- The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Toronto Raptors 108-100 to open the NBA Eastern Conference final
- Game 1 winners have taken seven of the last ten East finals
- BetOnline now lists the Bucks as -460 to win the series
To open the NBA Eastern Conference final, the Toronto Raptors discovered that the Milwaukee Bucks don’t stop there.
A rested Milwaukee team didn’t prove to be a rusty Milwaukee team, as the Bucks posted a 108-100 victory, gaining the early advantage in this best-of-seven set.
Bucks vs Raptors Series Price
|Team||2019 NBA Eastern Conference Final Odds at BetOnline|
*Odds taken 05/16/19
The performance certainly impressed the oddsmakers at BetOnline. The sportsbook moved the Bucks’ odds of winning the series to -460. Milwaukee opened at BetOnline as the -277 favorite.
In the second half, Kyle Lowry made seven field goals for the Raptors. Kawhi Leonard hit five.
The rest of the Raptors combined for one field goal.
The Bucks take Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a 108-100 win over the Raptors.
Milwaukee closed the game on a 10-0 run.
Kyle Lowry was the only Raptors player to make a FG in the 4th quarter.
(Lowry: 5-7 | Rest of team: 0-15) pic.twitter.com/602VU4Ckvh
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 16, 2019
Toronto would have a hard time beating the Detroit Pistons shooting that poorly, let alone the top seed in the east.
Kawhi Leonard has created 47 open 3-point attempts for his teammates in the playoffs – most in the NBA (GOOD). They’ve made 17 of them (NOT-SO-GOOD). Raptors shooters will have to be a whole lot better to beat the Bucks.
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 15, 2019
The Raptors hit just 5-of-20 from beyond the arc in the second half, mostly thanks to Lowy, who scored 30 points and was 4-of-5 from 3-point range in the second half.
One Isn’t Done
While history favors the Game 1 winner in recent NBA Eastern Conference finals, it’s not impossible to drop the opener and still win the series.
Last year, the Boston Celtics were Game 1 winners but lost the East final in seven games to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In the past ten Eastern Conference finals, the Game 1 winner carried on to capture seven series.
Perhaps the more pressing issue for the Raptors is their overall road record in the East final. In the only previous trip to the final four, the Raps lost in six games to the Cavs in 2016. Toronto went 0-3 at Cleveland in that set.
Kawhi Leonard scored 243 points in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the most in a single postseason series since Michael Jordan scored 246 points in the 1993 NBA Finals.
— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) May 13, 2019
Toronto is 3-2 on the road in the playoffs – 2-0 at Orlando and 1-2 at Philadelphia. But the Raptors have come up with a couple of big road performances.
They took Game 3 at Orlando when the set was deadlocked 1-1. They also won Game 4 at Philly when trailing 2-1 in the series.
Bench Strength Favors Bucks
After Mike Babcock underplayed many of his key Toronto Maple Leafs in their NHL playoff series loss to Boston, lavish praise was heaped on Raptors’ coach Nick Nurse for running with his stars against the 76ers. But are they paying a price for that now?
The Bucks played their C- game & Kawhi/Lowry combined for 61 and the Raptors couldn’t even cover the 6.5. Does not bode well for them in this series. At all.
— nick wright (@getnickwright) May 16, 2019
Toronto looked fatigued in Game 1. Milwaukee grabbed 15 offensive rebounds that led to 24 second-chance points. The Bucks got 15 points off the bench from Malcolm Brogdon.
Milwaukee 7-footer Brook Lopez, who scored 29 Game 1 points, can hit the three, forcing the bigs to move away from the hoop to defend him.
— NBA (@NBA) May 16, 2019
More movement not only will wear down Toronto’s bigs, it opens lanes for Giannis Antetokounmpo to do his thing.
Leonard’s one-man show was enough to take out the Sixers. Toronto will need much more than against Milwaukee.
Do you agree with Chuck’s guarantee? 👀
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 15, 2019
That’s why the Bucks will stop the Raptors here.