Toronto Raptors

May 21, 2019 6:00 am
Updated: May 21, 2019 11:40 pm

Rick Zamperin: Kawhi Leonard is a beast, but needs more help if the Toronto Raptors hope to beat the Bucks


Can the Toronto Raptors do it again? That’s the question we’re all asking ourselves as Game 4 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Final arrives Tuesday night at Scotiabank Arena.

Toronto needed double overtime Sunday to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 118-112, a victory that cut Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1. The Bucks blasted the Raptors 125-103 last Friday, two days after Milwaukee took the series opener 108-100.

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But despite needing two extra periods to corral the Bucks, Raptors fans should be encouraged by a couple of things.

No. 1, there’s no way Toronto was going to get swept in this series and the dinos showed a lot of heart towards the end of Game 3. After leading for much of the game, it could have gone sideways for Toronto in OT but it didn’t.

READ MORE: Toronto Raptors beat Bucks in double OT, giving team lifeline in Eastern finals

Kawhi Leonard was a beast at both ends of the floor. He not only scored a game-high 36 points, Leonard played a career-high 52 minutes and held NBA MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo to a playoff-low 12 points. Even after tweaking his right leg in the first quarter Leonard came up big time and time again.

However, the Raptors still have to do a better job of supporting Leonard on offence and that goes beyond the likes of Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol. Those three players combined for 52 points of 18-of-35 shooting (51 per cent).

I’m pointing to the likes of Danny, Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka. That trio had a horrible shooting night on Sunday, combining for 11 points after going 4-for-29 from the floor (13 per cent).

I understand that not every player can have a hot hand during a game, but if Norm Powell didn’t come off the bench and score 19 points the Raps would be down 3-0.

Toronto will need Leonard and the supporting cast to ramp up their game even more Tuesday night if they want to get the better of the Bucks in this series.

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