The Milwaukee Bucks are set to face off against the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals (ECF) in a matchup of teams fairly new to the ECF. The Raptors were last here in 2016 when their best player was DeMar DeRozan and the Bucks were last here in 2001 when they had a budding star in Ray Allen. Now the two teams who had the best records in the NBA this season will compete for the right to represent the East in the NBA Finals.
Stars Giannis Antekounmpo and Kawhi Leonard are the new crop of the East following the departure of LeBron James who previously ran through the East in eight straight seasons to reach the NBA finals. The ECF will come down to much more than just the play of the two stars however, as coaching strategies and bench play will surely play a huge part in swinging the series one way or another.
Keep reading below to see what questions will answer which team will advance to the NBA Finals.
Toronto’s trio of big men (Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka) are going to play the biggest role in the Raptors success if they are able to pull off the series. Everyone knows Kawhi’s going to get his buckets but he’ll need someone else to step up and make big shots in big moments just like he can do. Siakam had previously been that player who looked like he could play second fiddle to Leonard’s aggressive game, but he sort of fell off in games six and seven against the 76ers while Serge Ibaka woke up and put together two great performances. His rim protection will be key to how the Raptors play on defense and in transition throughout the series. Marc Gasol is able to play huge minutes and has his best shot at an NBA finals ever so I figure he’ll put his best effort forward on a nightly basis. But will he be able to defend Brook Lopez on the perimeter?