With strong performances in Games 4 and 5, it’s safe to say that the Toronto Raptors are back. The smothering defense we saw them play in the second half of the season returned in Game 4 where they held the Milwaukee Bucks to 76 points on 37 percent shooting. In Game 5, Toronto’s offense came to life, dropping 118 points on 57 percent shooting.

The Norman Powell effect

Dwane Casey made a huge adjustment in Game 4, inserting Norman Powell into the starting lineup in place of Jonas Valanciunas. Powell scored 25 points, corralled four boards, dished out four assists, and came away with three steals in Game 5, making an enormous impact with his offensive energy.

Playing a smaller unit has helped the Raptors become more versatile on the defensive end, with Serge Ibaka playing the five and protecting the rim.

Then when Valanciunas comes into the game, he is playing the five as well but the Raptors surround him with smaller players who can space the floor. Coach Casey realized that a combination of Ibaka and Valanciunas in the frontcourt was ineffective, so the adjustment he made was perfect.

Milwaukee’s turn to make adjustments

The Bucks cut their rotation short in Game 5, mainly utilizing Greg Monroe and Matthew Dellavedova off the bench. A handful of other players logged around three to nine minutes. Jason Kidd must redefine his rotation and trust some of his veterans off the bench, like Jason Terry, Spencer Hawes, and Michael Beasley.

After allowing 57 percent shooting to Toronto in Game 5, the Bucks must also repair their defense in Game 6.

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They need to figure out how to counter Toronto’s small lineup. The Bucks are a versatile team, so there should not be any reason for them not to be able to defend. They could perhaps sag off DeMarre Carroll to help on Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. They cannot overact if Carroll starts hitting some shots. They could use the same defensive tactic on P.J. Tucker.

Feed off the crowd’s energy

For a young team facing elimination, the best dose of confidence and energy should come from the home crowd. Young players tend to play better at home, so it’s essential for the Bucks crowd to be noisy right from the beginning to electrify the team.

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan

Toronto’s backcourt of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are going to be determined to close this game out. The two have played equally well in the last two games and should have strong individual performances to close out Milwaukee. Obviously, they don’t want this series to extend, so the Bucks have to be careful to make sure the two All-Stars are contained.

Game 6 is set to tipoff at 7 pm Eastern Time in Milwaukee and will be televised on TNT.