LeBron, Cavs escape with 109-108 win over Pacers in Game 1

Nikola Jjokic Taj Gibson Domantas Sabonis

The Raptors are (-7.0) favorites in Las Vegas.

The NBA playoffs open on Saturday with the Toronto Raptors and and Milwaukee Bucks meeting for the first time ever in the postseason.

Casey said Lowry's return won't alter the Raptors' playbook, but his presence on the floor changes the offence's dynamic. Lowry may still be working his way back from the wrist injury that caused him to miss 21 games in the second half of the season, but he'll need to figure out his issues quick, because he missed plenty of good looks in Game 1. They even learned to win without Lowry, which was a feat for a team that often looked lost on the court without him.

That was evident during the team's playoff run last season.

"Yesterday I was standing by my office and P.J. and Serge were arguing with Rex (Raptors assistant coach Kalamian) about something and coach (Dwane) Casey comes up and says 'Those guys are talking about defence.' That tells you what they're about". These two pick-ups paid immediate dividends.

"If we don't go into this series with a sense of urgency knowing how hard this team plays, and think it's a wrap just because we show up, it's not going to happen", Casey said.

After years of being cursed by the National Basketball Association post-season scheduling gods, the Toronto Raptors finally have been given a favourable start time. The Raptors actually tied Cleveland with identical 51-31 records, but the Cavs own the tiebreaker, thus earning the #2 seed. The MVP award will most likely go to one of those three, but one can't ignore the fact that Giannis Antetokounmpo's name deserves to at least be mentioned. Over the past few seasons names like Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson, and Pascal Siakam were given too much playing time. "I'm not going to get blindsided by seeing Milwaukee". The Bucks do not wow anybody with their statistical numbers. The over/under total for the game is listed at 199.5 points. "You're not going to have a great game every single night, it's still a work in progress for me".

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However, the Bucks have a commodity that is anything but pedestrian.

Antetokounmpo is a 6-foot-11 poster child for the flawless basketball body. That would mean DeRozan was 292nd out of 300 players.

His numbers have gone up every season in virtually every offensive category. Antetokounmpo, who finished the season with 22.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.9 blocks.

The new team proved they were built for adversity as they rallied together to finish the season winning 18 of the final 25 games to finish third in the Eastern Conference. After finishing third in the MIP voting last season, getting the award this season would be an incredible feat and a giant step in becoming one of the best players in the National Basketball Association. If Dellavedova isn't up to scratch early, Brogdon could sneak his way back into the starting lineup. Middleton was supposed to miss about 70 games. DeRozan sat out the season finale at Cleveland.

The 32-year-old James made the most sensational play of the first half, soaring in the lane to grab a lob with his back to the basket before adjusting his body and delivering a reverse dunk - the kind of play only he seems to make. The Raptors are 1-2 in those series after dropping the first game, falling to the Nets in seven before getting swept by the Wizards in 2015.

Toronto should feel more confident about opening this series than those of the past.

"For those (six) weeks were in must-win games", forward Khris Middleton said Friday. The Bucks beat the Raptors on March 4 to end a seven-game losing streak against Toronto.

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