Milwaukee Bucks: Analyzing the Giannis Antetokounmpo/Serge Ibaka Matchup

Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors’ first round playoff series will feature a number of key matchups, but Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s play will be central to the fate of both teams.

The Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors will get their playoff series started on Saturday. The matchup is an interesting one, as it is one of the few playoff series that many experts feel isn’t necessarily clear cut.

While many think this young and talented Bucks team can upset the higher seeded Raptors, there are others who think the Raptors are likely to pose the biggest threat to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East.

If the Bucks are going to have any chance of upsetting the Raptors, it goes without saying that they’ll need their best player to perform at the highest level. To take this a step further, though, Giannis Antetokounmpo not only has to play well for the Bucks to win, but he also has to dominate his matchup with Serge Ibaka.

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Since acquiring Ibaka in a trade with the Orlando Magic, the Raptors are 16-7 in games where the Congolese big man has played. These numbers become even more impressive when you consider that most of those wins also came without All-Star guard Kyle Lowry.

Ibaka has fit into the Raptors’ system flawlessly and seems to be playing with more focus and energy than he did with the Magic.

While many probably expect Giannis to have the upper hand in this matchup, it will be no easy task to outplay Ibaka by a wide margin. However, since the Bucks will have their own matchup problems with the likes of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Jonas Valanciunas; it will be important that Giannis not only has better numbers than Ibaka but also impacts the series dramatically more than the Toronto forward as well.

With all of this being said, let’s now take a look at how the pair compare across the floor and hopefully gain an insight into how this matchup will play out.