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Bucks look to take control against Toronto

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Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) is fouled by Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference final in Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Bucks won 108-100.[Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP]
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) is fouled by Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during Game 1 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference final in Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Bucks won 108-100.[Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP]

When the season started, everyone knew the Eastern Conference would have a new king.

LeBron James left Cleveland, having taken his talents to Los Angeles.

And even Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn't sure who would take his place.

"I didn't know we were going to be in the Eastern Conference finals or not," Antetokounmpo said. "I just know that he's a top player that we always had problems against him and the Cavs. Now he's not playing for the Cavs, so it's going to be a little bit easier. I didn't see it as an opening. But when you look back and see how everything went, it's definitely an opening not having LeBron in the East."

The Bucks are three wins away from taking full advantage of that opening, and becoming the team that replaces James after his eight consecutive seasons going to the NBA Finals as a representative of the Eastern Conference. Game 2 of the East final is Friday night in Milwaukee, where the Bucks will aim to take a 2-0 series lead over the Toronto Raptors. The Bucks defeated the Raptors 108-100 in Game 1 on Wednesday night.

"We're happy," Antetokounmpo said. "But the job is not done. We've got to protect our home. We've got to be able to get Game 2."

Toronto got swept out of the 2017 and 2018 playoffs by James and the Cavs. Now they're already facing a 1-0 deficit against Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, after dropping Game 1 despite leading for 37 of the game's 48 minutes.

"Sometimes, we just missed some shots," Raptors guard Kyle Lowry shrugged.

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