Game 1 Preview: Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Apr 16, 2017, 02:08
Game 1 Preview: Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks

He's not far off.

Last year's trip to the East final sent expectations skyrocketing in Toronto, but it's important to remember the Raptors had to battle through two gruelling seven-game series in order to get there.

Toronto is definitely a contender for a deep run, but do the Raptors have anyone that can guard Antetokounmpo?

Lastly, there was the Eastern Conference finals against Cleveland, which was mostly a learning experience on how to get thumped gracefully.

The Raptors (51-31) are one of the hottest teams as they won 12 of their last 14 games including a 98-83 win over the Cavaliers to close out the regular season. Because of the presence of Maker, along with Spencer Hawes, in the Bucks' center rotation, the Raptors might be tempted to rely a bit more on Jonas Valanciunas than normal.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) dribbles the ball against Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) in the first quarter at Air Canada Centre. The offensive minded veteran coach has given Houston an identity that makes them as risky as anybody when it comes to chances of winning a title.

"I grew up in Athens not having much", Antetokounmpo said earlier this season.

Security concerns cancel governor's annual Easter Egg Hunt
Photos will be taken with the Easter Bunny by FeVa Fotos for a small donation of $5.00, to help with Kiwanis children's projects. The Kamloops Golf and Country Club is letting kids run wild on the driving range for an Easter egg hunt at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

"We understand we are a growing team but I'm not going to come here and continue to say we are a growing team".

He added 6 points and more than one assist per game to his prior career averages, earning an All-Star nod along the way. They've been in the middle of the pack both offensively and defensively, but their performance in the clutch is what's taken them over the hump.

The Raptors host Milwaukee in Game 1 of the opening round at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, prompting team president Masai Ujiri to quip that might finally mean a victory. That is how you struggle to beat an inferior team.

The Bucks are no pushover of a team, but neither are the Raptors. NBA All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo became the first player in NBA history to finish a season in the top twenty in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals, according to the Milwaukee Bucks.

It's not entirely like 2016 over again, though. He was proud of emptying the clip, as he said, although his sights were crooked. "They really get behind their team". The Raptors pulled off a heist a couple of years ago, dealing Greivis Vasquez for a second-round pick that became Norman Powell and a first-round pick this summer that was packaged with Terrence Ross to bring Serge Ibaka to town (the move also freed up the money and minutes for the team to ink Cory Joseph). And Toronto does perform well once it gets in front of a defense, producing the eighth-most points per possession (1.13) while scoring more than half the time (52.5 percent). Nothing in the Raptors recent history suggests Toronto will make this easy, but the opportunity is there.

Valanciunas comes into the series playing some of his best, most consistent basketball of the season. Milwaukee should be able to win at least once at home.

The additions of Ibaka and Tucker to the fold have already paid dividends, but the feeling is the gains will be made in the playoffs where defensive talents like those two players can have huge impacts on games.