The Toronto Raptors regained the lead of the series after defeating the Milwaukee Bucks, 118-93, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference playoffs on Monday night at Air Canada Centre. Raptors head coach Dwane Casey praised Norman Powell for his outstanding performance on both ends of the floor.
“In this series, he’s been the X-factor,” Casey said.
Last season, when the Raptors succeeded to enter the Eastern Conference Finals, coach Dwane Casey already envisioned Norman Powell being a great player in the league. Despite only averaging 3.8 points last postseason, Casey claimed that Powell already met the challenge with the way he played and produced. The 23-year-old forward didn’t provide much impact during the 2016-17 NBA season.
In 76 games this season, he only averaged 8. 4 games in 18 minutes per game.The Raptors went 9-9 with the games he started. However, Powell becomes a significant player for the Raptors in the NBA Playoffs 2017.
In their Game 5 victory, Powell led the Raptors with 25 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals, and one block on 72.7 percent shooting from the field and 100 percent from beyond the arc. According to ESPN, in the 89 minutes he played in this series, the Raptors outscored the Bucks by 39 points. In the 151 minutes he sat on the bench, the Raptors have been outscored by 38 points.
DeMar DeRozan urged his teammates to treat Game 6 like a Game 7
In the final minutes of the game, the Raptors’ fans started chanting ‘Raps in six’. DeMar DeRozan, who finished with 18 points, also expressed the same sentiment and said that Game 6 is a must-win for the Raptors.
“We’ve got to treat it like Game 7, period,” DeRozan said. “We can’t be happy with these last two games. We’ve just got to treat this next game like it’s Game 7.”
Meanwhile, the Bucks keep their focused in forcing a Game 7 as the series shift to BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Bucks need to improve their defense and limit their turnovers if they still want to extend the series against the Raptors.
“If we want to continue to play, if we want to push it to a Game 7, we’ve got to win at home,” Bucks rookie point guard Malcolm Brogdon said. “If we don’t come out and give the energy that we need to then we’ll lose and we’ll be done.”
Cleveland Cavaliers waiting in the Eastern Conference Semifinals
The reigning NBA champions, Cleveland Cavaliers, easily advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals after sweeping the Indiana Pacers in the first round. They will have more time to rest their players and prepare for their next opponent. The Cavaliers will face either the Raptors or the Bucks in the second round.
Photo courtesy: @normanpowell4/Instagram
Video courtesy: Youtube/FreeDawkins