It had been 34 years since the Milwaukee Bucks won a Game 1 playoff road game. With their win over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, the Bucks also picked up their first Game 1 win in a playoff series since 2001. The Bucks head back to Toronto tonight with a 1-0 series lead to face the Raptors in Game 2. The game will start at 6 p.m. (CDT). Fans in Milwaukee can watch the game live on NBA TV or Fox Sports Wisconsin from home, or join the Bucks Official Viewing Party at the Hi Hat Garage (1701 N. Arlington Pl., Milwaukee). The game will also air on 620 WTMJ Radio.
The win in Game 1 was thanks to a strong defensive showing by the Bucks in the second half. Milwaukee allowed Toronto to score only 32 points in the second half and forced them to shoot 7-for-35. The Bucks broke a 68-68 tie thanks to a 17-3 run with 3:26 remaining in the third quarter, taking control of the game.
Milwaukee ended up winning 97-83 with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading all scorers with 28 points on 13-of-18 shooting.
Greg Monroe had a solid start to his first playoff series with a double-double on Saturday. Moose finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds. His rebounds are the most by a Bucks player in the playoffs since Ervin Johnson had 15 in 2001. Monroe’s contributions off the bench will be an important factor to this playoff series.
The Bucks started two rookies at Toronto for the first time in an NBA playoff game since Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli started for Golden State in 2013. Thon Maker and Malcolm Brogdon are expected to be seen in the starting lineup once again tonight. Brogdon is coming off a phenomenal rookie season. In the regular season, Brogdon led all rookies in assists (4.2 APG) and steals (1.1 SPG) per game, came in second for minutes (26.4 MPG) per game, and came in third for points (10.2 PPG) per game.
Toronto defeated the Bucks 3-1 in the 2016-17 regular season series and had beaten the Bucks in four consecutive games in Toronto before Saturday. In the three games that the Bucks lost to the Raptors in the regular season, Khris Middleton was out due to injury. In the game that the Bucks beat the Raptors, Khris Middleton was back and scored 24 points. In Saturday’s game, Middleton had 10 points with nine assists. Middleton could display his importance to the team in this series and give Bucks hope for the 2017-18 season.
The probable starting lineup for Game 2 includes Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker, Tony Snell and Malcolm Brogdon. Bucks fans, make sure to tune in to see if Milwaukee will return to the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Thursday for Game 3 with a 2-0 series lead.
(Stats come from Milwaukee Bucks Game Notes)