Welcome back Toronto! They are hoping to make it past Giannis and the ECF for the first time in their franchise’s history. Their team this year has a better chance than the 2015 squad did against the loaded Cavs, and this series is going to be a blast. They will need their bench to step their game up, and if I’m Nick Nurse, I’m going a few players deeper into the bench, even for 2:30-4:00 stretches, I would do it.
Milwaukee has not made it to the NBA Finals since the early 1970s and the ECF since the beginning of this decade. Allen Iverson had a historic postseason that year and helped his Sixers past that Bucks team. They have not made it to the Finals in TWO (my lifetime X 2) lifetimes that I would have been around for. No matter who wins the East this year, this is going to be exciting, the winner having a chance to really change things at the top.
Raptors at Bucks stats
Spread: MIL -6
Raptors at Bucks stats
Raptors: This postseason has been all about one man, and his name is Kawhi Leonard. He doesn’t smile much or show emotion, but he makes series-ending shots in Game 7s, steals the ball more than the average player, and is averaging 32 points per game this postseason. Pascal Siakam is averaging 21 points per game, but his shooting was an issue at times in the Philly series. He will not draw an easy matchup, likely having to go against Giannis, but his productivity is vital to the success of his team in Game 1.
Bucks: Giannis is also having a terrific postseason and has started to make the three-ball. He’s hitting 1.2 long balls per night, and this is a big part of their offense now because you have to respect the shot, and he also drives to the hoop as well as any NBA player. Khris Middleton has averaged 19 points, though he struggled in the last few games against the Celtics. Eric Bledsoe and George Hill have also been scoring in double figures, and from Hill, it has been game-changing. He was not expected to produce quite like this when he was acquired after a slow regular season, and it’s given the team an edge.
Raptors at Bucks H2H
Toronto is known for Game 1 struggles, going just 4-13 against the spread in their franchise history, despite their Game 1 win over Philly. The series underdogs are 2-18 over the past decade in the Conference Finals, with the 2012 Spurs (beat OKC), being the last one to break that. And for the Bucks, home teams with 4+ days between games have gone 103-60 since 2005.
Raptors at Bucks predictions
THE FIX IS IN… Bet MIL -6! Milwaukee will take the first game of the series as Toronto’s Game 1 struggles are going nowhere. Greek Freak season folks, and he’ll lead them to the win.