The Eastern Conference Finals were supposed to be all about Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo. And for stretches of the Milwaukee Bucks' 108-100 win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 1, that was the case.
But Kyle Lowry carried Toronto for much of the second half, and Milwaukee overcame his heroics because of Giannis' supporting cast, a group led by 7'0" anomaly Brook Lopez.
The Raptors had no answer for the Bucks' shooting guard in a center's body. He finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and two assists on 12-of-21 shooting (4-of-11 from three).
"This is the Brook we all know and we all love," Antetokounmpo told reporters after the game. "We want him to be aggressive, especially in this series. Marc Gasol is trying to be active, trying to help a lot, and he's going to be wide open most of the time, and he's going to knock down shots like he did tonight."
Lopez has made teams pay for leaving him open all season, and that includes shots from well beyond the arc. Above the break, the NBA three-point line is just under 24 feet to the rim. In 2018-19, Lopez went 38-of-102 (37.3 percent) on shots from at least 28 feet.
That kind of range from an opposing center puts any team, including the defensively stout Raptors, in a sort of pick-your-poison situation. Marc Gasol can either hug up on Lopez four or five feet outside the line and give the lane to Giannis, or he can play free safety and hope Lopez doesn't burn him, as he does on this wild kickout from Giannis