Title: GIANNIS-MIDDLETON COMBO A PROBLEM FOR RAPTORS, WHO NO-SHOWED ANOTHER BIG GAME
Date: April 21, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I wrote about the Raptors’ disaster of a Game 3 performance against the Bucks.
Entering their first-round playoff series, the Milwaukee Bucks presented the Toronto Raptors with some difficult strategic problems. Blessed with an obscene amount of length and deploying an aggressive, oft-frustrating style of defense, the upstart Bucks would force the Raptors to do some things they were uncomfortable with on offense and stretch the limits of their transition defense. The Raptors, though, were the more experienced team, and even after taking a Game 1 punch in the mouth, they believed it would help them take back control of the series before long.
Not even Ron Howard’s voice could do justice to the degree with which they have not.
On Thursday, the Raptors turned in one of the worst performances in franchise history, wilting after just a few minutes, falling behind 20 points in the first quarter, and ultimately losing 104-77 to put themselves in a 2-1 series hole that teams only pull themselves out of about 20 percent of the time, historically (the numbers are a little better, but still troublesome, for higher-seeded teams getting down).
Forget the tactical elements of the series for a second, because at a certain point, that didn’t matter: The Raptors got punked.