After a double-overtime win in Game 3, the Toronto Raptors clinched Game 4 convincingly to tie-up the Eastern Conference Finals at two games apiece.
Six players scored in double figures for the Raptors, with Kyle Lowry leading the way with 25 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
With their best player in Kawhi Leonard only contributing 19 points, the difference maker in Game 4 was the Raptors' reserves.
In the three previous games of the series, the Bucks' bench averaged 43.3 points while the Raptors' second unit only averaged 26.0 points. In Game 4, the Raptors flipped the script, outscoring their counterparts 48-23, with Kyle Lowry crediting the second unit for giving the Raptors a much-needed burst of offence.
"17,18 and 13 [points]. We needed it, Lowry said post-game.
"This may be our third game of the playoffs where everyone has kinda stepped up and played, scored and did some things well. This is one of the nights that we knew Kawhi was a little bit limited. We had to come out and be aggressive for him.
"The great thing about having him on your team is he still gets all the attention and we fed off of that. Drive, kick, swing, he gets in the lane, kick it out. That's the benefit of having a superstar like him on the team."
"We needed it."- NBA TV (@NBATV) May 22, 2019
- Kyle Lowry praises the Raptors bench after a solid Game 4 performance#NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/wdlDpf0u5M
Norman Powell led the bench with 18 points, while Serge Ibaka registered a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds. Fred VanVleet broke free from his slump, scoring 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting while also dishing out 6 assists.
Powell was a +29 in his 33 minutes, Ibaka was a +24 in 24 minutes and VanVleet was a +25 in 25 minutes of action.
Raptors' head coach Nick Nurse echoed Lowry's sentiments, praising the versatility and balance the seoncd unit provided on the night.
"There is some speed we need there with Norman, there is some athleticism we need with Serge and there is some ball handling and running the club with Fred, " Nurse said.
"All the other stuff that is happening, you know, they are scoring and shooting it a little better, Serge is on the glass is really them playing up to their capabilities."
With huge performances in Game 4, Powell and Ibaka earned an appearance on the podium, with Ibaka explaining to reporters the personal responsibility they felt heading into Game 4.
"We have to take that [lack of bench production] personally. We are here for a reason. It's not by mistake that we are here," he said.
"We showed during the season what the bench can do. When we have a couple of games where we cannot play our best basketball or we cannot really help our team, we take that personally everybody. We come in the next day, watch film, stay on the court, take extra shots, just to try to come back and be better like we did tonight."
Ibaka's 17 points and 13 rebounds were highs for this postseason. Powell's 18 was one short of his highest output for these playoffs.
Both teams will have a days rest before the series shifts to Milwaukee for Game 5.
Can the Raptors' bench fire once again on the road in Game 5?