|2014/2015 NBA Season|
(7-5, 3-4 road)
|November 21, 2014|
|Air Canada Centre | Toronto,ON|
|FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ|
|Brandon Knight||PG||Kyle Lowry
|Khris Middleton||SG||DeMar DeRozan
|Giannis Antetokounmpo (Q)||SF||Terrence Ross
|Jabari Parker||PF||Amir Johnson|
|Larry Sanders||C||Jonas Valanciunas|
|96.4 (22nd)||Pace||93.5 (13th)|
|100.9 (4th)||DRtg||102.7 (6th)|
On the Raptors: Raptors HQ | Raptors Republic
Milwaukee: If you haven't gotten a chance to watch Wednesday's thrilling 122-118 triple-overtime win in Brooklyn, you missed out on the Bucks' best game of the season so far. It was the first time the team played in a three OT game since 1989 when they went five rounds with the Seattle Supersonics and defeated them 155-154. Jabari Parker (23 points, seven rebounds) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (18 points, 12 boards) combined for a grand total of 88 minutes and 41 points for the team. The 23 from Parker was the most by a Bucks teenager in franchise history, surpassing the 22 points Ersan Ilyasova scored back in 2007 against the Bulls.
The Raptors average 105.1 points per game (fourth in the league) and 112.4 pts/100 possessions (second), so tonight's matchup against one of the better offensive teams in the league should help us evaluate where Milwaukee is on defense a bit more. It's also important to watch how this game flows heading into the final quarter: Toronto is 42-2 (25-0 at home) when they lead heading into the fourth dating back to last season.
Coming off a nice 96-92 win against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Raptors will be looking to register the sixth victory of their seven-game homestand Friday. (Side note: Vince Carter was given a special in-game video tribute during Wednesday's win that was pretty awesome. You can view it here.) Out in front for Toronto are DeMar DeRozan (20.5 points per game) and Kyle Lowry (17 points, 6.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds), who have been steering the ship that currently sits atop the Eastern Conference. One of the reasons for the Raptors' early success -- aside from playing eight of their 11 games at home -- has been their ability to limit turnovers. The Raptors have turned the ball over fewer than 10 times in seven games this season, averaging just 11 turnovers per game (second in the league).
But don't mistake the Raptors for just an offensive juggernaut. After finishing tenth in both offensive and defensive efficiency a year ago, Toronto currently ranks an impressive sixth in points allowed per possession, and like the Bucks have made a living defensively by forcing turnovers (third in turnover rate). They haven't rebounded particularly well on either end thus far, but you'd expect that to improve given they were above average on both the offensive and defensive glass last season. Ironically, Milwaukee and Toronto are both tied for the most double-digit comebacks (four) thus far, so don't expect this one to be over until the clock hits zero.
For the Bucks, the major question mark heading into the game is the health of rising star Giannis Antetokounmpo. He turned his ankle in Brooklyn on Wednesday, and while he stayed in the game to make a number of key plays late in the Bucks' triple-OT marathon win, the team listed him as questionable for the matchup with the Raptors. Assuming he does play, the Giannis/Jabari Parker combination should make for an interesting matchup against the Raptors' big/small starting forward pairing of Amir Johnson and Terrence Ross. Coming off strong back-to-back games against the Knicks and Nets, Ersan Ilyasova would presumably slide back in to the starting power forward spot if Giannis can't give it a go. Ilyasova scored a combined 34 points (15/22 fg, 3/4) in 41 minutes, including four quick points to start the third overtime period in Brooklyn.
The Bucks' weekend doesn't get too much easier tomorrow, as they'll fly back to Milwaukee after tonight's game to face the Washington Wizards (7-3) on Saturday night. The Wiz trail only the Raptors in the East standings, though John Wall and company also face a stiff test tonight when they take on LeBron James and the Cavaliers in DC.
Giannis Antetokounmpo went through shootaround and will be game-time decision in Toronto tonight.— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) November 21, 2014
"At shootaround he looked all right," Jason Kidd said of Giannis. "We'll see how he feels in a couple hours."— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) November 21, 2014
Larry Sanders said he is fully healed from left thigh injury. He first hurt it in Orlando last Friday and re-injured it later.— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) November 21, 2014