Both sides cruised through to the second round of the postseason having only dropped one game each in their respective matchups.
After a scare in the first game of the series against Orlando, the Raptors emerged back into the two-way threat we’ve seen all season and ran out the next four games in style.
With Kyle Lowry’s sporadic form over the length of the series becoming a concern for Raptor fans, big man Pascal Siakam arrived to cool over the blow, averaging 22.6 points and 8.4 rebounds over the series.
As for Philadelphia, all eyes will be on Joel Embiid. The star centre has battled with fitness throughout his career and looks to be facing a similar story in the playoffs. While the Raptors will begin the series as hot favourites, the Sixers could pinch game one and even claim the series if Embiid gets enough minutes under his belt.
As for the rest of their star-studded lineup, the Sixers will be looking to counter the Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard matchup. Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris could all be set to face ‘the Claw’ mano-e-mano throughout the series. If Leonard is to shut down Simmons’ ball movement and dribble, then this one could be over early.
For what will be a tough encounter with the conference’s top seed, the Celtics should take confidence from their series sweep of Indiana. Similarly, The Bucks, defeated Detroit 4-0 in the first round and will start this matchup as clear favourites.
While Milwaukee host the initial bragging rights with a 2-1 lead throughout the regular season, one of those victories were against a Celtics outfit with a line of bigs absent in Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes. The other was a one-point thriller in Milwaukee.
Having already set a high ceiling in the regular season, Giannis Antetokounmpo exceeded expectations against the Pistons, averaging 26.3 points, 12 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game, including a postseason career-high 41 points in game four.
All eyes will be on the Greek Freak and Kyrie Irving to lead their sides to the next round, but don’t be distracted by these centre stage athletes. Both Boston and Milwaukee will need to heavily rely on their depth if they are to make it through to the conference finals.
Eric Bledsoe will have to carry over his form from the first round in support of Giannis, while the Celtics’ impressive young duo Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will have their own roles to hold down if the Celtics are to stand a chance. As for Gordon Hayward… who knows what you’re going to get.
https://bluebetblog.australiasoutheast.cloudapp.azure.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Giannis-Antetokounmpo.jpg7001040bluebetadminhttps://bluebetblog.australiasoutheast.cloudapp.azure.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/BBlogo.pngbluebetadmin2019-04-26 16:22:572019-04-30 16:01:03NBA East Semi Finals - Game 1 Preview - 28/29 April 2019
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