After both the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference were dealt early scares in the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors turned the tides. Now, the Eastern Conference Finals matchup headlined by Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard is set to take center stage.
The Bucks lost Game 1 of their series against the Boston Celtics before reeling off four consecutive wins to wrap up the series 4-1. Of their four victories, three of them came by 12 or more points with two on the wins on the road. Antetokounmpo and company simply took over the series after the loss, and look to carry that momentum into the semifinals.
As for the Raptors, their outlook was a bit more concerning at one point. After winning Game 1 over the Philadelphia 76ers by double-digits, they dropped back-to-back games. Fortunately, Leonard and company bounced back and stole Game 4 on the road, then took Game 5 before closing out the series in Game 7 on their home floor behind Kawhi Leonard’s wild game-winner.
We’re going to take a look at the Eastern Conference Finals matchup between the Bucks and Raptors by breaking down the schedule and offering a prediction on which team will advance to the NBA Finals.
Raptors vs. Bucks Eastern Conference Finals Schedule: Dates & Times
The schedule has been fully updated now, courtesy of Sports Media Watch, and will be modified if any changes or tweaks are made.
Wednesday, May 15
- Raptors vs. Bucks Game 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
Friday, May 17
- Raptors vs. Bucks Game 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
Sunday, May 19
- Bucks vs. Raptors Game 3 at 8:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
Tuesday, May 21
- Bucks vs. Raptors Game 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
Thursday, May 23
- Raptors vs. Bucks Game 5 at 8:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
Saturday, May 25
- Bucks vs. Raptors Game 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
Monday, May 27
- Raptors vs. Bucks Game 7 at 8:30 p.m. ET (TNT)
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After the Bucks and Raptors series is wrapped up, it’ll set up a date in the NBA Finals with the winner of the Western Conference Finals, which will begin Thursday, May 30 on ABC.
Raptors vs. Bucks Odds, Prediction & Pick
It’s not surprising that the Bucks are favored to win the opener on their home floor. They also opened as fairly heavy favorites to win the series against the Raptors as well.
Eastern Conference Series Odds: Bucks -300, Raptors +240 (via The Action Network)
Raptors vs. Bucks Game 1 Betting Line: Bucks -6 (courtesy of Odds Shark)
There’s no question that the Bucks are going to be a tough out, as they’ve been dominant through the playoffs. Beyond that, Milwaukee posted a 33-8 record on their home floor during the regular season. For what it’s worth, the Raptors went 26-15 on the road, proving they’re more than capable of winning games away from home.
It’s worth noting that while this series is an exceptional matchup, I also believe the winner will be able to go on and defeat the Western Conference champion to take the NBA title. Regardless of whether Leonard and the Raptors or Giannis and the Bucks emerge, both teams are well-rounded enough and feature the firepower to get the job done.
In the end, I’m still rolling with The Greek Freak and company to win the East, but it’s going to take seven games to do so against a talented Toronto group.
Prediction: Bucks defeat Raptors in seven games