Raptors vs. Bucks (Jan. 31) Preview: Possible Eastern Conference Finals Matchup - Time Start, Stats, Players To Watch - uSports.org

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Raptors vs. Bucks (Jan. 31) Preview: Possible Eastern Conference Finals Matchup – Time Start, Stats, Players To Watch Full view

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 25: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks carries the ball against the Boston Celtics during the first quarter at TD Garden on February 25, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Raptors vs. Bucks (Jan. 31) Preview: Possible Eastern Conference Finals Matchup – Time Start, Stats, Players To Watch

For their 50th game of the season, the Toronto Raptors prepare to face off against the Milwaukee Bucks at home. This is their final game of the season and Milwaukee is 2-1 against Toronto this year with the latter gaining their first win the last time they played.

Raptors Host Bucks on Jan. 31

This game is definitely a potential playoff matchup, making it a good place to establish home-court advantage. With the Anthony Davis trade talk becoming a subject of every team’s interest, winning tonight might give one of them an edge in the bidding war.

The Bucks are the No. 1 team in the East and have one of the best records in the NBA, and it’s not without reason. The Bucks have been dominant all season, facing off against premier teams and still being able to come out on top.

Being 14-9 on the road, the Bucks are comfortable playing away, but they have to remain disciplined if they’re going to win. This means avoiding easy turnovers: Kawhi Leonard had matched his season high in steals (5) the last time they played.

The Raptors are coming off another tough week, as they are 4-3 in their last seven games. If the Raptors are going to be successful tonight, they’re going to need a team defensive effort to slow down the “Greek Freak.” Giannis Antetokounmpo is currently the league leader in MVP voting and captain of the All-Star team, showing how dominant he’s been all season.

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In their last meeting — even through the Raptors were able to secure the win — Giannis still managed to go off for over 40 points. If they look to win tonight, a big part of the game is going to come from the defense and from the ability to get stops and go on runs. The Bucks lead the league in wide-open 3-pointers (22.6). But it’s not just defense: another key for the Raptors tonight is ball movement and to get everyone involved.

The starting lineup combined for over 100 points the last time these two teams played, thanks to huge contributions from role players such as Pascal Siakam and Serge Ibaka.

While the Bucks are looking to maintain their strong record as the regular season’s close quickly approaches, the Raptors are looking for a chance to snatch the top seed away from Milwaukee. Either way, we’re in for an exciting game as the Raptors and Bucks battle for control of the East.

Thursday’s game will start at 8 p.m. EST and will air on TNT.

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Written by Elijah Fulton