Can the Bucks Gallop Into Round 2?
Have you ever been in a situation where a fly gets into your bedroom and every time you are about to forget about it you hear a buzz? Well the Toronto Raptors are going through that same situation, but the pest of a fly is the Milwaukee Bucks. Needless to say the Raptors may have been taken by surprise in Game 1. It almost seemed like they didn’t realize Giannis Antetokounmpo is the next face of the NBA. Yes, that is a bold statement to make, but the kid can ball and he is only 22 years old.
Quickly, let’s take a look at what happened the first two games between the Bucks and Raptors. Game 1 was a fun time if you were rooting for Milwaukee. The game ended up being a blowout and stars Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greg Monroe and Khris Middleton showed they were ready to show the world that you don’t have to be the favorite to win a playoff game. Game 2 was a bit of a different story. Someone probably informed the Raptors that they were playing in the playoffs. The team came out with a different swagger after being embarrassed at home. The one thing they still could not stop though was the Greek Freak. No matter how big of a lead the Raptors had, it seemed like once Antetokounmpo had the ball in his hands that lead was not safe. This game went down to the wire and if not for some unfortunate misses the Bucks could be up 2-0 in the series going home to Wisconsin.
What do the Bucks have to do to advance out of this series? The key is playing through the Greek Freak. Antetokounmpo is the real deal and a bonafide star in the NBA. As he goes the Bucks go. Another key matchup is with the bigs. Serge Ibaka had a magnificent Game 2 for the Raptors, impacting the game on both ends. Greg Monroe needs to regain his dominant form from Detroit and make life tough for Ibaka. This is also true for young center Thon Maker. If the team can stop Ibaka they will have a good shot at moving forward in the playoffs. There is no way that Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will have bad games at the same time again, but limiting those two with excellent defensive play will also be a factor.
At the end of the day, this will be a very close series and can potentially go seven games. The Bucks did what every lower seeded team in the playoffs is looking to do. They won a game on the road. Now if they just take care of business at home the Milwaukee will move on to the next round. That sounds simple doesn’t it? Realistically, this is a five game series now. Jason Kidd will not let the Bucks dwell on the Game 2 loss and help them to make a serious push towards upsetting Canada’s team. If there is any team besides the Bulls that has a real chance for an upset it is the Bucks.