find another level in Milwaukee

TORONTO — After a tense start to their first-round playoff series with a spirited Milwaukee Bucks squad, P.J. Tucker knows the Toronto Raptors can play at another level.

The Raptors evened the best-of-seven NBA series at 1-1 with a tense 106-100 win Tuesday night at Air Canada Centre. That followed a frustrating 97-83 loss on Saturday that saw the Bucks dominate the fourth quarter as Toronto fell to 0-9 in first-round series-opening games.

With the next two games coming in Milwaukee, the pressure will be on the Raptors to play closer to their potential and regain home-court advantage in the series.

“Our energy has gotten up, we’re playing harder. Still there’s small things,” said Tucker who finished with five points and five rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench Tuesday. “We haven’t been together in so long so we’re still figuring each other out, figuring it out how we’re playing together on the defensive end.

“Once we get that figured out, I think we can take it up another couple notches.”

Game 2 saw a bounce back effort from all-star guard Kyle Lowry. The 31-year-old scored just four points and missed all six of his three-point attempts in Game 1.

On Tuesday, Lowry finished with 22 points and five assists while going 2-for-5 from beyond the arc.

“Everyone puts so much pressure on Kyle,” said Tucker. “For me it’s not about if he scores or what he does in the box score. For me, it’s more of his leadership, being a point guard and making the wheels turn.

“When he pushes the ball, he’s aggressive, attacking the rim, then it opens everything else up for everybody else when he’s pushing the ball up the floor, people have to respect him. It makes it a lot easier for everybody else.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo continues to pace the Bucks in the series. The Athens-born Antetokounmpo had a game-high 24 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in Tuesday’s loss after finishing Saturday’s Game 1 victory with 28 points.

The 22-year-old, known as the Greek Freak, started Game 2 slow scoring just two points on 1-of-6 shooting in the first quarter, but finished the first half with eight points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey knows his team isn’t going to be able to shut down Antetokounmpo completely, but will aim to neutralize him as the series moves to Milwaukee for Games 3 and 4 beginning on Thursday.

“You’re not going to stop a superstar this time of year,” Casey said. “We want to slow him down. It’s not one guy. It’s a team effort. We want to continue to take his numbers down as much as we can. He’s a great player. He’s making threes. That’s something we’ve got to make sure we understand, and not let someone else have a big night.”

Serge Ibaka battled through a left ankle sprain in Game 2, which he suffered during the third quarter of Game 1 after stepping on Antetokounmpo’s foot. The Congolese power forward started slow scoring just three points in the first half, but finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the win.

Following Wednesday’s workout Ibaka said the ankle was feeling much better as he prepared to board a flight for Milwaukee.

Dhiren Mahiban, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Juan de Fuca curlers ‘reeling’ after learning rink will be replaced with dry floor

West Shore Parks & Recreation board says curling rinks not getting enough use

The rock is no more for Oak Bay ‘Sea Lore’

Council calls for change to controversial location proposed for art installation

Metchosin driver striking a deer heralds a need for caution

Vehicle incident likely not the last of its kind in Greater Victoria

Mary Winspear offers out-of-this-world evening with Chris Hadfield

Tickets on sale March 22 for Colonel Chris Hadfield visit May 7

Five highlights in the 2019 federal budget

Latest budget includes a sprinkling of money for voters across a wide spectrum

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Most Read