Sterner on Raptors vs Bucks Game 4, Leonard guarding Antetokounmpo
The Toronto Raptors will try to even their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals series with the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 on Tuesday. For that to happen, the top-seeded Bucks will have to do something they have only done once this entire season: lose twice in a row.
Watch Game 4 LIVE across the TSN Network and on TSN Direct at 8pm et/5pm pt.
The Bucks have lost 23 times in 2018-19, regular season and playoffs combined. Coming off defeats they have a 22-1 record, the best mark in NBA history according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Utah Jazz (115-111 – March 2) and Phoenix Suns (114-105 – March 4) combined to hand the Bucks their only losing streak of the season. Both of those losses were away from the Fiserv Forum, the arena the Bucks have called home since 2018.
Their .957 winning percentage after a loss tops the marks set by the 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers (.900), the 1949-50 Lakers (.895) and the 1975-76 Golden State Warriors (.893).
Prior to their Game 3 loss to the Raptors, the Bucks had previously only lost one playoff game during the 2018-19 postseason, a 112-90 defeat in Game 1 of their second round series against the Boston Celtics.
They followed that setback with six straight victories.
The Raptors also have a little history on their side.
This is Toronto’s second trip to the Eastern Conference Finals after their 2016 defeat at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers. They fell behind 2-0 in both series.
Against the Cavaliers, the Raptors returned home after dropping the first two contests to earn 99-84 and 105-99 victories to even the series.
Also on the Raptors side heading into Game 4 is the historically strong playoff performance being turned in by Kawhi Leonard.
The 27-year-old has scored 480 points (32 points per game) so far in the playoffs. LeBron James is the only player to top that number through 15 playoff games, doing it twice (2009 and 2018).
Leonard has also posted six 35-point games in these playoffs. Over the last 10 seasons only James (four times) and Kobe Bryant (2010) have had as many in a single postseason.
He has been just as important with his defence. In Sunday’s victory, Leonard held Giannis Antetokounmpo to 1-for-9 (11 per cent) shooting as a primary defender, which is his lowest percentage against a single defender in the last three postseasons (min 5 FGA), according to Second Spectrum.