The Milwaukee Bucks look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead against the Toronto Raptors tonight at the Air Canada Centre.

Fresh off a 97-83 win, the Bucks must play clean basketball and take care of the basketball in order to take away Toronto’s transition game. Milwaukee only turned the ball over 4 times in game one, including only 2 live-ball turnovers. It’s so crucial to limit turnovers because it lets Milwaukee set up their half court defense.

The Toronto Raptors clearly struggled with Milwaukee’s length all night in game one, especially in the half court. The Bucks forced Toronto into 11 turnovers, and they scored 19 points off those turnovers. Milwaukee is at their best when they are forcing turnovers and getting out in transition, it’s their bread and butter.

Milwaukee also held the gauntlet that is Toronto’s backcourt to only 9-32 shooting (28%). Kyle Lowry had a game to forget, he was a pathetic 2-11 from the field with 4 points. Milwaukee did an excellent job on him defensively, contesting almost every shot he took. The Bucks threw multiple double-teams at Lowry, and they were hedging every screen the Raptors set for him. This made him take very contested shots and force him to give the ball to his teammates late in the shot clock to make a play. As a result, Toronto shot a miserable 36% from the field and and even worse 21% from three.

In 15 minutes, Thon Maker was ultra effective, and he was especially active on defense. He was excellent in defending Toronto’s pick and roll, and his lateral quickness was on full display. He was able to keep up with Kyle Lowry step by step. He was a huge difference maker in the second half with his interior defense. He finished game one with 3 emphatic rejections.

Tony Snell did a terrific job defending Raptors star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan. He did finish with 27 points, but he shot a mediocre 7-21 from the floor. Tony did a great job of disrupting DeRozan and making him drive to the basket where help defense was waiting.

The Raptors had absolutely no answers for Bucks all around star Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak answered the call and anchored Milwaukee with 28 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. Toronto tried throwing DeMarre Caroll, PJ Tucker and Serge Ibaka. None of them had the answers defensively to stop him.

It’s clear that Giannis will get whatever he wants in this series, so it’s all about his teammates stepping up again in game two. The Bucks got amazing contributions from rookie of the year (candidate) Malcolm Brogdon, Tony Snell, Greg Monroe and even Matthew Dellavedova provided gritty defense.

With Giannis demanding all the attention, there will be plenty off good looks from behind the arch. Milwaukee must take advantage and keep hoisting them up. MKhris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell are both proven three point specialists in this league. They need to let it fly. The Bucks connected on 9-23 three pointers in game one (39%).

Jason Kidd’s rotations in the first half left a lot to be desired. He leaned on Matthew Dellavedova and Spencer Hawes way too much in the second qurater, and that’s when Toronto started to make a run. However, he made the necessary adjustments in the second half to help Milwaukee pull away from Toronto. Jason Kidd played Thon Maker more in the second half which helped the Bucks get off to a fast start. Michael Beasley and Mirza Teletovic were both ineffective in their 6 minutes of play. I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see one of those guys on the floor at all in game two. Greg Monroe in 26 minutes of action was also a key player in the second half for Milwaukee. He finished with a monster 14 point 15 rebound double-double.

 

 

 

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