Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks

The Eastern Conference Finals kicks off between the East's top two teams, the Toronto Raptors, and the Milwaukee Bucks. The road to the finals starts again on Wednesday, May 15th at 8:30 PM EST at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, WI. Broadcast is available on TNT.

How to Watch

What: Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks

Where: Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, WI

When: Wednesday, May 15th at 8:30 PM EST

How (TV): TNT

Series Standing: 0-0

Toronto Raptors (Away)

Head Coach: Nick Nurse {All-Time 58-24 | TOR}

Season Record: 58-24, 2nd in the East

Projected Starting Five: (G) Kyle Lowry - (G) Danny Green - (F) Kawhi Leonard - (F) Pascal Siakam - (C) Marc Gasol

Top Performers:

  • (F) Kawhi Leonard - 26.7 PPG | 7.3 RPG | 1.8 SPG
  • (F) Pascal Siakam - 17.0 PPG | 6.9 RPG | .368 3P%
  • (G) Kyle Lowry - 14.2 PPG | 8.7 APG | 1.4 SPG

 

 

The Toronto Raptors had to grind to make their way to the Eastern Conference Finals, but they finally pulled it off when they took down the Philadelphia 76ers in seven games. Their offense wasn't pretty, but they've been battle-tested and look eager to take on the Bucks.

The Raptors were carried to victory by the talent of Kawhi Leonard, but they will need to provide more support for him against the Milwaukee Bucks. Leonard averaged 34.7 points on 53% shooting from the field.

The Toronto Raptors lost the season series against the Milwaukee Bucks 3-1. However, neither of these teams saw each other enough after the trade deadline to form a great opinion of their head-to-head matchups.

Milwaukee Bucks (Home)

Head Coach: Mike Budenholzer {All-Time 60-22 | MIL}

Season Record: 60-22, 1st in the East

Projected Starting Five: (G) Eric Bledsoe - (F) Nikola Mirotic - (F) Khris Middleton - (F) Giannis Antetokounmpo - (C) Brook Lopez

Top Performers:

  • F Giannis Antetokounmpo - 33.5 PPG | 15.3 RPG | 4.5 APG
  • G Eric Bledsoe - 25.0 PPG | 6.8 APG | 5.2 RPG
  • G-F Khris Middleton - 23.2 PPG | 6.7 RPG | 5.2 APG

After dropping what was a surprising Game 1 at home against the Boston Celtics, the Milwaukee Bucks got back on track to eliminate the Celtics by winning four straight games.

The Milwaukee Bucks may have won the regular season series over the Raptors, but it wasn't a simple process. The Raptors competed in every match, losing more due to their own struggles than the Bucks' outplaying them.

The Bucks are looking to get off to a strong start against the Toronto Raptors. They are riding high after a thrilling Game 7 victory, but the Bucks look to hit them hard and fast out of the gate to take the wind out of their sails.

What's At Stake?

The Milwaukee Bucks lead the all-time regular-season series against the Toronto Raptors. In 89 regular season game, the Bucks lead the Raptors 51-38.

These two teams have met once before in the NBA Playoffs. In 2017, the Toronto Raptors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 4-2 in an Eastern Conference First-Round Series. The Bucks are surely looking for revenge.

Game 1 commences and the Milwaukee Bucks have home court advantage. Both teams will be looking to get off to a good start to make their way to the NBA Finals.

Toronto Needs To Clean the Glass

In the series against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Toronto Raptors not only struggled with their shooting, but they failed to establish a presence on the glass that would help them dictate the game.

The Raptors look to improve on a 23.5 Offensive Rebounding Rate that they allowed the Sixers to have against them in round two. The Bucks have size and length at every position, allowing them to challenge the Raptors, as well as the Sixers, did.

The Raptors reverted to a lineup with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka in order to combat the Sixers on the glass. They won't likely have the same chance against the Bucks, as the speed and range of their lineup would likely outpace the Raptors on defense. They have a lot to figure out.

The Bucks Have Met Their Equal

The top two seeds are facing off in the Eastern Conference Finals. Milwaukee and Toronto were neck and neck for the majority of the season and their comparative play styles are sure to challenge the Bucks in ways they weren't in previous rounds.

The Toronto Raptors defense allowed the tenth fewest three-point field goals in the NBA this past season, while their ability to defend the paint is notable with the likes of Gasol, Ibaka, and even Kyle Lowry patrolling the paint.

The Bucks excel in the paint and from three, but were 29th in the league attempting shots from the mid-range - only 21% of their attempts came from in-between areas. While the Bucks are sure to maintain their play style, they must convert on rare, offbeat opportunities against a talented Raptors defense.

Who Will Step Up For the Raptors?

It's no secret that the Toronto Raptors were carried by the immense talent of Kawhi Leonard in round two. The same can't come to pass against the Bucks though, as they are too deep and versatile to not punish on multiple fronts.

