All the talk ahead of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals centered around, and rightfully so, Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks, respectively. And while neither man was poor, in fact each was exemplary, it was a third party that rose up and surprised us to be the star man on the night. That man ended up being Brook Lopez, an unsung hero in the middle of the paint for the Bucks all season long.
On this night at home, he would score 29 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter to help his team overturn a seven point deficit at the beginning of the period on the way to a 108-100 victory. The big man wasn’t just good in the paint, he was also lethal from beyond the arc, knocking down a late three-pointer to effectively seal the game up and ensure his team went up 1-0 in the series. Giannis added 24 points, 14 boards, and six assists of his own, while the game’s high scorer was Leonard with 31 points. Ten of those came from the charity stripe, with him failing to miss a single free throw in the opening game of the series.