Toronto and Milwaukee reached the Conference Finals by very different paths. Can the Raptors steal Game 1 on the road? The Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks. Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Mike Budenholzer and Nick Nurse. The inferiority complex of both fan bases. There are plenty of subplots going on in this Eastern Conference Finals matchup, and while the Bucks appear to be steamrolling everyone in the East, it’s Kawhi and the Raptors’ turn to stop them.
Looking back at the regular season head-to-head matchups, the Bucks smoked the Raptors 3-1, but what does that really mean? Antetokounmpo, Leonard and Lowry each missed at least one game (and Playoff Kawhi is not Load Management Kawhi). Furthermore, all four games came before the Raptors mortgaged a chunk of their assets for Marc Gasol and before the Bucks acquired Nikola Mirotic.
So it’s a fresh start, and an intriguing matchup, to say the least. And while the Bucks are favoured to come out of this series, this matchup does not have the same helpless feeling of the Bucks vs. the Pistons in the first round or even the Bucks vs. the identity-crisis Celtics in the second round.
Not that Raptors …
Author: JD Quirante / Raptors HQ