NBA Starting Lineups and Match Prediction - Milwaukee Bucks vs Toronto Raptors, Game 1
Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks, Fiserv Forum, 8:30 pm ET
The Raptors defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 4-3 in the Eastern Conference semifinals, whereas the Bucks routed the Celtics 4-1. Both the teams will be itching to make a mark in the conference final and go one step closer to the ultimate title.
Let us analyse how things stand for both teams ahead of the huge clash.
The Toronto Raptors perspective
The Raptors will finally be breathing easy after a nail-biting series against the Philadelphia Sixers. They stole the series 4-3, courtesy of the 4-bounce Buzzer Beater by none other than Kawhi Leonard.
Have a look at the momentous moment:
Once they get past the victory hangover, the Raptors will start gearing up for the clash against arch-rivals Milwaukee Bucks. Kawhi will no doubt be the main man for the Raptors, but they need the other guys to step up too.
Kyle Lowry not only had a gloomy semifinal but also averages 6.3 points against the Bucks this season. That is a sign of worry for the Raptors as he will be facing Bledsoe from the other end, who is also an excellent player on both ends of the floor. Lowry needs to work better overall to ease some pressure off Leonard.
Another crucial card for the Raptors will be Pascal Siakam, who will primarily take up the responsibility of guarding Giannis. Siakam has done excellent work against the big man before and is expected to do the same this time. He can be the kryptonite for Giannis and the Bucks.
Predicted Starting Lineup: Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, Kyle Lowry and Danny Green.
The Milwaukee Bucks perspective
The stage is set for the Bucks to take revenge for their elimination at the hands of the Raptors in the first round of the 2017 playoffs. And this time, the Bucks are stronger and better.
The Bucks demolished the Celtics for the fourth time in the last game to reach the conference finals. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been unstoppable this season and averaged 27.4 points in the semi-finals. He will be the main man on the offensive end for the Bucks tonight.
Along with Giannis, Khris Middleton will play an essential part in this game as he will be guarding Kawhi Leonard. Middleton's defensive abilities could well swing the game in the Bucks' favour.
Predicted Starting Lineup: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Mirotic, Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe.
How things might unfold
A lot will depend on the defensive efforts of both the teams, so I expect this game to be a low scoring affair. Stopping the two heavy-weights Giannis and Leonard may be the deciding factor in the game.
The hosts are a complete team in contrast to the Raptors, who depend a lot on Kawhi Leonard. The Bucks players have the firepower and the skill to fill in for each other, and I am giving them the edge at home tonight.