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Home / Sports / Bucks – Maker, other reserves step into NBA playoff limelight

Bucks – Maker, other reserves step into NBA playoff limelight



MILWAUKEE (AP) Thon Maker has his biggest games for the biggest time of the year.

Not bad for a bank guy and someone who, like last week, was a service plan backer.

Maker had never blocked five shots in any NBA game before the start of the postseason – and now he has blocked so many in each of the last two playoff matches for the Milwaukee Bucks. There is an old coaching proverb that points out to players that they must stay ready because they never know when their chance has come.

The manufacturer proves that the axiom is correct.

"I'm just trying to be there for my team-mates and play aggressively," said Maker, the Bucks backup center. "These are the playoffs, these are the moments everyone plays for, you have to find a way to win, you have to find a way to influence the game, I try that every time."

Maker is almost a story out of nowhere for the Bucks, who have even drawn four games to their Eastern Conference main round with the Boston Celtics, mainly because of a defensive resurgence by the bank. His offense has also helped: The Maker scored 1

4 points in a win in Game 3, the highest total since a 16-point New Year's Day campaign.

There have been some major reserve player games in these playoffs: Miami have scored 28 and 25 points in Dwyane Wade's games and a 26-point Kelly Olynyk effort helped Philadelphia score 21 points twice for Marco Belinelli and Boston saw Greg Monroe in just 23 minutes a double against the Bucks.

Backups can quickly be in the limelight when they get hot.

"When we step on the ground, we have to be assertive with what we do," said Bucks coach Joe Prunty. "We can not be a step back."

Even the greatest players need help.

LeBron James said that everyone in the cavalry lineup, including himself, had to play better after falling back 2-1 in Indiana. James was good at 32 points in Game 4 and Jordan Clarkson had 12 of the bank's 32 points to help Cleveland tie the series.

"I have to come and throw a spark off the bench," said Clarkson, who only scored two points in Game 3. "That's what I'm supposed to do, change the game that way."

Toronto had one of the best banking units in the NBA in the regular season and came in fifth in the league with a combined average of 41.8 points. But in the first round of the East 1 Seed series, the reserve of the Raptors scored 34.5 points.

They are tied at 2 in the series with the eighth-seed Washington Wizards, whose bank scoring is in the series by about the same distance to 34.3 points. The Wizards were only in 16th place this season.

One big reason for Toronto's problems was the lack of replacement point guard Fred VanVleet, who has an injured right shoulder and only played three minutes and three of them played four games altogether. Raptor coach Dwane Casey blamed his team's high turnaround – 37 on games 3 and 4, both defeats – largely on his reserves, which he also considered not as productive with the ball as they could have been.

"The second unit has dismissed some shots that they normally take," said Casey. "I thought this group was starting the sales, the dam was breaking with these guys, so I think it's better to put them in the right situation where they will not turn it around."

The wizards were working on their twists and turns trying to control the reserves of the Raptors.

Our bank did a good job and somehow we tried to change things and maybe throw one or two starters with our bank, "Washington coach Scott Brooks said.

As far as the Celtics are concerned, they're back in Boston to get ready to host the Bucks on Tuesday night for Game 5. Their frontcourt reserves of Monroe and Marcus Morris were dominant in the second batch of the series last week when it looked as though Boston could tee off.

Milwaukee's reserves have repressed themselves with active, physical play – in line with Boston's intensity.

"As soon as we see that," said Maker, "we're beginning to become aggressive even at the defensive end." [19659002] – [19659002] AP Sports Writers Howard Fendrich and Michael Marot contributed to this story.

– [19659002] More AP NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

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