Thursday’s playoffs preview provides NBA tips for Game 1 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals.
10:30 (AEST), Thu 16th May @ Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee
History: Played 95: Bucks 53 V Raptors 42
Last meeting: January 31, 2019: Bucks 105 d Raptors 92 at Air Canada Center
Final Thoughts: The top two seeds in the East gear up for Game one of the Conference Finals. The Milwaukee Bucks are hunting their first NBA Finals appearance since 1974. The Toronto Raptors are yet to reach the NBA Finals in their 24-year history.
After winning four straight games to eliminate Orlando 4-1, the Raptors prevailed in a gruelling seven-game series with Philadelphia.
Kawhi Leonard capped a scintillating series with 41 points in Game 7 – including an insane buzzer-beater (the first ever in a Game 7 playoffs match) that is destined to take on mythical status. He scored the most points in a playoffs series (243) in more than 25 years.
The Bucks have enjoyed an easier run through the post-season. They swamped the Pistons 4-0, then breezed past the Celtics 4-1 after dropping Game 1.
MVP favourite Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 28.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists against Boston.
The Bucks have won four of their last five against the Raptors, including a 105-92 success in Toronto in their most recent meeting.
But the Raptors did score a 123-116 win in their last visit to Milwaukee – despite a monster display from Antetokounmpo (43 pts, 18 reb, 4 ast). Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam both put up 30 points for the victorious visitors.
The Raptors went 26-15 on the road during the regular season and are 3-2 in these playoffs. The Bucks crafted a 33-8 home record during the regular season and are 4-1 in the playoffs.
Both teams boast excellent depth and a marquee superstar in dominant form. But the Bucks have had an extra four days’ rest for the Conference Finals and should draw first blood.