The end of the NBA regular season is here. For some, it is a welcome relief from the pain of a failing franchise. For others, it is time to watch their team in the playoffs. Some teams got more favorable match-ups, but others were given a nightmare first round.
For the Bucks, their first round match-up is on the nightmare side. Milwaukee will head to Toronto to take on the Raptors. This 3 vs 6 series is probably the worst the Bucks could ask for. They have to take on a team they have struggled against recently. The Raptors own the season series 3-1. Toronto also has an incredible home court advantage, as their arena is one of the loudest in the NBA (not to mention the viewing area known as "Jurassic Park").
The Bucks have won just 1 of the last 8 meetings between the two teams. It will be the first time these squads play each other in the playoffs.
Toronto is coming off a hot end to their season, winning 10 of their last 12. Milwaukee finished their final 12 games with a 7-5 record, some of those included in their red hot March in which they went an NBA-best 14-4. Milwaukee had the harder schedule, but that should not determine who you think will win the series. Remember that some of these wins came against teams resting key players.
It's not just the recent history and the home court advantage favoring the Raptors. They are simply a better team. The return of Kyle Lowry really hammers this home. With a better starting lineup and more depth, the Raptors should win this series fairly easily. However, the Bucks should not be overlooked. Toronto fans should not expect the team to just lie down and take a beating. This is a team that can potentially win 1 or 2 games in Milwaukee.
Personally, I do not see the series as a sweep. Milwaukee should be able to win at least once at home. With that being said, I still expect the Raptors to win the series in 5 or 6 games. One of those games will be a blowout, the rest will be fairly close. We will learn a lot about how the series will go in Game 1. The series starts with that first game on ESPN at 5:30 PM Eastern.