Bucks lead East finals 2-0, and now series shifts to Toronto

Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry have more than held their own against Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton so far in the Eastern Conference finals.

Other than some pretty box scores, the Toronto Raptors have nothing to show for those efforts.

The supporting cast hasn’t supported much for Toronto, and with what is almost certainly a must-win Game 3 of the East title series looming on Sunday at home, Raptors coach Nick Nurse is weighing lineup tweaks.

Nurse suggested Saturday that Serge Ibaka may start at center over struggling Marc Gasol, and Norman Powell may get minutes that would figure to come at Danny Green’s expense.

“We’ve got to be better, man,” Nurse said. “We’ve got to be more physical, we’ve got to hustle more and we’ve got to work harder.”

He may as well have punctuated that by adding “or else.”

In this playoff format that was put into play in 1984, teams that win the first two games at home of a best-of-seven series have ultimately prevailed 94% of the time. And that’s the luxury Milwaukee has right now, leading the series 2-0 after rallying to win the opener and then controlling Game 2 start to finish.

“We can’t rest,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We can’t relax. We can’t assume anything.”

Tim Reynolds is an Associated Press writer.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Bucks-lead-East-finals-2-0-and-now-series-shifts-13856657.php.

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