Milwaukee has the pleasure of watching a basketball powerhouse in the making. Toronto with Kawhi Leonard were supposed to be the answer to getting out of the East. Well, two games into the Eastern Conference Finals and I think it’s safe to say there’s a clear king of the conference. In what seemed like a must win for the Raptors, the Bucks came out firing on all cylinders to take a crushing 2-0 series lead, winning 125-103.
In the first two and a half minutes of the first quarter, Milwaukee had already taken a 9-0 lead and the margin stayed there or above for the entire game. Giannis started with a put back dunk off his own miss followed by a block on Marc Gasol and another dunk on the other end. Giannis set the tone immediately and it ended the Raptors right then and there. He finished with 30/17/5, just the second Buck in history to have those kind of numbers in a postseason game.
The Bucks shot 25% in game one from deep, well below their average. While it seemed like they did much better, they shot just 32%, still way below the season average. Imagine a game at full potential. Notably, Brogdon was 3-6 and Middleton was 2-3 from deep, carrying much of the weight.
There was also a clear disparity in the bench units yet again. Milwaukee’s bench scored 31 points in the first half, the most in a half in the last 20 postseasons. Ersan led the charge with 17 on 7-11 from the field in an incredible performance. Brogdon and Hill combined for 27 points on 10-18 and that right there is the difference in the game.
The Raptors bench played much better than last game, but it was only three players deep, not enough to match the Bucks. Powell, Ibaka, and VanVleet, combined for 27 points on 12-23. Even with an above average performance from Toronto’s bench, it still wasn’t close. Outside of Kawhi Leonard with 31 points, the only Raptors in double digits were Siakam and Powell. Kyle Lowry fell hard after his impressive performance Wednesday with only 8 points compared to the 31 that kept them in the game.
Toronto finds themselves in a very tough situation. After letting a very winnable game slip away a few days ago, they showed no real signs of life outside of Kawhi that suggests they have any chance to make it out of this series. They do have the home court advantage the next two games and they will need both to keep the season alive. Coach Nick Nurse finds himself cornered, so it’ll be interesting to see what adjustments he makes, if there are any options.
This series is all but over. Toronto may be able to sneak out one of the next two games, but making it out of Milwaukee in their next trip seems unlikely. The Bucks find themselves just two wins away from their first trip to the NBA Finals since 1974. They will look to make the series 3-0 on Sunday at 6:00 p.m.