The Milwaukee Bucks are four wins away from punching their ticket to the NBA Finals. How crazy is that? The only thing standing in their way is a revamped Toronto Raptors squad. The Fiserv Forum is going to be ROCKING tonight.
Fresh off an absolute thrashing of the Celtics in the semifinals, the Raptors pose a much bigger threat to ending the Bucks historic 2018-2019 season.
The Bucks beat the Raptors 3-1 in the regular season series, but have yet to play each other since Marc Gasol joined Toronto and the Bucks got Nikola Mirotic. While Milwaukee’s bench has flourished this postseason, the same cannot be said for Toronto’s reserves...they’ve gotten pretty much nothing from their second unit this entire postseason.
Relying on Kawhi Leonard to play hero ball to win games is certainly not a way to beat this Bucks team. It will be interesting to see how Raps head coach Nick Nurse manages his rotation this series. He played a seven man rotation versus Philadelphia. I have to assume the leash will be incredibly short with his bench.
The Milwaukee Bucks will have all hands on deck tonight for game one at the Fiserv Forum, besides the usual suspects in Pau Gasol and Donte DiVincenzo, plus D.J. Wilson is out with a left ankle sprain.
Player To Watch: Eric Bledsoe
With Kyle Lowry struggling in the postseason again, his life is only going to get even more difficult having to deal with Bledsoe. His ability to blow up screens and disrupt the offensive flow will be crucial in this series because of how much PnR’s the Raptors run. He also held Lowry scoreless in a Bucks win at Toronto in the regular season.
Well...here we are. We get the two best teams in the Eastern Conference and possibly the two best players in basketball duking it out for a *potential* seven games series.
Toronto is coming off a seven game series victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in a game seven that ended with one of the most fortuitous bounces in NBA history. Kawhi Leonard really shouldered the load on both ends for the Raptors with help from burgeoning superstar Pascal Siakam.
We know Kawhi Leonard is going to get his, but limiting the other guys will be key for the Bucks defensively. They’ve shot the ball extremely poorly from deep as well this postseason, and if that changes against the Bucks...things could get interesting. However, like I said, if they’re getting essentially nothing from their reserves this series will be over rather swiftly.
Player To Watch: Danny Green
He’s one of their unsung heroes this year and it’s difficult not to love the way he plays the game on both ends. He’s going to be key in this series not only for his ability to knock down the three-ball, but also his defensive prowess. He’s one of the best transition defenders we’ve seen in the last few decades. If he can help prevent the Bucks from getting out and running in transition, it will be make things a bit more difficult offensively for Milwaukee in the half court.
Game 1: Against the Raptors, the Bucks will...
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Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)