NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Toronto 34 25 24 17 100
Milwaukee 23 28 25 32 108
5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)02:3020:30 ET7:30 PM CT23:30 , May 15, 2019
Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin  Attendance: 17,345

Rested Bucks ready for Raptors

According to STATS
According to STATS

Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks

  1. The Bucks won three of four games against the Raptors in the regular season, though Toronto won the most recent matchup in Milwaukee on January 5, 123-116. These teams have squared off once previously in the postseason with Toronto winning a first round series in 2017 in six games. The Bucks haven't reached the NBA Finals since losing to the Celtics in 1974, while Toronto has never reached the finals.
  2. Milwaukee's +138-point differential through nine playoff games this season ties the 1996 Bulls for the third largest all-time behind the 2009 Nuggets (+146) and the 1987 Lakers (+140).
  3. Milwaukee (60-22) and Toronto (58-24) had the two best records in the NBA during the regular season -- the last time the teams with the two best records in the NBA met in the Eastern Conference Finals was in 2008, when No. 1 seeded Boston defeated No. 2 seeded Detroit in six games.
  4. In addition to making the only Game 7 buzzer-beater in NBA history, Kawhi Leonard scored 243 points in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the most by any player in a single playoff series since Michael Jordan scored 246 in the 1993 NBA Finals against Phoenix. With Leonard on the court this postseason, Toronto has outscored its opponents by 15.3 points per 100 possessions -- with Leonard off the court, the Raptors have been outscored by 10.6 points per 100 possessions.
  5. Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 27.4 points and 11.3 rebounds this postseason -- he can become the first Buck to average at least 25 and 10 in a single postseason since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (4 times).
  6. Khris Middleton is a career 46.1-percent three-point shooter in the playoffs, the second-highest mark all-time behind Raja Bell (46.6 percent; min. 100 3PA). Middleton's streak of 17 straight postseason games with 2+ three-pointers made is the fifth longest all-time, and the longest-active such streak.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Depth could make the difference when the well-rested Milwaukee Bucks host the opener of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors, who were extended to the last possible second before winning a dramatic seventh game Sunday.

The Bucks finished with the NBA's best record and won the season series 3-1 against the Raptors, who had the second-best record.

Both teams used their benches effectively during the regular season.

Milwaukee's reserves remained significant as it breezed through its first two playoff rounds, but Toronto has had limited contributions from its backups.

The focus of the best-of-seven series will be on marquee players -- Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo and Toronto's Kawhi Leonard.

Then there are such significant players as the Bucks' Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe and the Raptors' Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam.

The remaining casts could determine the outcome, however.

By relying so heavily on a shortened rotation in a grueling series with the Philadelphia 76ers, won by Leonard's buzzer-beating shot for the ages, the Raptors might become a victim of fatigue. The Bucks, meanwhile, not only have had a week off, but have confidence in their reserves.

"We don't doubt our bench, not one bit coming into this game, coming into Game 1 Wednesday," Bledsoe told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after the Bucks' practice on Monday.

Malcolm Brogdon, after missing eight weeks with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot, returned to play 17 minutes in the finale of the five-game semifinal win over the Boston Celtics last Wednesday and that makes the Bucks even deeper.

According to, Milwaukee's bench has played 39.8 percent of the team's playoff minutes, averaging 37.4 points on 48.1 percent shooting.

The Raptors' reserves, however, have played less than 30 percent of playoff minutes -- including 24.8 percent against Philadelphia -- and have averaged 21.6 points per game on 38.9 percent shooting.

The Raptors have missed OG Anunoby, who had an emergency appendectomy at the end of the regular season. He has been ruled out for the series opener.

"In this atmosphere and environment, it takes a lot of energy and effort to be great defensively," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "We're similar offensively -- we want to play fast, we want to get out and run and move. All of those things do require an amount of effort and exertion and all those things, so if we can have more people to throw at the process, more people to throw at our opponent and keep us in a good place, it's an advantage."

The Raptors will be dealing with a different style in the Bucks than against Philadelphia and in the five-game series against the Orlando Magic.

"It's a totally different style than we've just been through in our last two series," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "These were set-play teams, pretty methodical on offense. They'd come down and run things, and run some post-ups and run stuff for certain guys. Not to say Milwaukee doesn't do some of that, too, but they would much rather spread the floor, give it to a guy, put their head down and take it to the rim, put it in the rim. If you send help, they'll fire it out and they're going to shoot a ton of 3s."

Lowry acknowledged that Milwaukee's depth is a concern.

"They've got a lot of weapons," Lowry said. "They're pretty deep and they shoot the ball as well as anybody, and they've got the one-man fast break in Giannis and then they've got a point guard (Bledsoe) who's really, really good and physical. They've got George Hill coming off the bench and playing well."

--Field Level Media

Updated May 14, 2019

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