The Bucks will host the Raptors at the Fiserv Forum in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Friday.
Milwaukee were the slight favorites going into Game 1, and with good reason. They claimed a 108-100 win over the Raptors to start the series on a winning note.
Toronto were the side which started the game strongly. After the first quarter, they led by 11 points. That lead stuck till the third quarter, but the Bucks switched gears in the final period. They outscored the Raptors 32-17 in the fourth quarter to claim the win. Toronto must be ruining the result as it was an excellent opportunity to seize the home-court advantage for the series.
Giannis Antetokounmpo starred yet again for Milwaukee. He had 24 points and 14 rebounds in the game. The Bucks found an unlikely hero in the form of Brook Lopez. He scored 29 points for them which was a team-high tally. Lopez scored 13 in the fourth quarter, and that boost was enough to propel the Bucks to the win. Nikola Mirotic, Malcolm Brogdon, and Khris Middleton were also in double figures for Milwaukee.
For the Raptors, Kawhi Leonard excelled yet again. Leonard had 31 points and nine rebounds in the game. Kyle Lowry had a great game, which has not happened much these playoffs. The point guard had 30 points and eight assists. He was 7 of 9 from beyond the arc, which is impressive. But worryingly for Nick Nurse, no one aside from these two stepped up. Their teammates made just one field goal in the second half, which was a bucket from Pascal Siakam. Siakam had 15 points in the game.
The Bucks are more balanced and profound than the Raptors, and that was the deciding factor in Game 1. The likes of George Hill and Eric Bledsoe can also have big nights as they have shown this season. Brook Lopez had been quiet in these playoffs, but he showed in Game 1 that he can be an explosive performer. As always, Antetokounmpo was an unstoppable force in the paint. Brogdon’s return is a welcome one, and he is always reliable for solid minutes as a guard.
As for the Raptors, their bench was next to non-existent in Game 1. The three bench players played 40 minutes combined and scored just 12 points. The load on the starters was heavy, and it may take its toll. Especially after the long series against Philadelphia, Leonard must be feeling the strain. He looked tired in the closing stages at times, and the likes of Danny Green and Marc Gasol need to play better.
Milwaukee Bucks vs Toronto Raptors Prediction
The Bucks look primed to take a 2-0 lead in this series. Even though the game was close, the Bucks ran away with it in the end. They have too many weapons compared to Toronto, and we saw that in Game 1. Despite Leonard’s excellence, the Bucks should take care of home court and take a 2-0 lead on Friday.