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SportNBA playoffs 2019/Bucks vs. Raptors: 3 things that will decide the series

17:45  15 may  2019
17:45  15 may  2019 Source:   sportingnews.com

NBA playoffs 2019: Eastern Conference finals preview, prediction

NBA playoffs 2019: Eastern Conference finals preview, prediction The Bucks will meet the Raptors with a chance to compete for a championship on the line. Milwaukee easily advanced to the Eastern Conference finals by defeating the Celtics in its second-round series. Toronto, on the other hand, squeaked past the 76ers when Kawhi Leonard hit a miraculous fourth-quarter buzzer-beater in Game 7, the first of its kind in NBA playoffs history. THE SHOT. THE BOUNCE. THE WIN. Kawhi Leonard drops in the #TissotBuzzerBeater to lift the @Raptors to the Game 7 win! #ThisIsYourTime #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.

The Celtics and Bucks will face off in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with Game 1 set for Sunday (1 p.m. ET, ABC). Both teams enter the series coming off of sweeps, as the Bucks dominated the Pistons from start to finish while Boston went Here are three things that could decide the matchup.

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NBA playoffs 2019/Bucks vs. Raptors: 3 things that will decide the series © Provided by Perform Media Channels Limited

The matchup between the Bucks and the Raptors is one of the most intriguing of the entire NBA playoffs.

Milwaukee easily advanced to the Eastern Conference finals by topping the Celtics in its second-round series. Meanwhile, Toronto managed to squeeze past the 76ers in seven games.

Top-seeded Milwaukee and second-seeded Toronto were the two top teams in the East throughout 2018-19. Both have at least two All-Stars and multi-dimensional offenses.

The Bucks beat the Raptors three of the four times the teams met during the regular season.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals tips off Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET (TNT) in Milwaukee.

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NBA playoffs 2019 : Raptors ' Nick Nurse praises Kawhi Leonard's 'big-time' performance. Leonard started the Toronto Raptors ' series against the Raptors Game 1 knockout leaves Sixers reeling. One of the truly neat things about an NBA playoff series as it opens is that teams think they know

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Here are three things that will decide the series:

Kawhi vs. Giannis

This is the matchup everyone wants to see.

Raptors wing Kawhi Leonard and Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo are two of the game’s brightest stars. Each has delivered for his team time and again this postseason. Antetokounmpo is difficult to stop around the rim, and Leonard hit the biggest shot in Raptors history when he knocked down a fourth-quarter buzzer-beater in Game 7 against Philadelphia.

Leonard and Antetokounmpo are go-to scorers who can also change a game defensively. It’ll be fun to watch them face off multiple times.

NBA playoffs 2019: 'Beast' Brook Lopez leads Bucks rally past Raptors

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Here are three things that could decide the series this time around: Clint Capela's ability to stay on the floor. Clint Capela can be a game changer MORE : NBA playoffs 2019 : Clippers' Lou Williams says Warriors made mistake by 'looking ahead' | NBA playoffs 2019 : Rockets’ Clint Capela explains

Battle of the benches

The Bucks’ bench is one of their strengths. The Raptors definitely cannot say the same.

Milwaukee will rely on its second unit for long stretches and can depend on as many as nine players. Ersan Ilyasova, George Hill and Pat Connaughton have all made an impact for the Bucks so far in the playoffs, and Malcolm Brogdon returned from a foot injury in Game 5 against the Celtics.

Toronto, on the other hand, has received little from its reserves, which has forced coach Nick Nurse to play his starters heavy minutes throughout the postseason. The Raptors hope that trend does not continue.

OG Anunoby’s status

It’s unclear whether OG Anunoby will return this series.

The 21-year-old Toronto forward underwent an emergency appendectomy in mid-April and has yet to play in the playoffs. He did some light work at practice earlier this week and is starting to be more active, Nurse told reporters.

NBA playoffs 2019: Marc Gasol blames himself for Raptors' Game 2 loss

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Here are three things that could decide the series between the Nuggets and Trail Blazers. Trail Blazers assignment on Nikola Jokic. MORE: NBA playoffs 2019 : Al Horford explains Celtics’ plan to slow down Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo | NBA playoffs 2019 : Warriors' Stephen Curry

The Celtics and Bucks will face off in the Eastern Conference semifinals, with Game 1 set for Sunday (1 p.m. ET, ABC). Both teams enter the series coming off of sweeps Boston and Milwaukee are two of the most talented teams in the conference, and the floor will be filled with stars throughout the series .

Anunoby, however, is still at least a week from ramping up activities, Nurse said, which means he would not make it back onto the court until the latter part of the series, at the earliest, and likely only if the Raptors can push the series to Game 6 or 7, scheduled for May 25 and 27.

At 6-8 with a 7-6 wingspan, Anunoby would provide the Raptors with another player capable of guarding the 6-11 Antetokounmpo if Anunoby does manage to make his 2019 postseason debut and is healthy against the Bucks. That could make all the difference.

NBA playoffs 2019: Giannis Antetokounmpo isn't feeling pressure despite Raptors' revival.
The Bucks' 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals is gone, but Giannis Antetokounmpo is relaxed heading into Game 5 against the Raptors.

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