The Milwaukee Bucks (2-2) host the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors (4-1) Saturday at the Fiserv Forum. It will be a rematch between the 2018-19 Eastern Conference finalists with tip-off set at 8:00 p.m. EST. Despite the departure of Kawhi Leonard, it appears the Raptors have adjusted with their current lineup.
The reigning champions have proven that there is life after Kawhi. In fact, they have been doing well both on offense and defense this season. Stepping up for the wards of head coach Nick Nurse is Pascal Siakam. The Cameroonian has risen to the occasion, averaging 28.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Nurse is elated with the 25-year-old’s performance, awed by his evolution into a primetime scorer, NBA Canada reported.
Providing help will be Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. Both have been logging heavy minutes, averaging 21.6 and 17.0 points respectively. There is also Marc Gasol who is off to a slow start. While his main forte is defense, Toronto also needs him to contribute on offense – the same way he did in the 2018-19 NBA finals.
Milwaukee has gone through some tough luck, losing out on close games to stronger teams. They have fallen short in clutch situations, something that head coach Mike Budenholzer hopes to remedy.
Leading the Bucks anew is Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak has been putting up decent numbers, averaging 23.8 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. He is ably backed up by Khris Middleton who is averaging 20.8 points per game, shooting 41.9-percent from three-point territory. Brook Lopez is also doing his share with 12.9 points and 12.3 rebounds. But the Bucks need more players to get involved if they are to snag their third win in five games.
The key players to watch here are Siakam and Antetokounmpo. Both are off to a fine start and are the future faces of their respective teams.
In other departments, the Bucks need to do a better job controlling the boards. They do have the height but will need to exert more effort against the Raptors. Toronto is averaging almost 50 caroms per game, something that could tilt the tide in their favor.
The team that can get its offense flowing, particularly from the outside will likely come out on top. Oddshark.com slightly favors the Bucks over the Raptors in this matchup.