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SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports activities’ Jeff Zillgitt and the Milwaukee Magazine Sentinel’s Matt Velazquez smash down the Raptors’ closeout win over the Dollars that clinched a place within the NBA Finals.
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TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors walked off the courtroom after shedding Sport 2 to the Milwaukee Dollars by means of 22 issues figuring out one thing needed to exchange.

“We simply were not fairly bodily sufficient,” trainer Nick Nurse stated. “We were not getting our displays set excellent sufficient. We were not getting them off their displays excellent sufficient as smartly. We are going to need to be higher or they are simply going to appear larger and more potent than we’re, and I do not essentially assume that is the case. Now we have were given to play just a little harder.”

Nurse sought after the Raptors to be extra bodily, play with extra effort and now not make the sport really easy for the Dollars, particularly on protection in opposition to Dollars famous person Giannis Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee’s Three-point shooters.

However that wasn’t all. Beginning with Sport Three, Nurse made Toronto famous person Kawhi Leonard spend extra time protecting Antetokounmpo, he gave extra taking part in time to Norman Powell, and sudden everybody who watched this collection, Raptors guard Fred VanVleet summoned his splendid Steph Curry impersonation and couldn’t leave out from Three-point vary.

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Mix all that, and it explains how the Raptors became a 2-Zero collection deficit in a Four-2 victory within the Japanese Convention finals and a place within the NBA Finals.

Toronto completed off the Dollars with a 100-94 victory in Sport 6 on Saturday. This is how the Raptors became across the collection:

Toronto’s protection: In Milwaukee’s two victories, it shot 42.Five% on Three-pointers, making 11 3s within the first recreation and 13 in the second one. Within the subsequent 4 video games, the Dollars shot 32.6% on 3s, together with 14% within the fourth quarter.

The Raptors made it tougher on Milwaukee’s shooters, who once in a while neglected open photographs and once in a while had been defended smartly. Eric Bledsoe and Ersan Ilyasova had been 22.2% on 3s within the 4 losses, Malcolm Brogdon 31.eight% and Nikola Mirotic 16.7%.

“It is in search of the proper guys and the matchups and one of the most movements that had been giving us issues, in search of some other coverages and issues,” Nurse stated previous within the collection.

In Sport Four, the Dollars scored simply 18 issues within the ultimate 14:10, capturing 7-for-23 from the sector and Zero-for-10 on Three-pointers. Toronto cranked up the defensive power trailing 76-61 overdue within the 3rd quarter of Sport 6, taking the lead for excellent early within the fourth.

Leonard’s particular two-way manufacturing: Leonard averaged 29.Five issues (series-best), nine.Five rebounds, Four.Three assists, 2.2 steals and one block whilst capturing 44.2% from the sector. Within the fourth quarter, he averaged 6.eight issues and shot 45.Five% on Three-pointers.

Then, he needed to fritter away power seeking to prohibit Antetokounmpo. The Dollars famous person were given his issues (22.7 in keeping with recreation), however at 44.eight% from the sector, he was once method underneath his season proportion of 57.eight%.

Leonard, who’s a disruptive defensive pressure, indubitably didn’t guard Antetokounmpo each ownership, and the Raptors hired a a hit double-team, making it tough for Antetokounmpo to seek out the open teammate. The Raptors made positive he did not reside on the rim or on the foul line. 

The pattern measurement is small, but if Leonard and Antetokounmpo had been at the courtroom on the identical time within the ultimate 4 video games of the collection, the Dollars scored 99.2 issues in keeping with 100 possessions in 142 mins, in keeping with nba.com/stats.

“It is simply his prepared us to win and him grabbing the ones rebounds and prepared the ones photographs in virtually it sort of feels like and happening and locking up any individual and taking the ball from them,” Nurse stated. “It is nice aggressive want.”

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What I am Listening to: Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Magazine Sentinel describes the somber however upbeat temper within the Dollars locker room after being eradicated by means of the Raptors.
USA TODAY Sports activities

VanVleet and Powell’s manufacturing: VanVleet was once Three-for-25 from Three-point vary within the seven-game collection in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers and the primary 3 video games in opposition to Milwaukee. Then, his son Fred Jr. was once born, and VanVleet couldn’t leave out. He shot 14-of-17 on Three-pointers within the ultimate 3 video games of the collection, together with Four-of-Five in Sport 6.

He scored 13, 21 and 14 issues, and the Raptors outscored the Dollars by means of 65 issues with VanVleet at the courtroom within the ultimate 3 video games of the collection.

Powell performed simply 10 mins within the collection opener, however in Toronto’s Sport 2 loss, he performed 25 mins and scored 14 issues. Nurse preferred Powell’s taste and persisted to play him — 30 mins in Sport Three, 32 in Sport Four, 24 in Sport Five and 17 in Sport 6. The transfer labored.

Powell averaged 10.7 issues off the bench and was once a large a part of Toronto’s bench outscoring Milwaukee’s 142-115 within the Raptors’ 4 victories.

After Sport 2, Nurse stated, “I had deliberate on the usage of him much more within the rotation. He suits on this collection just a little extra together with his pace and power and athleticism, his talent to take it off the jump. We are going to want that. It was once excellent to get him going, and I might consider going ahead he’s going to be a essential a part of the collection for our rotation.”

Observe Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.

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