2017 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference First Round Game #3
#3 Toronto Raptors at #6 Milwaukee Bucks
Best of Seven Series Tied 1-1
Thursday, April 20, 2017, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: NBA TV
BMO Harris Bradley Center – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Opening Line: Milwaukee -1
Current Line: Milwaukee -1 1/2
Opening Total: 196 1/2
Current Total: 196
Opening Money Line: Bucks -117 / Raptors -103
Current Money Line: Bucks -122 / Raptors +102
Six of the eight NBA first round series are 2-0 after the first two games. Only the Clippers-Jazz series in the West and the Raptors-Bucks series in the East are tied 1-1 as the series switch to the higher seeded teams. Toronto travels to Milwaukee for game three Thursday night.
Toronto is coached by Dwane Casey. The Raptors are 51-31 and are the #3 seed in the East. Toronto is 45-38-1 ATS and the total is 45-39 this season. Milwaukee is coached by Jason Kidd. The Bucks are the #6 seed and finished 42-40 in the regular season. Milwaukee is 38-46 ATS and the total is 42-40-2 this season.
Milwaukee won game one 97-83. Toronto was an 8 point favorite in game two Tuesday night and the total was 194.5. The Raptors would even up the series with a 106-100 win. Toronto led 55-52 at halftime, and 84-83 a the end of the third. The Raptors opened the fourth quarter on an 11-0 run. However, Milwaukee fought back to 98-97 with 2:46 left. The teams were tied at 100 with just over 2 minutes to go. However, the Bucks would not score again. After struggling in game one Kyle Lowry sealed the game for the Raptors with a jumper with 8.9 seconds left that put the Raptors up 104-100. Toronto would add two more free throws to complete the six point win.
Milwaukee shot 36/87 from the field including 11/23 from three point range. The Bucks made 17 of 19 free throws. Milwaukee had 49 rebounds, 20 assists, 12 turnovers, 6 steals and three blocks. Milwaukee had 12 fast break points and 30 points in the paint. Toronto made 37/77 field goals, including 14/29 from three point range. The Raptors made 18/25 free throws. Toronto had 51 rebounds, 24 assists, 13 turnovers, 6 steals and 4 blocks. The Raptors had 12 fast break points and 30 points in the paint.
DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists for the Raptors. Lowry had 22 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Serge Ibaka had 16 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks. Giannis Antetokounemo had 24 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals for the Bucks. Khris Middleton had 20 points and 5 rebounds. Greg Monroe had 18 points and 4 rebounds. Tony Snell had 14 points.
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Toronto is outscoring teams 107-103 this season. The Raptors are in the top ten in both categories this season. Toronto is shooting 46.4% from the field and 36.3% from three point range. The Raptors make 79.6% of their free throws and are #8 in that category. Opponents are shooting 44.9% from the field and 35.4% from three point range. The Raptors are #6 in field goal defense. Toronto averages 43.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 42.1 per game. The Raptors are #6 in rebounds allowed. Toronto averages 18.5 assists, 11.8 turnovers, 8.3 steals and 4.9 blocks per game.
Guard DeMar DeRozan averages 27.3 points per game, 5.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Guard Kyle Lowry averages 22.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Forward Serge Ibaka, acquired in a midseason trade with the Orlando Magic, averages 14.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Center Jonas Valanciunas averages 12 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Terrance Ross averages 10.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. DeMarre Carroll, Luis Scola, Cory Joseph, Norman Powell, Patrick Patterson, P.J. Tucker and Delon Wright will also get some minutes in the rotation.
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Milwaukee is being outscored 103.8-103.6 this season. The Bucks are #9 in points allowed and #20 in scoring. Milwaukee is shooting 47.4% from the field and 37% from 3 point range. The Bucks are #10 or better in both categories. Milwaukee makes 76.8% from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 45.8% from the field and 35.4% from 3 point range. Milwaukee averages 40.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 42.5. The Bucks are #8 in rebounds allowed, but #29 in rebounding. Milwaukee averages 24.2 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 8.1 steals and 5.3 blocks per game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, nicknamed the “Greek Freak” averages 22.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.9 blocks per game. He is the only player to be in the top 20 in the league in all statistical categories, and in a normal year would be an MVP candidate. He won’t even crack the top five though. Jabari Parker averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game before a knee injury sidelined him for the season in February. Khris Middleton averages 14.7 points, 4.2rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. Greg Monroe averages 11.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Malcolm Brogdon averages 10.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Michael Beasley averages 9.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Tony Snell, Matthew Dellavedova, Mirza Teletovic, Spencer Hawes, and Jason Terry will also get some minutes in the rotation.
Toronto is 6-1 ATS in road games, 5-1 against teams with winning home records, 6-2 after failing to cover, 2-5 after a straight up win, and 7-21-1 in first round games. The under is 9-3 in this series and 4-1 in Milwaukee. The raptors are 4-1 ATS in the last five games in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee is 7-1 ATS against Atlantic Division teams, 4-1 overall, in first round games and against Eastern Conference teams, 6-2 after a straight up loss, 3-8 on one day rest, 1-4 at home, and 1-7 after scoring 100 points or more. The favorite is 6-2 ATS in the last eight games in this series.
Of all the series, I think this one is a toss-up and looks destined for seven games. I think Toronto regains home court with a close victory in game three.