NBA East Finals: The Raptors Win, Putting The Prehistoric Past Behind Them

Milwaukee (10-4 SU Playoffs ) at Toronto (11-6 SU Playoffs)

Saturday, 8:30 p.m. (TNT)

Free NBA Pick: Raptors ML

Recommended Sportsbook: Just Bet

Talk about an exciting night in Toronto on Saturday! The Raptors are four quarters away from making the first-ever appearance in the NBA Finals. It’s hard to explain to Toronto fans as they are rabid when their teams do well and not as passionate when they are ordinary or not very good. Wouldn’t really call them hopping on the bandwagon per se, but that argument could be made.

But right now, they are having a great time, having won three straight games over Milwaukee after being down 0-2. What has turned this series around from them and why do the NBA odds show them as 2.5-point home favorites with a money line of -135?

Raptors Winning Key Stats

How has Toronto won the last three games? In losing the first two tilts in Milwaukee, the Raptors were being destroyed by the Bucks bench and crushed on the boards.

In their first contest at home, coach Nick Nurse’s team made three more 3’s, committed three few turnovers and made their free throws while the Bucks missed 11 from the charity stripe in the double overtime thriller.

In Game 4, the Toronto bench came alive and had a decisive 48-23 edge and for the first time won the rebounding battle. Once again the Raptors connected on three more made shots from behind the arc and was +7 in free throws made. Add those two numbers together (9+7 =16) and that tells the story why Kawhi Leonard and his teammates won by 18.

Thursday’s game was a little different and a case could be made Toronto was fortunate to win. The Raptors only shot 36.9 percent and they were outrebounded 53-45. However, they held three other important edges the decided the game in their favor.

Toronto’s ball-handling was fabulous, with only six turnovers compared to 11 for Milwaukee. The Raptors were more aggressive in going to the basket, taking 13 more free throw attempts and converting on a dozen more than the Bucks. The big one and the most important stat of series, Toronto made eight more long balls for a +24 point differential.

Though coach Mike Budenholzer squad was second in the NBA in made three-pointers in the regular season, they have 59 in this series, while allowing 74. That is a difference of 45 points.

Toronto Has The Difference-Makers

As basketballs fans and bettors, we have heard non-NBA fans over the years say, “You only have to watch the last quarter or five minutes of an NBA game.” While we don’t like to hear that there is truth in that belief as shown in this series. The team that what won four fourth quarters and the one OT has won each contest.

Leonard wants the ball and at crunch time and his confidence has elevated everyone’s belief and various players are making shots.

Milwaukee is no longer making key stops, cannot finish at the rim or make big three’s.

When Giannis Antetokounmpo drives to the cup, Nurse has his players fouling him instead of letting his make shots because more than half the time they are only allowing one point in that circumstance.

The sense is Toronto will make the plays and the Bucks won’t, which is why for NBA picks, taking the home team in Game 6 makes the most sense.