Both the players and fans combined to blow out Toronto in Game 3.
Scream "Go Bucks Go" as loud as you can. Now, imagine 20,000 other fans doing the same thing. That's what the atmosphere was like all game long in the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
The Bucks brought the series back to Milwaukee tied at 1-1. After a tough 6 point loss, the team looked to bounce back. I'll go into more detail about the players in the Game 3 and 4 recap, but it's clear they did just what they set out to do.
The 104-77 blowout victory saw an incredible elbow block by Giannis, a poster by Thon Maker, Khris Middleton score 11 in the first quarter, and so much more from the players. The team had their own individual drives that led them to play that way. Giannis wants to become a superstar in Milwaukee, Delly wants to help take another team on a playoff run, and Moose wants to show the world that he can be a force to be reckoned with inside. But something else drove the team, and it's something that you see all around you when you go to a game. It's us, the fans.
Game 3 was shaping up to be the biggest game in more than a decade. Not just for the franchise, but for the city of Milwaukee too. The Bucks had a chance to go up 2-1 on the Raptors, and the fans knew it. From the black "Fear the Deer" shirts that were on the seats to the explosion of noise when Rashad Vaughn hit a 3 pointer with under 5 seconds to go, the energy coming from the fans in the Bradley Center was unbelievable.
It was clear that the Toronto players did not expect this type of fan engagement. The BC erupted when Serge Ibaka got called for a technical foul for slamming the ball out of frustration. They even tried to huddle in the 2nd quarter, and everyone in the arena got on their feet and made sure that whatever it was they were talking about wouldn't be heard. I still have a headache from the game. It's not an annoyance, however. It's a reminder of the best fan experience I have ever had.
Those in the media that talk to the players can tell you that when athletes praise the fans, it's not just a PR move to boost jersey sales. They truly mean what they say. Getting support from your hometown fans is invaluable to these players. I remember that not too long ago the Bradley Center couldn't give away Bucks tickets. Milwaukee was pretty much a Bulls town. Now, it's a totally different story, and as a Bucks fan, I have never been prouder of my team and its fans.
Game 3 is done, and like I said before, was one of the biggest games for the Milwaukee Bucks. With the series at 2-1, Game 4 in Milwaukee will take the place of the biggest game in over a decade. The chance to go up 3-1 is there. Not only do the players and coaches have to bring everything they've got, but the fans do as well. We have a responsibility to be the backbone of this team. It's time for us to stand up and make sure the NBA knows that they need to Fear the Deer.