Title: Deep-dive series preview: How do the Raptors and Bucks match up? A study of styles, rotations and more
Date: May 14, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I performed a deep dive into the lineups, rotations, key matchups, playing styles and more for the third-round playoff series between the Raptors and Bucks.
Prior to the season, the Eastern Conference was discussed as if it had four real contenders to reach the NBA Finals. There were the Boston Celtics, who had come within a game of that a year prior, the ascendant Process 76ers, the now-armed-with-Kawhi Leonard Raptors and, generally placing fourth in projections of betting odds, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Almost from the jump, the Bucks looked like the best of that group. They steamrolled the league in the regular season, finishing first in record and in net rating. They rarely slumped, and so long as Antetokounmpo was on the court making a very strong case for MVP, they looked dangerous. Public opinion was slower to come around than it should have been. The Bucks showed everyone whom they were early and often. The Raptors mostly were what they were all season, a very good team that didn’t really feel the urgency to find top gear.
The East played out as expected in the first round, pitting the four presumed challengers against each other. The Bucks summarily dismissed the Celtics and the Raptors eked by the 76ers in the narrowest way possible. The Eastern Conference finals is being fought by the two best teams in the conference all season and so far in the postseason, with its two best players head-to-head, as well.
This is exactly how it should be.