Bucks Host Raptors in Crucial Game 6, With Toronto Up 3-2 in Series
By Joel Bartilotta
The Milwaukee Bucks host the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference first-round playoffs at BMO Harris Bradley Center on Thursday.
The Raptors (3-2) looked to be in big trouble after a terrible Game 1 in which they scored just 83 points in a home defeat, but they've bounced back nicely by winning three of their last four games. What's really carried this Toronto team is their defense, as they are allowing under 85 points per game in their last two victories. That's something they need to continue to do, as their elite offense from the regular season has yet to find its form in these playoffs. Norman Powell has been a huge spark in these last two wins though, as he's accumulated 37 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a starting role. That's a third weapon that the Raptors have desperately needed for quite some time and it's a great sign to see one emerge in the postseason.
The Bucks (2-3) offense has really been struggling in these playoffs, as they've yet to surpass 104 points in any of their five games. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only guy who seems to be playing consistently and they need more from their role players if they are to escape this series. That means Greg Monroe, Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton all need to step up, as they are plenty capable of being offensive threats in this series. It's going to take two wins in a row to get into the second-round though and that's a tall task from a team who barely finished above .500.
Despite the fact that the home team won all four regular season meetings between these teams, the home teams are just 3-2 in this series. The two games in Milwaukee were defensive battles in this series as well, as the losing teams failed to crack 77 points with them splitting both games.
Posted on April 26, 2017 at 10:32 PM ET
Updated on April 26, 2017 at 11:00 PM ET
Grizzlies Host Spurs in Critical Game 6, San Antonio Up 3-2 in Series
By Joel Bartilotta
The Memphis Grizzlies play host to the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of the Western Conference first-round playoffs at FedEx Forum on Thursday.
The Spurs (3-2) haven't played their best ball in this series, but they need just one win in their next two games to sneak into the second-round. What's been most strange about this postseason is the lack of defense from the Spurs, as they have allowed a 29th ranked Grizzlies defense to score at least 104 points in three-straight games. That's far from the defense that everyone is accustomed to with San Antonio and it's a wonder why they're struggling so badly. In any case, they find themselves just one win away from advancing to the next round and that's all that really matters at this point.
The Grizzlies (2-3) are going to need to win two-straight games against the Spurs to advance to round two and that's a tough task for any NBA team. The good news is that Memphis is 4-0 against San Antonio at home this season and that's obviously better than anyone else in the league. Their homecourt has been a fortress for a decade now too, with the Grizzlies posting a 24-17 record in FedEx Forum this season. Mike Conley has really been a standout in this series as well, as he has at least 24 points and eight assists in four-straight games against this stingy Spurs defense. That's an incredible run for an underrated player and they'll need him to do that twice more if they want to pull out the upset in this series.
These teams have played one another nine times this season, as the home team has prevailed in every game thus far.
Posted on April 26, 2017 at 10:45 PM ET
Updated on April 26, 2017 at 11:04 PM ET