Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was blunt in his assessment of his team’s Game 2 performance against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“We didn’t do much well tonight.”
As the Raptors traveled back to Toronto after losing 125-103 to the Bucks, they were in a similar position as they were against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Down in the series and searching for answers.
In a game where the Bucks dominated from the opening tip, one Raptor player provided a bright spot for the team going forward.
It was not a vintage “Playoff Powell” performance like in Game 5 of the 2017 series against the Bucks, where he put up a career-playoff high 25 points. But his 24 minutes were impactful for a team that struggled offensively.
“Norm fits more in the rotation for this series because of his speed and strength,” Nurse said. “His ability to take it off the bounce, we are going to need that. It was good to get him going.”
Powell finished Game 2 with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 2-of-4 from three. The Raptors guard found success from beyond the arc, despite his team shooting 31.2 percent from three. Powell managed to showcase his athleticism, evidenced by taking the ball from the baseline and managing to attack the basket against the Bucks big men. In the third quarter, where the Raptors outscored the Bucks 39-31, Powell was effective in the transition offense to score points.
Raptors-Bucks Game 2 on @TSN_Sports at 8pm tonight.
Don’t have a lot to say about this game. It was rough.
The highlight of the night – an all-time (off-court) Kawhi moment:https://t.co/HUd0BmPcM4
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) April 2, 2020
Despite these glimpses of brilliance, Powell was also candid after the game about his team’s underwhelming performance.
“They were more physical than us. We were kind of sluggish coming out to start. It took a while for us to get our offense going. That’s the game right there,” Powell said. “They’re doing their job, you know? They did what they needed to do. We’ve just got to come out and match their energy, match their toughness. A lot of its off second-chance opportunities, rebounds, kick-outs. We’ve got to close out to them. We’ve got to be more urgent to get to their shooters.”
The Bucks put on a clinic in Game 2. From Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way in scoring with a double-double 30 points, 17 rebounds to Malcolm Brogdon, George Hill and Ersan Ilyasova combining for six threes, the Raptors had no answers.
If the Raptors are going to get back in the series, they will need to match the Bucks with the scoring depth of their own.
Expect Norman Powell to continue to have an impact on this team going forward.