When we asked for conference finals predictions 10 days ago, before each series had gotten underway, the Bucks were the clear choice in the Eastern Conference over the Raptors. In that poll, Milwaukee received just over 64% of the vote, while Toronto received less than 36%.
Now, with the series tied at two games apiece, the series is essentially in the same place it was then — it’s simply a best-of-three instead of a best-of-seven. We also have four games worth of data at our disposal, even if it’s not clear what conclusions we should – or can – draw from that data.
Are the Bucks the team we saw in Game 2, when they dominated the Raptors on both ends of the court en route to a 22-point win? Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 30 points and 17 rebounds in that contest, but he got plenty of help from his supporting cast, with Ersan Ilyasova, Nikola Mirotic, Malcolm Brogdon, George Hill, and Khris Middleton all scoring double-digit points.
Since the series shifted back to Toronto though, the Bucks’ stars and role players alike struggled with consistency, with no Milwaukee players stringing together two consecutive great games. It was the Raptors’ depth, on the other hand, that thrived in Game 4, as the team cruised to a 120-102 victory despite getting only 19 points out of Leonard.
With the series back in Milwaukee tonight, the Bucks will be looking to rebound, and the odds are in their favor — they haven’t lost three straight games all season. Additionally, Leonard looks like he’s favoring a leg injury, and Lowry is still battling a left hand issue.
Still, Lowry has played through his injury and looks as effective as ever, while Leonard’s defense on Antetokounmpo has made the MVP candidate look uncomfortable. Giannis will need more help from struggling point guard Eric Bledsoe and other role players to advance.
What do you think? With the Eastern Conference Finals all tied up at 2-2, which team do you expect to win the series and represent the East in this year’s NBA Finals?
Vote below in our poll, then head to the comment section to weigh in with your thoughts.
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