Great play from both Thon Maker and Matthew Dellavedova helped Milwaukee upset Toronto in a surprise road victory today, allowing the Bucks to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
For the first three quarters it was a tight game, however in the final period Milwaukee pulled away, winning 97-83.
Thon Maker started in his playoff debut. He finished with 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 blocks in 15 minutes.
Matthew Dellavedova came off the bench for the Bucks, recording 11 points, and only a single turnover in 31 minutes. His defensive effort also helped keep all-star Kyle Lowry to just 4 points.
It was Giannis 'Greek Freak' Antetokounmpo who led the way for Milwaukee. He had a game high 28 points, to go along with 8 rebounds.
Thon Maker had the tough task of guarding Jonas Valanciunas at the start of the game. The Lithuanian's physical presence was expected to cause trouble for the Aussie, however Maker did an excellent job.
Not only did he keep Valanciunas quiet, he affected many other shots early. This continued whenever Maker saw the court, his efforts to start the second half were particularly impressive.
The Bucks, who were down after two quarters, lacked momentum, and it was Maker who changed the run of the game. He sent a message early to Kyle Lowry, blocking the Raptors point guard against the backboard.
Not long after, he sent back a shot from star shooting guard Demar Derozan. Antetokounmpo finished the play down the other end.
Greg Monroe came off the bench for Maker, and put in 14 points and 15 rebounds. However, the Aussie's ability to change shots, especially after his teammates were beaten off the dribble, meant his impact was almost as important.
On the offensive end, Maker shot 2/2, scoring 4 points. His first playoffs bucket coming off an offensive rebound early in the game.
It was somewhat of a slow start for Delly. Despite featuring in the first half, he did not have the impact that he had in the second.
One highlight he did have before the main break was his first score. The Aussie finally got his revenge on all those who had broken his ankles in the past.
In the second half, Bucks coach Jason Kidd relied more on Dellavedova. The St. Mary's alumnus managed to hit the scoreboard, finishing the game with 11 points.
He also helped shut down Raptors star Kyle Lowry. The Toronto point guard managed just 4 points in 33 minutes and shot 2/11 from the field, which included 0/6 from deep. Dellavedova can be given major credit for keeping Lowry quiet, especially down the stretch.
The Aussie again proved how effective and important he can be in the post-season.
The win gives Milwaukee the upper hand in the series, especially considering it was a road win, which are particularly hard to clinch in the playoffs.
If the Bucks get past Toronto, they will face the winner of the Cleveland/Indiana series. This could very well see Delly match-up against his old side.
There is still a long way to go for this exciting Milwaukee team. Game 2 will take place on Wednesday.