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Burning questions for Raptors-Bucks Game 3

Jesse Reed
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks dominated the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals at home against the Toronto Raptors. Now the series has shifted to Toronto for Game 3.

Game details: Here’s a look at the start time, television information, and odds for tonight’s Raptors-Bucks Game 3.

  • When: 7 p.m. EST
  • Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
  • TV: TNT
  • Betting Line: Toronto -2.5 / 220 points

The big picture: One more win for the Bucks Sunday night almost assures Toronto will be ousted from the playoffs. In NBA history, no team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit.

With that in mind, let’s look at some burning questions ahead of this incredibly important Game 3.

Will Kawhi get any help?

As we’ve seen throughout the playoffs, Kawhi Leonard has continued to stay hot scoring the basketball during the first two games of this series.

In a losing cause, he scored 31 points in Games 1 and 2, thanks in part to an aggressive approach that garnered him 20 free throw attempts (all makes).

The big problem for Toronto is that Leonard’s supporting cast has failed to provide him with any consistent help. Pascal Siakam and Kyler Lowry are the only others who have really showed up at all in any significant way. Both had strong performances in Game 1, but then they both took a huge step back in Game 2.

If the Raptors are going to make a series out of this, Leonard needs some help.

Can Toronto slow down Milwaukee’s bench?

One of Milwaukee’s great strengths is that the bench is a factor on an almost nightly basis. So far in this series, that’s certainly been the case.

George Hill was a defensive force (four steals and a block) in Game 1 while Ersan Ilyasova and Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 points off the bench. The Bucks then got a staggering 54 points from their bench in the Game 2 blowout.

If this trend continues in Game 3, then it might not matter what kind of night Leonard and the Toronto starters have.

Will the home crowd make any difference?

Toronto has lost four games total in the postseason so far, and two of them came at home. The Raptors just haven’t been all that dominant at home. Even their series-clinching Game 7 victory in the semifinals against Philly needed a quad-bouncing buzzer-beater to get the job done.

On the other end of the spectrum, Milwaukee hasn’t lost a game on the road yet throughout the postseason. So it’s worth wondering if the crowd during Game 3 at Scotiabank Arena is even going to have any impact on the Bucks’ Finals aspirations.

Will Giannis develop that killer instinct?

All the greats have that special gene that compels them to mercilessly dispatch their opponent during critical moments. Michael Jordan was famous for his ruthlessness in these types of situations. Now at the age of 24, it’s time for Giannis Antetokounmpo to develop that instinct as well.

If Giannis can put together a signature performance on the road Sunday night in Game 3, it might not matter what kind of bench play the Raptors might get. It might not matter if Kawhi gets help. If he can dominate early, the crowd will be silenced, and the Bucks will roll to a third-straight win to essentially close out this series before it ever began.