2017 Hoops Inq. Playoff Preview: Raptors (3) - Bucks (6)

2017 Hoops Inq. Playoff Preview: Raptors (3) - Bucks (6)

 Series Schedule:

Game 1: Saturday, 4/15 @ Toronto

Game 2: Tuesday, 4/18 @ Toronto

Game 3: Thursday, 4/20 @ Milwaukee

Game 4: Saturday, 4/22 @ Milwaukee

Game 5 (if necessary): Monday, 4/24 @ Toronto

Game 6 (if necessary): Thursday, 4/27 @ Milwaukee

Game 7 (if necessary): Saturday, 4/29 @ Toronto

Regular Season Series Results:

The Raptors won the regular season battle by winning 3 out of 4 games against the Bucks.

Players To Watch:

Milwaukee Bucks:

Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Greek Freak made his playoff debut last season but he's so much better this year, that this is his official debut. Giannis will likely win the Most Improved Player of the Year Award and has solidified himself as one of the best players in the league. He will be a handful for any team and Toronto is lucky they have Dwane Casey on the sidelines to try and game-plan to limit the 22-year-old as much as they can. Antetokounmpo led his team in every major category and is one of the only players in NBA history to do so. The kid is special. Everyone, brace yourselves for a spectacular showing.

Khris Middleton: Middleton has played very well since returning from an injury that kept him out the first half of the NBA season. He doesn't look like he's lost a step and he continues to remain one of the most underrated players in the league. DeMar DeRozan has been on a tear offensively, but doesn't give Toronto much on the other end of the ball. Middleton's job will be to force DeRozan to play defense so he doesn't have the legs to get those mid-range jumpers off.

Matthew Dellavedova: Delly went from being the second most important Cavalier in the 2015 Finals to disappearing in the 2016 Finals. His chippyness, all-around defense and veteran leadership were some of the main reasons why the Bucks brought him on board. With Malcolm Brogdon stealing the point guard show in Milwaukee, many forget about Dellavedova. He will give Kyle Lowry some fits when Jason Kidd decides to turn to him.

Toronto Raptors: 

DeMar DeRozan: DeRozan has arguably been the best shooting guard in the league this season. Thanks to a monster start to the season, he ended up scoring 27.3 points per game on 47 percent shooting from the field. DeRozan does all this without a three-ball, which makes it that much more impressive. At the same time, he can fall in love with the jumper and if calls are not going his way to get to the free-throw line, he can hurt the Raptors more than help. Regardless, he has played like one of the best players in the league and should give the Bucks all kinds of trouble.

Kyle Lowry: Lowry was playing like the best point guard in the Eastern Conference before his injury kept him out for more than a month after the All-Star Break. Since then, John Wall has taken the throne but Lowry was decent in the final few games of the regular season. He's still working to get in game rhythm and should have a good test against Delly to get him ready for the later rounds. Lowry has to finally show up in the postseason if he wants to be considered one of the elite point guards in the league.

Serge Ibaka: This is the player the Raptors have needed for years and they finally have him within the flow of the team, just in time for the playoffs. Toronto was in desperate need of a stretch four to help spread the floor with their lack of shooters. Ibaka has played well and has fallen in love with Toronto since the trade earlier this year. His veteran experience, defense and toughness will help the Raptors throughout the postseason.

The Bucks are young, hungry, have the best player in the series and a good coach in Jason Kidd. However, the Raptors are a better all around team. They have more depth and after taking the Cavs to six games in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, they should have the confidence to pass the first round without a sweat. Antetokounmpo will obviously make their lives difficult, but the Bucks don't have much else to threaten the Raptors with. Lowry will show up and DeRozan has been too good to disappear now. Give me the Raptors in 6.