Toronto will look to even up its best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals series tonight when it hosts Milwaukee in Game 4. Kawhi Leonard carried the Raptors to a 118-112 double-overtime win in Sunday’s Game 3, producing 36 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and one blocked shot.
With Nick Nurse’s squad up one in the second extra session, Milwaukee’s Eric Bledsoe lost control of the ball as he penetrated the lane. Leonard picked up the loose ball and darted down court, elevating toward the rim from just inside the free-throw line. In mid-air, he switched the ball from his right hand to his left and flushed home a sick dunk.
Toronto went on to cover the spread as a 2.5-point favorite. The 230 combined points went “over” the 221.5-point total to deal “under” backers a gut-wrenching defeat. Bettors on the “under” easily survived one OT, as the 103-103 score netted merely 206 combined points after 53 minutes had been played.
Pascal Siakam added 25 points, 11 rebounds and three steals for the winners in Game 3. Norman Powell came up big off the bench with 19 points, draining 3-of-5 attempts from 3-point range. Veteran Marc Gasol, who had an abysmal 1-of-9 shooting effort in a Game 2 defeat, bounced back to contribute 16 points, 12 boards, seven assists, five blocked shots and one steal.
In the losing effort, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 12 points, a career-best 23 rebounds, seven assists and four blocked shots. However, he had eight turnovers and fouled out, albeit on a controversial call. George Hill provided another monstrous postseason performance, tallying 24 points, seven rebounds, two assists, a pair of steals and one blocked shot. Hill buried 7-of-9 field-goal attempts, 3-of-4 launches from downtown and 7-of-8 free throws.
As of early Tuesday afternoon, most betting shops had Milwaukee (70-24 straight up, 57-33-4 against the spread) installed as a three-point favorite for tonight’s Game 4. The total was 217 or 217.5 and the Raptors were +130 on the money line.
Mike Budenholzer’s team has thrived in bounce-back spots all year long. Veteran VegasInsider handicapper Chris David told MajorWager.com, “During the regular season, the Bucks posted the NBA’s best overall record and they accomplished that feat by staying away from losing skids.”
David continued, “Milwaukee dropped back-to-back games only once this season, posting a league-best 21-1 (95%) record coming off a loss. What’s more impressive is the Bucks went 18-4 ATS (81%) in those spots. After losing Game 1 of the East semifinals to the Celtics by 22 points (112-90), they responded with a 123-102 win to easily cover in Game 2.”
Toronto (67-30 SU, 45-52 ATS) has compiled a 38-11 SU record and a 23-26 ATS mark at home this season. Milwaukee owns a 31-15 SU record and a 28-16-2 ATS ledger in its road assignments.
The “over” is 49-45-3 overall for the Raptors, 25-23-1 in their home outings. However, the “under” is 10-5 in Toronto’s 15 postseason games.
After Game 1 went “under,” the “over” has hit in back-to-back contests. The “over” has cashed at a 4-3 clip in seven head-to-head meetings between these clubs this year. The Bucks have seen the “over” go 49-45 overall this year, 24-22 in their road games and 7-5 in the playoffs.
Milwaukee is a -600 “chalk” for the updated series price at Sportsbook, leaving the Raptors as +450 underdogs. The offshore betting shop has Golden State as the -200 favorite to win the NBA championship. The Bucks have +170 odds and Toronto is a 20/1 long shot.
Speaking of the Warriors, they dealt out broom treatment to Portland in the Western Conference finals. They finished the job Monday night with a 119-117 win at Moda Center, but the Trail Blazers took the money as 2.5-point underdogs. The 236 combined points soared “over” the 219-point tally. Unlike Game 3 of the East finals, though, the “over” was already a winner in regulation.
With Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Iguodala in street clothes injured, Stephen Curry produce a triple-double with 37 points, 13 rebounds, one steal and 11 assists compared to only two turnovers. Draymond Green also had a triple-double with 18 points, 14 boards, 11 assists, three steals and two blocked shots.
Now Golden State gets to relax, let its injured players get healthy and wait on Toronto or Milwaukee to emerge out of the East as its opponent in the NBA Finals.