Milwaukee had a rather easy path to the East finals. The team that finished the season with the league’s best record steamrolled the Detroit Pistons in a sweep in the first round before dispatching the Boston Celtics in the second round in just five games. After losing Game 1 to the Celtics, they defeated Boston by an average margin of 16.3 points per game during the final four games of the series.
Getting the to the ECF wasn’t as easy for the Raptors. Although Toronto did eliminate the Orlando Magic in five games in the first round, it took them all seven games — including a Kawhi Leonard buzzer-beater — to knock off the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the playoffs.
These two teams were clearly the two best squads in the Eastern Conference all season long and now we’ll finally have the opportunity to see which one is truly the alpha.
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Live Game 1 updates
Here’s everything you need to know about Game 1 between the Raptors and Bucks:
How to watch Raptors vs. Bucks Game 1
- Date: Wednesday, May 15
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Fiserv Forum — Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- TV channel: TNT
- Live stats: GameTracker
- Streaming: FuboTV (watch for free)
- Odds: Bucks -6.5 (Over/Under 218.5)
Odds and Analysis
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Raptors: While the Raptors should feel pretty good about making just their second conference finals appearance in franchise history, there are question marks as they enter this season. While we all know Kawhi Leonard will bring it, the question is, will his supporting cast aid him? Serge Ibaka came up big in Game 7 with his 17-point contribution off of the bench and he has a wealth of playoff experience from his Thunder days. However, Kyle Lowry continues to disappoint and Pascal Siakam was wildly inefficient in Game 7.
The Raptors’ supporting cast will dictate which direction this series goes.
Bucks: Milwaukee won the regular season series over the Raptors, winning three of the four games by an average margin of 11.0 points per game. However, one of those wins was without both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Leonard in the lineup. The biggest storyline here is how the Raptors plan on containing Antetokounmpo. Even if they do limit him, the Bucks were the second-best 3-point shooting team in the NBA this season and their center, Brook Lopez, set the record for most three-pointers by a center.
Leonard, Siakam, Ibaka and OG Anunoby — who still isn’t back from injury yet — all took turns guarding Antetokounmpo during the regular season.
Game prediction, pick
This should be a competitive series — I expect it to go six games — but it might take a game or two before the Raptors are able to make the proper adjustments to truly make this competitive and win one. The Bucks have too much firepower and their supporting cast perfectly complements Antetokounmpo. I can’t say the same about Kawhi and his supporting cast — they were a no-show in Game 7.
With this game being at Fiserv Forum, I expect the Bucks to win Game 1 in rather convincing fashion.