The match-up between Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks is the only game in which both teams have never crossed swords with each other in the post-season.
The Case for the Toronto Raptors (51-31):
One thing we are sure of is that this Raptors side is making its fans proud of and is creating a new sense of sporting legacy between the club and the city.
The starlet duo Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan under the guidance of coach Dwane Casey have strengthened the Northern side, transforming it into a respectable and competitive roster.
The game changer for the Raptors in this campaign was through their February trades which saw Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker wearing the Canadian team shirt.
Their excellent performances provided more resilience in defense and also more options for Casey and even when Lowry was absent, the team never really lost its shape and composure.
Raptors' Key player:
Jonas Valanciunas is one of the key players in this Raptors side. The Lithuanian center will be keen to vindicate last year's playoffs which he had to watch from the sidelines for the majority of the time due to an ankle injury.
His battle with the Bucks main player Giannis Antetokounmpo will be vital for the Raptors, and spectacular for the neutral fans, as the two long ballers will go head to head in spearheading their sides towards victory.
The Raptors are definitely the favorites to progress from this round as they have both departments stable and competitive. Their versatility makes it a dangerous side and it won't be a surprise if they end up as winners of the Eastern Conference.
The Case for the Milwaukee Bucks (42-40):
Antetokounmpo is the Bucks real deal and he will be under the spotlight in order to deliver round two to his side, even though they will enter this postseason as sixth-seed.
He can be that transcendent member which inspires the other players on the court and it is not a surprise that he finished his regular-season ranked in the top 20 of the league in points, assists, rebounds, blocks, and steals.
Bucks' Key player:
The Greek Freek can be a problem to every opponent and his improved statistics are a confirmation of this.
Leading the side in the principal aspects of the match, mainly points and rebounds, he transformed himself into the player who can pull a trick from a hat at any moment of the game, similar to what Russell Westbrook does at Oklahoma City Thunder.
His physical traits make him a large player on the court, especially his speed and athleticism which for sure will give the Raptors a run for their money.
The Bucks may neither be an attractive nor the team one would follow closely on the NBA League Game Pass, but they have made progress from the previous years. Nonetheless, if they beat the Raptors, that would be considered as a real shock and would send shockwaves in the Eastern Conference bracket.
Game 1 Details
Toronto Raptors will host Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow, at 5:30 E.T. at the Air Canada Centre, where they have already beat them twice. 122-100 on Dec. 12 and a month later, the Raptors emerged winners once again with a 102-86 score.