The Eastern Conference Finals get underway as the top two teams in the conference lock up in Brew City. The second-seeded Toronto Raptors are on the road as they travel to face the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 Wednesday night. Toronto advanced as they knocked off third-seeded Philadelphia 92-90 at home in Game 7 Sunday night. Milwaukee is rested as they’ve been off since dropping fifth-seeded Boston 116-91 in Game 5 of their conference semifinals series last Wednesday. The Bucks lead the all-time regular season series 51-38 and took three of four meetings this season. In the postseason, Toronto won the only previous series, taking a six-game victory in the first round of the 2017 playoffs.
Toronto Raptors Shoot to Ride Momentum in Opener
Toronto went tooth and nail down to the wire in the winner take all Game 7 against Philadelphia. In the end, it was Kawhi Leonard, who carried the team in the contest, hitting the game-winning jumper over Joel Embiid at the buzzer after it caromed off the rim four times. The Raptors led by five after the opening quarter and by four at the half: they gave up a 16-0 run to trail by seven with five minutes to play in the third quarter. Toronto rallied to lead by three after the third quarter and went back and forth in the final stanza with Philadelphia tying the game with 4.8 seconds to play to set up Leonard’s heroics. The Raptors overcame shooting 38.2 percent from the field, including seven of 30 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 49-41. Leonard led Toronto with 41 points, eight rebounds and three steals in the victory despite shooting 16 of 39 from the floor.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 13, 2019
The Raptors currently are 10th in the league during the postseason by averaging 103.6 points per game. Toronto is near the bottom of the pack in the league on the glass, ranking 13th with 41.8 boards per game. The Raptors are 9th in the league in assists with 22.3 dimes a night. Toronto is 1st in scoring defense as they give up 96 points per game. The Raptors are 5th in the league in field goal percentage by shooting 45.4 percent from the field. Toronto is 9th in the league by sinking 10.7 three pointers per game.
Kawhi, P-Skills & Coach checkin' in from practice.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 14, 2019
The Raptors are 13th in the league in three-point shooting as they hit 32.7 percent from beyond the arc. Kawhi Leonard leads the team in the postseason by pouring in 31.8 points plus 8.5 rebounds per game. Pascal Siakam continues his strong play from the regular season as he puts up 20.8 points plus 7.3 boards a game. Getting more production from guys like Marc Gasol (8.6 points, 5.6 rebounds) and Serge Ibaka (nine points, 5.8 rebounds) would help immensely for the Raptors. OG Anunoby, who has missed the entire postseason after an emergency appendectomy, is out here and won’t be reevaluated until next week. His absence hampers Toronto’s efforts to contain Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Milwaukee Bucks Hope That Rest Leads to Home Success
Milwaukee rolled over Boston as they took the final four games of the series after a Game 1 defeat at home. The Bucks have had a week off before this one and the rest can only help get them healthy for this series. Milwaukee led by just three after the opening quarter but took control of the game with a 30-20 second quarter edge to take a 13-point halftime lead. The Bucks didn’t let Boston closer than nine the rest of the way as they rolled to the victory. Milwaukee shot 44.7 percent from the field, including 15 of 47 from three-point range, and controlled the glass 58-48 to overcome 16 turnovers. Giannis Antetokounmpo led seven Milwaukee players in double figures with 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the win.
The Bucks have been dominant in postseason thus far, winning by 10 or more points in seven of eight games. Against Boston, Milwaukee’s four wins came by an average of 16.3 points.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 13, 2019
The Bucks are above average in the postseason offensively, ranking 2nd in the league with 116.9 points a game. Milwaukee is solid on the glass in the postseason as they are 1st with 52 rebounds per game. The Bucks are 2nd in assists as they dish out 25.6 per contest. Milwaukee is 3rd in scoring defense as they allow 101.6 points per game. Milwaukee is 2nd in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 46.8 percent from the floor. The Bucks are 2nd with 13.4 three-point field goals per game and stand 5th as they shoot 35.4 percent from beyond the arc.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) May 15, 2019
Antetokounmpo leads the team with 27.4 points and 11.3 rebounds per contest. Eric Bledsoe contributes 16 points plus 4.3 assists a night while Khris Middleton puts up 19.1 points, six boards and 4.6 assists per contest in the postseason. Malcolm Brogdon made his playoff debut with 10 points, three rebounds and four assists in 17 minutes against the Celtics as he returned after suffering a torn plantar fascia in mid-March. That adds depth to the Bucks’ rotation as it adds another perimeter shooter to the mix. In four regular season games against Toronto, Antetokounmpo has averaged 27 points and 15.3 rebounds per game.
- Raptors are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- Raptors are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. Central Division teams
- Bucks are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- Bucks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record
- Bucks are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Atlantic Division foes