When: Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 8:30 PM (EDT)
Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
Watch Live: TNT
We are in the Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs and will witness the Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Bucks and the Raptors at the Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
The Bucks are full of confidence right now after almost sweeping the Celtics in the last round and winning it by 4-1. They lost their first game at home against the Celtics by as much as 22 points but gained momentum after that and never looked back as they won all the four remaining games to send the Celtics packing home.
In that series, Giannis averaged 28.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.6 blocks per game, Khris Middleton averaged 19.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists, while Eric Bledsoe struggled with scoring as he averaged just 13.4 points and 3.6 assists. From the bench, George Hill picked up the slack in the absence of Brogdon as he averaged 14.2 points on 57 % shooting.
On the other hand, the Raptors will be feeling energetic and confident after the series-winning buzzer-beater shot by their star player, Kawhi Leonard. Raptors beat the 76ers in a nail-biting seven-game series at their home and will be headed towards Milwaukee for the next round against the Bucks.
Kawhi Leonard was exceptional in the last series against the 76ers, and that reflected in the previous game when he took matters into his hands in the last seconds of the Game 7 and hit the historic shot to win the series for his team and took them to the Conference finals.
Kawhi averaged 34.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game while shooting at 54 % from the field, and Pascal Siakam had a phenomenal series as he averaged 19.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, while Kyle Lowry struggled, averaging 13.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game. From the bench, Fred VanVleet has been playing very good as he not only gives defensive stability to the team but can direct the offence and get the buckets when needed. Ibaka is also adding crucial minutes in the game
Bucks: Pau Gasol underwent surgery on his left foot last week and is out for rest of the playoffs. D J Wilson is day to day due to the sprained left ankle.
Raptors: O G Anunoby is ruled out of the Game 1 due to injury in the abdomen. Chris Boucher did not play in Game 7 against the 76ers due to a back injury and will most probably be considered out for Game 1.
Predicted Starting Lineups
Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Mirotic, Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe
Raptors: Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry and Danny Green
Analysis and Prediction
For the bucks, they are mainly dependent on their star player, Giannis Antetokounmpo. But the team has other players too that can cause severe damage to the other team’s defence. They have an excellent coach and the home court and crowd advantage.
Whereas the Raptors have to do a lot of homework and most importantly, their point guard, Kyle Lowry has to get back in his zone before all this begins tomorrow. He has not been in his groove lately, and this may cost them on this series as Bucks are a tough team.
Considering all the facts, figures and circumstances for the upcoming series, I give the Game 1 to the Bucks.
Milwaukee Bucks to beat Toronto Raptors