While he wasn't operating at his peak during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday night, "playoff-mode" Drake was definitely on display up and down the sideline throughout the contest.
A swarming defence heavy on double-teams enticed nine turnovers and Norm Powell provided a much-needed offensive spark off the bench as Toronto clung to a 58-51 lead over the Milwaukee Bucks at halftime.
No Milwaukee players were in double figures as the Bucks shot just 39.5 per cent from the floor and were led by nine points from Eric Bledsoe.
After suggesting Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) that he might change his lineup, Raptors coach Nick Nurse stuck with his normal starters, but gave Powell 30 minutes, the most he's played in any game this postseason.
Although he didn't get the Joel Embiid treatment, Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo did receive quite the earful from the Raptors' global ambassador throughout Toronto's 118-112 double-overtime victory. Norman Powell had 19 points off the bench before fouling out late in the fourth. Five of their made baskets were three-pointers. The MVP finalist had 23 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks, but Antetokounmpo scored only 12 points on 5-for-16 shooting from the field. The series now stands 2-1 in favor of Milwaukee. Toronto is a good defensive team, but even the Raptors can't contend with Milwaukee's scoring depth and ability to get open looks. Leonard missed a shot, forcing the second overtime. His poured in 15 points in Game 2, which was his highest output of the postseason.
Kyle Lowry, playing with a taped sprained left thumb, had 11 points, five assists and four rebounds before fouling out midway though the fourth quarter. And as inconsistent as Lowry has been throughout the playoffs, he finished with a game-leading +15 plus/minus rating. The Raptors raced out to an early 11-point lead and took a 30-21 advantage into the second. Even though he received plenty of help, Leonard was able to make life more hard for Antetokounmpo than Siakam could in Games 1 and 2. He made his first of the game but missed the second.
Gasol was a different player in Game 3. But with Milwaukee suffering consecutive SU defeats just once this season while compiling an NBA-best 60-22 record, the Raptors face tempered expectations on the NBA series prices, where they are now lengthy +650 underdogs in their bid to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.