Posted on May 20, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Kawhi Leonard has been doing his best to keep the Toronto Raptors afloat throughout the postseason. But against the Milwaukee Bucks, he hasn’t been enough by himself for the Raptors to win. He’s needed help and Sunday night, he finally got some.
While it took two overtime periods, the team effort by the Raptors finally resulted in a win, 118-112. But the cost may have been too great.
If you listen to him, it is no big deal. But during the first quarter, his left leg appeared to be bothering him after he landed on it awkwardly. However, during the second overtime, it appeared as if the issue might be his right leg because he grabbed it after a massive dunk.
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Had there not been such a drama over his quad injury in San Antonio it wouldn’t even warrant mentioning. But since the Raptors worked so hard to manage his load this season, it does bear watching even if Leonard says he is fine.
“I’m good,” he said after the game, via ESPN. “I’m just going to keep fighting. I’m going to be playing.”
“Just got to not worry about it and get my treatment and move on to the next one.”
Leonard had his third 30+ point night against the Bucks with 36; no one had scored 30+ points against the Bucks defense during the postseason. But unlike the first two games, he got some help from Pascal Siakam (25 points and 11 rebounds) and Marc Gasol (16 points and 12 rebounds).
Norman Powell had a good night with 19 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Kyle Lowry chipped in 11 points before fouling out as well in the fourth.
While Toronto did play its best game of the postseason, the Raptors did get a helping hand from Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. He did pull down 23 rebounds, but Antetokounmpo struggled to hit his shots throughout the game accounting for just 12 points before fouling out early in the second overtime.
As a team, the Bucks committed 20 turnovers (eight by Antetokounmpo) that led to 21 points for the Raptors.
“We could’ve been up 3-0,” Antetokounmpo said after the game. “We didn’t play well. … I never expected this series to be easy.”
Milwaukee made the first basket of the game but otherwise didn’t hold a lead until George Hill made the first shot of the second overtime period. The lead was short-lived, though, since Marc Gasol hit a three-pointer to put Toronto back on top moments later.
As a result, Toronto would not trail again.
However, going forward, while the Raptors can’t be swept now, winning the series is another matter altogether. They will need Leonard if they are going to keep winning, but there has to be some concern over how much he will have left to give in Game Four. He may say he is good, but that doesn’t mean he actually is.
But to have a real shot to win the series, the Raptors need to win Game Four. However, in a perfect world, Kyle Lowry would step up offensively (along with Siakam and Gasol) to lead the way in order to take some pressure off Leonard.
Fans will find out if he does Tuesday night.