Should the Raptors change their lineup in Game 3? Some would say that’s overthinking it. Others would say that’s why Toronto promoted Nick Nurse to the head coach position. Still others would say that with the Raptors down 2-0 to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals, it’s time to try anything that works. And in that we have another more important question: what will work?
Game 1 was instructive for the Raptors. They managed to wall off the paint, they generated decent shots, they kept up the pace, and they looked to be in control — until the fourth quarter. Then, as we all know, the wheels fell off, the Raptors lost, and that was that. Game 2 offers us nothing except wailing and gnashing of teeth. It was ugly. Does this information suggest wholesale changes to Toronto’s lineup are necessary? As Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said pre-game: “Unless [Nurse is] taking Kawhi Leonard out of the starting lineup, I think our guys will be prepared.” Translation: the Bucks are going to do their thing, changes be damned.
Still, the Raptors have figured out a few things about who should play and when. It seems like once again this may be the series for Norman Powell, for example. And it may be time to give Serge Ibaka more run at the expense of Marc Gasol. In the absence of any other size on the wing, this may be the only changes Toronto can make. (They’re still down OG Anunoby and Patrick McCaw — and should definitely not play Jodie Meeks or anyone else beyond him.)
Have I solved the problem for the Raptors? No, I have not. At this point, Toronto knows what they’re facing, and the Bucks know who they are. It’ll come down to who plays with more purpose, with more fire, and with more energy — same as it ever was.
Go ahead and read Dylan Litman’s Game 3 preview from this morning anyway, then check the updated game details below. After that: let’s watch.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet, 7:00 PM ET
Toronto - Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Milwaukee - Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Nikola Mirotic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez
Toronto - OG Anunoby (out - appendectomy), Patrick McCaw (out - personal)
Milwaukee - Donte DiVincenzo (out - heel), Pau Gasol (out - foot), D.J. Wilson (questionable - ankle)