When the Boston Celtics host the Toronto Raptors on Friday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN), it will be advertised as a possible Eastern Conference finals preview. Even after the Philadelphia 76ers added Jimmy Butler via trade, the Celtics and Raptors are considered co-favorites to win the East by oddsmakers. But it’s possible that a team playing in the second half of ESPN’s doubleheader could crash the party.
Despite having the second-best start in the East at 10-4, plus a home win over Toronto earlier this month in a game in which neither team had its star player (Kawhi Leonard sat out because it was a back-to-back, while Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo was in concussion protocol), the Bucks sit fourth in the East, according to oddsmakers, behind Boston, Toronto and Philadelphia.
But a closer look at Milwaukee’s performance to date suggests that the Bucks might be good — really good. Are people sleeping on their chances to go from first-round losers to conference champions?