The Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors will face off in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night. With the series deadlocked at two games apiece, Game 5 could be pivotal. The Bucks are currently the favorites at -6.5 according to most betting sites.
Khris Middleton: X-factor?
Khris Middleton was the X-factor in Game 4. He was Milwaukee’s leading scorer with 30 points. Middleton was efficient as well, going 11-of-15 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line. He played a huge role in the game for Milwaukee and kept it close even in defeat. Middleton has been the player that has provided some much-needed secondary scoring to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo had 25 points in Game 4 to go with 10 rebounds.
If Toronto wants to win the game on Thursday, they have to make sure that they pay attention to the perimeter. In Game 4, Middleton went 4-of-7. Milwaukee as a team went 11-of-35. That’s not particularly efficient, but if they allow space for those shots to at least have a chance to go in, Toronto will be in big trouble. For reference, Milwaukee shot 31.4% from three-point range.
Toronto’s Double Trouble
Kyle Lowry stepped up in a big way for Toronto in Game 4. He went to 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-7 from the three-point line. Scoring 25 points in all, he made all 10 of his free throws. He was a great secondary scorer to Kawhi Leonard, who also had a good night of his own.
Leonard finished with 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting. He did a nice job of getting to the line as well, making 6-of-8 free throws. In total, he had 19 points in the game. Other players stepped up as well, but it was nice to see those two make an impact. The Raptors needed both of them to step up, and they did in a big way.
The Turnover Battle
Whoever wins the turnover battle will win the game. Milwaukee had 13 turnovers and allowed 17 points off those miscues. Toronto had 11 turnovers and surrendered five points as a result. In a contest where statistics were pretty much even, that was the biggest reason why the Raptors were able to come away with the Game 4 victory.
I would take the Bucks -6.5 in this one. They’re going to be hungry to redeem themselves after a loss in the previous matchup. If there’s one thing that this series has shown, it is that there is no clear favorite. This will be a game where both teams fight tooth and nail for the win.
I would certainly be hesitant to take the over because of this. It should be a good game, and I would definitely feel comfortable picking the Bucks in this one. I don’t see them losing three straight games, and I have a feeling that their superstars will be able to make an impact and will do so early.
As long as Milwaukee keeps feeding the hot hands, they should be in good shape. Of course, Toronto will be ready for this, but I don’t think it will be enough.