Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are hoping to avoid a carbon copy of their semifinal series against the Boston Celtics.
The Bucks won the series, taking the last four games, and they haven’t forgotten the 22-point whomping the Celtics delivered in Game 1.
Antetokounmpo said giving up Game 1 to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday in the Eastern Conference finals could be a death knell.
“Against Boston, you can go down 1-0 and still be fine,” Antetokounmpo said at practice Tuesday. “But against Toronto, it’s hard to be in that spot when you lose the first game in your home.”
Antetokounmpo said he regards Kawhi Leonard as one of the best players in the league. Leonard hit a game-winning, deep-corner jumper in Game 7 against the 76ers to send the Raptors to the Eastern Conference finals.
Antetokounmpo admitted that he didn’t think the shot, which rattled around the rim four times, would go in.
“I’m not gonna lie,” Antetokounmpo said. “I thought it was gonna go to overtime.
“I was talking to my family. I was watching the game, and I told them that Toronto has some soft rims, so when you shoot the ball, it tends to bounce around the rim, and it goes in sometimes, so you always have a chance if you shoot the ball with an arc. And I was saying that, and in the fourth quarter, he hit the shot.”