Raptors stick to film work after double-OT win

TORONTO -- After the Toronto Raptors escaped with a grueling, 118-112 double-overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday night, the focus Monday was on recovery.

"After almost any game, but especially after one like last night, you're getting nothing physically from these guys," Raptors coach Nick Nurse told ESPN after limiting his team's workload to a film session Monday afternoon. "I almost considered giving them the mental part of it off today, too, after last night's deal, but we didn't.

"I think they like the rhythm of coming in and seeing the film and getting their minds working a little bit. I think that's it. We're really just trying to save every drop of energy we can, especially for the top five or six guys."

Thanks to Toronto's prior series against the Philadelphia 76ers lasting seven games, the Raptors and Bucks now find themselves in a battle in which the games will be played every other day for as long as this series goes. That makes rest paramount for any team, but especially so for a Toronto squad that is generally playing older -- and fewer -- players than its Milwaukee counterparts, who also have the advantage of having had their prior series against the Boston Celtics last only five games.

So with Monday spent watching film, and Tuesday morning's typical pregame shootaround being canceled, the goal is to try to summon as much energy as possible for Tuesday night's Game 4 -- one the Raptors need to win to even the series at two games apiece and avoid facing elimination when the series shifts back to Milwaukee for Game 5 on Thursday.

"It's not about execution," Raptors guard Danny Green told ESPN. "Everybody knows each other's plays. It's about grit and will. Guys are mentally locked in, sprinting back, talking to each other ... those are the main things that are deciding these games.

"For us, it's just a matter of will power and to have the mentality to want to win, and want it more than them."

The Raptors needed every ounce of that Sunday night -- specifically from Kawhi Leonard, who didn't look right throughout much of the game after an awkward landing in the first quarter. Leonard still played a career-high 52 minutes and finished with 36 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists.

Leonard didn't speak to the media Monday, but he also wasn't listed on the team's injury report. For his part, Nurse said his star was feeling all right, and he echoed Leonard's comments from after Game 3 that Leonard would be ready to go when the ball goes up Tuesday night at Scotiabank Arena.

"Yeah, I think the consensus today is he's tired," Nurse said. "He's got two days and will be ready to go. Those are kind of the words coming out of his mouth. He's a little tired, but he'll get his rest. Got two days, and he'll be ready."

Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry -- the team's All-Star point guard who fouled out midway through the fourth quarter of Sunday's thriller -- admitted Monday that he's still dealing with the aftereffects of an injury to his left thumb during the Philadelphia series.

"I try not to think about it," he said. "I mean, it is what it is. It's going to hurt. It's going to be sore, but you've got to push through. At this time of year, you've just got to push through no matter what you're going to go through ... just got to make things happen however you can."

When asked how often he notices it, Lowry said, "When it hurts every time I do something, yeah, you notice it. You hit it, stuff like that.

"You've got to be mind over matter, man."

The same could be said for the Raptors as a team. Surviving Sunday's thriller -- and, thus, continuing to have a realistic chance to win this series -- was one thing. Now, though, the Raptors will have to find a way to summon that energy again and again -- up to as many as four more times -- if they want to make it to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

If they can't, they won't need recovery days like this one much longer.

"The body does its work," Pascal Siakam said. "We're athletes. We prepare ourselves to sometimes be in these type of conditions and to be tired. I know it's different, but there's not really much you can do to prepare yourself for that type of intensity.

"We'll be ready. I'm ready. My body needs a little time to recover, but when it's game time, I'm sure I'm going to be 100 percent."