Toronto Raptors: 3 pivotal matchups in return-to-play schedule

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks versus the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks versus the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Pascal Siakam of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Raptors vs. Bucks: Monday, Aug. 10, 6:30 pm ET

The schedule makers did Toronto no favours on this one. A preview of what Raptors fans hope is this year’s Eastern Conference Final takes place at the tail end of Toronto’s back-to-back.

This means the biggest game and biggest test the Raptors will face in their eight-game restart will be played on less rest than normal. For the Bucks meanwhile, this game is the start of their back-to-back, meaning they’ll be rested and ready to go.

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This game means relatively nothing to the standings, with the Bucks so far ahead. The Bucks would have to go 0-8 to drop their winning percentage to .726, giving a 7-1 Raptor team the one seed.

Even a single Milwaukee win would mean the Raptors would have to be perfect, and two Milwaukee wins make it mathematically impossible for the Raptors to catch them. Still, as with the Celtics, this game is more about what is to come than seeding and playoff matchups.

This is the sixth game on the schedule for both teams and features two teams that have seemed destined to face each other in the playoffs all year. It’s a rematch from last years’ conference finals, and the odds-on favourite pre-pandemic to be this years’ conference final as well.

If the Raptors are serious about defending their title, they need to be able to beat Milwaukee – no one else in the east will. This game will be a good indicator of that, and give fans a glimpse of the true championship aspirations of the defending champs.

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Which game are you looking forward to the most in the NBA’s restart of the season? Where do you see the Raptors finishing? Let us know in the comments below.