1) Milwaukee Bucks
2) Toronto Raptors
After getting thoroughly embarrassed in Game 2 by a 125-103 margin, Toronto needs to come up with some answers for Milwaukee, fast. Kawhi Leonard has proven his worth and his stock rises with every 30 point outburst. The Raptors need to come out swinging early and often because Milwaukee is coming for blood.
Keys to the game
On offense, Milwaukee needs to continue it’s model of consistency with at least five players in double figures. The team passing and sharing of the ball has been key to their offensive success. They must look for more of that kind of ball movement to keep Toronto’s defense in utter chaos. The Bucks have to unleashed their transition attack break and continue to take care of the basketball.
On defense, the Bucks must stay focused on locking down the Raptors offense with a smothering performance. Dominating the backboards with shear effort and determination will basically guarantee them a win. Even if they don’t get block shots, the effects of using their length around the basket will change and alter shots.
Offensively, Toronto is in dire need of CPR to revive a near dead offense. Kawhi Leonard is playing on an island by himself. They have to shoot better from the three point line (31%) or get to the free throw line (25 attempts) more. Something has to change, quickly. The Raptors can’t continue to lose the field goal percentage, fast break and paint points battles and expect the results to change.
Defensively, the Raptors can’t keep getting bludgeoned on the boards as it feeds the Bucks transition game. They continue to do a better job converting Milwaukee’s turnovers into points but need to force more. Adjustments need to be made on all levels for them to get back in this series.
The x-factor for Milwaukee is to not be overconfident having a 2-0 series lead. Complacency can lead to a false sense of security and cause a let down. They must put their foot on the pedal and go for the kill in Game 3.
The x-factor for Toronto will be pride after last game’s forgettable result. It’s not about stats anymore but rather the fight and heart of a basketball team. Being at home is nice but the Raptors must whip the crowd into a frenzy, then feed of their energy.
Prediction-Toronto will come out flying around like crazy and playing with urgency. Showing a will like they just want it more than their opponent with their season on the line will get them a much needed win.