Their best support for Leonard in the second round was Siakam, who averaged 19.4 points on the series. They will need more from the likes of Lowry and Gasol though. Lowry was respectable overall, averaging 13.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in round two, but needs to improve on a 39.8% field-goal percentage and 25.6% three-point percentage. Gasol needs to be more selfish offensively overall.

Look to Leonard's San Antonio running mate Danny Green to step up in the next series. He was quiet against the Sixers and didn't provide enough on the glass to warrant late fourth-quarter minutes. Whoever eventually steps up will be a welcome presence for Leonard and the Raptors.

The Bucks' Road Was Light

It will likely work in their favor and against them as the Milwaukee Bucks didn't seem to struggle in their previous series' against the Detroit Pistons and the Boston Celtics.

The Bucks have had ample rest, but the circumstances of their opponents can't be lost on them going forward. Without Griffin at 100%, the Pistons had the quality of a lottery team. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics' internal strife came to a head on the court as they struggled to operate together.

The Raptors do not have such issues. They are a mature team, with champions and All-NBA level players strewn across their roster. They've overcome two of the East's toughest teams and surely feel confident taking on the Bucks. Should Milwaukee take their foot off the gas pedal even for a moment, the Raptors will capitalize.

Toronto Raptors Roster Notes

F OG Anunoby - 13 Apr 2019 - Out (Appendix) - Anunoby will not return until the Eastern Conference Finals at the earliest, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

F Chris Boucher - 22 Apr 2019 - Day To Day (Back) - Boucher was ruled OUT for Tuesday's (April 22) Game Five.

Milwaukee Bucks Roster Notes

G Donte DiVincenzo - 26 Mar 2019 - Out For Season (Heel) - DiVincenzo is out for the rest of the season with bilateral heel bursitis in his right foot according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.

C Pau Gasol - 10 May 2019 - Out For Season (Ankle) - The Bucks announced that Gasol had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. He will miss the rest of the playoffs but is expected to be ready in time for training camp.

X-Factors: Serge Ibaka (TOR) vs Nikola Mirotic (MIL)

Two Spanish national representatives will face off against each other in this Eastern Conference Finals series. Serge Ibaka came to life off of the bench in the Raptors' final game against the Sixers. On the other side, Nikola Mirotic has struggled as a member of the Bucks starting five.

Serge Ibaka

Center | 6-10, 235lb (208cm, 106kg) | Republic of the Congo | Exp. 9 Years

15.0 PPG | 1.3 APG | 8.1 RPG | 0.4 SPG | 1.4 BPG | 1.5 TOV | .529 FG% | .290 3P%

Serge Ibaka is a key piece for the Toronto Raptors. His defensive prowess and offensive versatility are difficult to match for other teams, so his inability to produce in most of their matches against the Sixers was worrisome.

He found his range in his last match against the Sixers though, knocking down three three-point field-goals and playing excellent defense in tandem with Marc Gasol.

His length and athleticism will be relied upon even more when the Raptors take on the Bucks. He is one of the few that can challenge the Greek Freak at the rim, while his agility on offense can't be matched by any Milwaukee big.

Nikola Mirotic

Power Forward | 6-10, 250lb (208cm, 113kg) | Montenegro | Exp. 4 Years

15.2 PPG | 1.2 APG | 7.4 RPG | 0.7 SPG | 0.7 BPG | 1.0 TOV | .439 FG% | .365 3P%

Nikola Mirotic hasn't made quite the impact that Mike Budenholzer was looking for when he inserted him into the starting lineup. In his second-round series against the Boston Celtics, he was inconsistent shooting the ball.

For Mirotic, it is a matter of volume over quality. He is a respectable three-point shooter, but when he hesitates or is covered his ability significantly decreases. He shot 10 of 29 from deep against Boston but will need to improve against Toronto.

Mirotic is a solid rebounder, but he is a bit of a liability on defense. He doesn't have the length and strength to match the Toronto forwards and lacks the foot speed to keep up when they play small ball. He will need to find a healthy middle ground if he hopes to stay effective against Toronto.

Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Predictions, Odds and Betting Line

The Eastern Conference Finals is a rematch of a 2017 NBA Playoffs First-Round series. The Bucks received a wake-up call from the Celtics when they lost Game 1 of round two and will be conscious to prevent the same from happening again against the Raptors.

If you reside in New Jersey you can bet on the Raptors vs Bucks game with 888Sport and BetStars NJ. Here are the latest odds for the game:

Point Spread

Sportsbook TOR Raptors +6.5 MIL Bucks -6.5 Link
888Sport NJ -110 -110
BetStars NJ -110 -110

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Total Points

Sportsbook Over 217.5 Under 217.5 Link
888Sport NJ -112 -109
BetStars NJ -110 -110

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

Money Line

Sportsbook TOR Raptors MIL Bucks Link
888Sport NJ +225 -278
BetStars NJ +210 -275

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

State by State Guides

Map of the United States of America

Find Your State

Popular Topics