The Raptors trail the Eastern Conference finals 2-0 against the Bucks. Not an ominous sign. According to ESPN, Teams that are 2-0 up in conference finals, win the series 91% of the time. That figure jumps to 93.5% for all playoff series.
Nick Nurse of the Raptors is defiant on such matters. He strongly believes his Raptors roster can turn the series around against the Bucks juggernaut. He has suggested making multiple changes to the starting line up in a bid to win their next 2 games. Failure to win , would seriously destroy any chances of a comeback. Can the Raptors really win their 2 games at Toronto?
Raptors shortcomings are the Bucks’ strengths.
With the exception of Kawhi Leonard, No Raptor has turned up on a consistently nightly basis. In game 2 against the Bucks, Marc Gasol was held to just 2 points. Pascal Siakim fouled out after scoring just 8. Danny Green has had an ineffective series so far. Lowry did not replicate his heroics from Game 1.
On the other hand, the Bucks have been able to click all season long. After dismantling the Pistons in the first round , they suffered a heavy defeat against Boston. Yet the team rallied to thrash the Celtics in 4 straight games, and have taken the first 2 games against Toronto. Game 2 was a comprehensive victory.
The Bucks have what Toronto does not. A reliable bench and superstars that compensate for each other. Giannis has been the go to man. He has maintained the same level of dominance we saw during the regular season. However, the Bucks are able to use their system and defence to maximise the effectiveness. In the playoffs, 7 Bucks are averaging over 10 points a game, with Giannis leading it at 27 a night. The Bucks system allows Giannis to dominate the paint. If he spots a free shooter amongst his teammates, a pass can be made for a 3-point shot. A simple solution and allows the Bucks to almost always find a way to score
.The Bucks also have strength in depth. George Hill, Erasn Ilyasova and Nikola Mirotic have been instrumental in keeping the second unit going when the starters rest. Toronto generally have been over reliant on their starters, which made them play long minutes in the series against the 76ers. Milwaukee are fresher by comparison.
Game 3 Implications.
If Milwaukee win either of Game 3 or 4, the series would mostly be done and dusted. The Raptors are fighting to save their season.
The Eastern Conference champions, would likely face the might of Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals.