First and second in the regular season in the East, Milwaukee and Toronto could not keep their ranks of favorites in these Conference semifinals, losing respectively to the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics. These two teams will therefore meet in the Eastern Conference final, 8 years after their last meeting at this stage of the competition.
Toronto Raptors-Boston Celtics (3-4)
Predicting the winner of this series was not easy as both teams had many assets to their advantage. On the one hand, the Boston Celtics led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylon Brown, confident after their 4-0 victory against a shy Philadelphia team. On the other, the Toronto Raptors armed with a very well-oiled collective, orchestrated by the tactician Nick Nurse who had led this team to the title of champion last year. In the previous round, the Canadians quickly got rid of the Brooklyn Nets with a 4-0 victory.
In the first two games of the series, it was the Celtics who took the upper hand over their opponent by scoring 2 wins in 2 games with a Marcus Smart and a Jayson Tatum gala. Beaten but not defeated, the Raptors wanted revenge at the start of this third game of the series, already almost decisive for them. Led a good part of the match, Nick Nurse’s men never lowered their heads and found their savior in the person of OG Anunoby. While Daniel Theis thought to assassinate the Raptors with a dunk 0.5 seconds from the final whistle, Anunoby, left free by the defense of the C’s, unleashes a saving 3-point shot that gives the victory to Toronto and keeps the hopes of the Canadian franchise in this series.
The feat of the Celtics
Following this crazy game, Toronto manages to equalize in the series in Game 4 and begins to put doubt in the minds of the Bostonians. Despite this burst of pride, Toronto logically concedes the game after a heavy 111-89 defeat. However, Toronto is known never to give up like last year when the franchise managed to advance after going 1 game away from elimination. It was twice repetitive against Boston in Game 6 where the Raptors manage to win 125-122 after extra time and therefore push Boston to a game 7. During this last meeting poor offensively, the Celtics finally won 92-87 and put the defending champion to the mat.
Milwaukee Bucks-Miami Heat (1-4)
Unimpressive in their streak against Orlando, the Bucks did not show up in these semi-finals as the dreaded ogre during the regular season. On the other hand, the Miami players arrived with the aim of having nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Led by a sparkling Jimmy Butler, the Heat are approaching this series in the best possible way, winning 11 points in the first game against the leader of the Eastern Conference. However, many expected a return to form for the gang in Giannis Antetokounmpo. It was unfortunately quite the opposite with 2 new losses conceded by the Bucks, bringing the score to 3-0 in favor of Miami. At this point in the series, the surprise to see Miami so much dominate the conference leader is total for all basketball fans as the Bucks were destined to challenge the Lakers in the final.
A first since 2012
With his back to the wall, Milwaukee had no choice but to win all the remaining games of the series. The tiny hope remains alive for Bucks fans with a victory for their team in Game 4 after extra time. Milwaukee thus leaves with the victory but loses to injury its flagship player, Giannis Antetokounmpo. In Game 5, the Heat team, collectively impressive, completed a last fatal bamboo stroke at the Bucks and allowed the franchise to qualify for the first time since 2012 in the Eastern Conference final, it was already against the Boston Celtics.
Featured Photo Credits: Keith Allison
NBA playoffs – Eastern Conference: Raptors and Bucks overthrown, Miami and Boston jubilant was last modified: September 16th, 2020 by