There will be big international interest in the NBA playoffs

Home-court for the Clippers-Jazz series was the last remaining unknown part of the playoff schedule - and it went to the Clippers, who pulled away in the second half to beat Sacramento and lock up No. 4. The series starts with that first game on ESPN at 5:30 PM Eastern.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors have been led by DeMar DeRozan who had a great season with averages of 27.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game while Kyle Lowry was averaging 22.4 points and 7.0 assists per game before his injury late in the season kept him to just 60 games on the season. "It's not something we're unfamiliar with".

IN needs to make Cleveland work harder for its buckets. "He reminds me so much of a young Magic Johnson as far as his length, his size, the way he can pass the ball and Lord forbid he gets consistent on his jump shots".

For the Bucks, their first round match-up is on the nightmare side.

"We'll figure it out", Casey said. "We can't focus on what we did last year, and what happened last year".

That put him 14th in total scoring, 15th in rebounding, 18th in assists, fifth in blocks and ninth in steals. The Raptors might also use a zone, Casey said Tuesday. "We didn't play with any pace, any rhythm, any movement". Let's say that the 30 National Basketball Association teams each played 10 guys per night. "Again, we've just got to go out there and do it and not overthink it". Toronto averages seven more points per possession with Lowry on the floor compared to when he takes a seat. "LeBron's a competitor, he wants to win and me tapering his minutes down, he thought it would be bad, especially with the things we was going through at the time", Lue said. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have also reportedly been dealing with some sort of bug. It's a make-or-miss league, and the Raptors actually had plenty of good looks from the three-point line on Saturday. He missed all six of his three-point shots.

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"We're going to need all that experience when we go into Toronto", Kidd said. Lowry has shot under 33% in back-to-back first-round series, and he seems well on his way to repeating that type of performance against Milwaukee. He's like 'let me get this guy involved, that guy involved'.

But most concerning of all for Casey is the possibility his team comes into this one and takes the Bucks too lightly. He's out indefinitely with a calf injury, and Leonard took advantage for his fourth career playoff game of 30-plus points. Cleveland's Kyrie Irving was first, Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo was third and Memphis' Marc Gasol was sixth on that list " but No. 2 Andrew Wiggins of Minnesota, No. 4 Goran Dragic of Miami, No. 5 Joel Embiid of Philadelphia, No. 7 Danilo Gallinari of Denver and No. 8 Kristaps Porzingis of NY will all be watching the playoffs from afar. DeRozan will try to play through a web of defensive schemes that Bucks coach Jason Kidd always plans for him. The coaches have made less changes than hoped for.

They might make a movie or a documentary about Thon Maker one day. "A year ago, I was just playing high school ball here, and now I'm playing in the NBA", Maker said, grinning. When you played at times there weren't even five Canadians in the league. It will be a task to slow them down but Carroll and Tucker, along with Norman Powell off the bench and Ibaka patrolling the paint, should be up to the challenge. But those big plays swung the momentum of the game and helped the Bucks gain the lead in the third quarter despite Giannis Antetokounmpo getting into foul trouble. The Bucks scored eight straight points, including four from Middleton, to make it 85-71 with 8:47 left.

Milwaukee kept it going after Antetokounmpo returned for the final quarter. Middleton's job will be to force DeRozan to play defense so he doesn't have the legs to get those mid-range jumpers off.

The Bucks are the sixth seed in the eastern conference, and will face Toronto in the first round.

The Raptors' key midseason acquisition was indeed Serge Ibaka. Nevertheless, Tony Snell just ranked second on the team in minutes played in the regular season on account of playing defense and hitting shots. They comprise one of the NBA's best backcourts during the regular season, but both struggled from the field in the 2016 playoffs, a big reason why the Raptors were extended to seven games by in and six by Miami, two clearly inferior teams. Raptors F Serge Ibaka appeared in his 90th playoff game.


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