Toronto (8-5 SU, 6-7 ATS Playoffs ) at Milwaukee (9-1 SU & ATS Playoffs)
Friday, 8:30 p.m. (TNT)
Free NBA Pick: Bucks ATS
Recommended Sportsbook: Bookmaker
If you are a Toronto fan or had a Raptors betting ticket at +6.5, as the late Chris Farley said in the movie – Tommy Boy – “That’s going to leave a mark.” For three quarters, Toronto was doing everything right. But this is the NBA, where most games are won and spreads are won and lost in the final 12 minutes and this one was no different.
Milwaukee was led by Brook Lopez’s 29 points and him rediscovering his long-range shooting stroke with three key three-pointers in the fourth period. It was an excruciating loss for Toronto, who had the game under control until they did not.
What To Think If You Are Toronto
The Raptors lead for 37 of the 48 minutes played, but could not seal the deal. Coach Nick Nurse will cover the disappointing aspects, but also convince his team they did so much right.
Toronto copied elements of what Boston did early in their series with Milwaukee and set up a picket fence to prevent Giannis Antetokounmpo from driving down the lane and forcing him to pass before he wanted to. The risk/reward aspect of this is that leaves the Bucks with open shots and they only made 6 of 34 three-point attempts thru three quarters. But in the final stanza, Milwaukee was 5 for 10 from deep and that also ended up breaking down the Raptors in the paint defense.
It would seem better served for Nurse to mix up defenses and be more unpredictable, using the picket fence defense at times and play Antetokounmpo straight up or with some help, but having his team defend the long distance shooters closer.
On offense, you are not going to score 41 points in a half and beat Milwaukee. Take away Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard combining for 61 points and the rest of the Raptors tallied only 39 points on 14 for 51 (27.4%) shooting, which included impossible to comprehend 1 for 23 in the 2nd half. Toronto needs guys to make shots.
What To Think If You Are Milwaukee
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer has to be thrilled that his team won a game that they should have lost. In a seven-game series, if you steal on victory, that can be the winning margin. At the same time that builds further confidence in a team that has learned to just keep playing their game and do what they do best. Milwaukee did and won the game and made bettors holding Bucks betting tickets pleased with their NBA picks.
For Game 2, Milwaukee will almost certainly shoot better than 25 percent from behind the arc like they did Wednesday. The Greek Freak will likely not have a pedestrian game as he did with 24 points (by his now lofty standards). If those two aspects improve and the Bucks play the same kind of second-half defense, they head north with a 2-0 series lead.
The Game 2 East Finals Outcome
Though the headliners in this series are what everyone was talking about, you have to read the entire box-score to understand what matters. This writer/handicapper said the Milwaukee bench could have a large impact and they outscored Toronto’s non-starters 22-12, essentially the difference in the game. If the Bucks bench does not keep their team in the game, the comeback would have come up short.
With Milwaukee 9-1 SU and ATS in the postseason and 8-1 ATS at home when the total is 210 to 219.5, there is ample reason to Fear The Deer on Friday night.