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Bucks Can Go Up 2-0 on Raptors

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Updated: .April 18, 2017

By Charles Jay

Were the Toronto Raptors shocked by what happened to them in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks? Well, observers remember that when Kyle Lowry and the DeMar DeRozan went cold from the field in last season’s playoffs, they had a very difficult time against the Indiana Pacers. Maybe the surprise is that Milwaukee did such a great job defensively against them, making adjustments at halftime that brought them a 97-83 victory. Now these teams go at it in Game 2, which begins at 7 PM ET at the Air Canada Centre. Remember that if you are an America’s Bookie customer, you can access two different “Live Betting” options to keep the action going after the game has tipped off.

Milwaukee trailed 51-46 at the half, but then they really turned on the defense, holding the raptors just seven field goals in the second half, and they finished strong, outscoring Toronto 22-13 in the fourth quarter. This is important to note, because the raptors are more or less kings of the fourth quarter, outscoring their opponents during the regular season by an average of 13.2 points per 100 possessions.

What is also interesting to note is that this is the eighth consecutive playoff series in which Toronto has lost the opener. Can they come back? Well, they should be able to, considering that they finished with a record of 51-31, which tied them with the Cleveland Cavaliers first second place in the East. But they won’t get far if they can’t get better shooting out of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.

In the NBA playoff lines that have been posted on this game, Toronto is laying some points:

Toronto Raptors -7.5 (-105)
Milwaukee Bucks +7.5 (-115)

Over 194.5 points -115
Under 194.5 points -105

Lowry has not been back in the lineup for all that long, having played in just four games after returning from surgery on his wrist. Last year against Indiana he shot just 31.6%, and DeRozan, who is also an All-Star, hit only 31.9% in a series with Indiana that was forced to go seven games. The two also combined to go just 10-61 from downtown. In Game 1 of this particular series, they shot a combined 9-32, including a goose egg (0-8) from three-point territory. Overall, the Raptors hit only 36% of their shots. If there was some encouragement, it came from the “inside” guys, who scored 32 points in the paint in the first half. This included Serge Ibaka, who had 19 points and 14 rebounds.

The Bucks, of course, were paced by Giannis, who scored 28 points with eight rebounds. He is the only player in NBA history to have finished in the top 20 league wide in scoring, rebounds, assists, steals and block shots in the same season. And Greg Montroe was a huge help off the bench, with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Malcolm Brogdon, the rookie, contributed with four triples.

Lowry admits that the Bucks did a great job of game-planning against him, but we also have to point out that he is only 37.9% from the field for his entire career in post-season action. He simply has to attack the basket a little bit more, as he only took one free-throw in Game 1. DeRozan did a pretty good job along those lines, hitting 13 out of his 14 shots from the charity stripe. But we would like to see these guys solve the defensive puzzle first before backing them. Until then, maybe an UNDER is in order, as the Charles Jay / America’s Bookie Challenge continues on Tuesday.

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