The Toronto Raptors tweeted it’s Conference Finals promo/hype video with those two words. Defeating a better-than-expected Sixers squad, despite offensive struggles from everyone (except Kawhi Leonard) at various points throughout the series, it feels like the Raptors are now playing with house money.
Reaching the Conference Finals was universally accepted as the minimum requirement before deeming this season — and the Kawhi trade — a success. This is not to say the Raptors are simply “happy to be here”, but entering the series as the overwhelming underdog with, arguably, the Playoff MVP surely diminishes many doubts.
No Fear. #WeTheNorth pic.twitter.com/U2Ask5Gdvt— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) May 15, 2019
To help delve into the most important series in franchise history, we brought in Brew Hoop writer and host of Bucking the Trend podcast, Andrew Goodman, to preview the Eastern Conference Finals.
On The Latest Episode:
Before looking forward, we had to get Andrew’s perspective on “the Shot,” what his experience was watching it, and how each of the team’s stand heading into Round 3.
The Bucks may have won the season series, 3-1, but how much can really be gathered from those games? Kawhi missed two, Kyle Lowry and Giannis Antetokounmpo each missed one, and neither team had the same post-trade-deadline rosters.
From Milwaukee’s perspective, Antetokounmpo poses all kinds of problems on the court and off (Why couldn’t his last name be Jones? I may just call him Freak for the next two weeks). Eric Bledsoe should be a very challenging dilemma for the Raptor point guards to solve, as he combines DJ Augustin’s craftiness and JJ Redick’s ability to get around screens.
Another aspect to look out for is pace. The Bucks ranked #2 in the regular season, while the Raptors ranked #14. How will Toronto respond when Milwaukee pushes the pace?
Although it’s not a hot topic with either the Raps or Bucks, we had to comment on the Draft Lottery and all its implications. Moral of the story: if you want to get the #1 pick, hire David Griffin.
Not all hope is lost in Toronto. Danny Green and Serge Ibaka have historically performed well against the Bucks. Khris Middleton may be an All-Star and excellent defender, but Kawhi will still get his. Pascal Siakam no longer has to worry about Joel Embiid and is expected to have a good bounce-back series, assuming he sheds the hesitancy he displayed vs. Philly.
Who are the X-Factors for each team? For Milwaukee, we were divided on Middleton and George Hill. For Toronto, will we see the Bucks-destroying Ibaka or the inconsistent-playoff Ibaka?
The wait is over and we’ve got the Conference Finals that’s been destined since they matched up on October 29 as the last undefeated teams. What are your predictions?
3:10 - All the way from Arizona!
4:30 - Andrew’s thoughts on “The Shot”
6:24 - Round 3… Fight!
12:00 - Weight of the Regular Season
16:55 - Giannis and co.
20:20 - Pace
26:30 - NBA Draft Lottery
30:20 - Zion Davis!
34:00 - Bucks Back Court
40:36 - Kawhi vs. Giannis
44:00 - Fact or Fiction
47:56 - Ma Fuzzy
56:02 - Series Predictions