After a slow start that saw the Bucks shoot just 30 percent in the first, Milwaukee produced in the next two quarters but fell short when it mattered most, as Toronto closed the game on a 41-13 run to take home a 111-90 win at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
The Bucks erased a four-point halftime deficit thanks to Greg Monroe (19 points and 11 rebounds) and Khris Middleton (20 points and seven dimes) in the third, but Toronto took quick advantage once interim coach Joe Prunty finally opted to rest them late in the period. Trailing 77-70, Casey went small with Cory Joseph, Terrence Ross, Patrick Patterson, DeMarre Carroll, and Luis Scola as the Raptors went on an 11-2 run and got hot from the 3-point line. The Raptors made 65 percent of their shots and hit eight triples down the stretch to put this one away, completely dominating the Bucks 35-11 in the fourth.
"We couldn't get stops and score on the other end." Middleton said. "They just broke down our defense with Scola at the five. It spaced us out and put us in different rotations."
The Bucks are now 1-12 when allowing their opponent to hit more than 10 treys.
"Some of it was the ball movement side-to-side, some of it was keeping the ball under control," Prunty said of the Bucks' struggles defending the 3-point line. "There were a few situations where we might've pulled over early, whether we didn't communicate or didn't recognize it and then react on the backside. There were a few things that took place."
A poor shooting start by the Bucks helped Toronto lead by as many as 12 in the early going, but Greg Monroe's 10 in the second quarter helped Milwaukee cut the deficit to four at halftime after a 10-4 run. The Raptors swung that 12-point lead due to Kyle Lowry's 13 points (he finished the game with 16) and Ross' 10 in the period.
A Khris Middleton three pointer gave the Bucks their first lead, 68-67 in the third, one of three Middleton triples in the period. But the Bucks' bench was quickly overwhelmed and Toronto shut down the Bucks' attempts to involve Monroe and Middleton in the fourth. With their offense bogged down, the Bucks compounded their problems by repeatedly allowing Scola and company to get wide open looks in the corners, a familiar problem for a Bucks' defense susceptible to crisp ball movement.
A short two-game home stand for the Bucks concluded today. The team embarks on another scary four-game road trip that begins next Monday in Dallas and also features stops in Oklahoma City, Indiana and Minnesota.
— Johnny O'Bryant led all Bucks players in scoring after the first quarter with four points. Yeah.
— John Henson has blocked 13 shots in his last three games.
— Lowry and the Raptors shut down MCW for the third time this season. In three contests against him, MCW is 8-of-30 shooting and has totaled only 22 points.
— The Raptors led by an average of 16 points at halftime in their previous two games against the Bucks. Tonight they only led by four.
— DeMar DeRozan has combined to score 64 points in three games against the Bucks this season.
— Overall, it was a tough night for Jabari Parker, who scored only nine points on 2-of-12 shooting. Bismack Biyombo rejected him nasty, too.
— This is totally anecdotal and might not be true at all, but it seems like passes that move from the post to a cutter in the Bucks' "preferred" lineup we talked about earlier this week have become a lot more difficult to complete in the last week. Just a lot fewer clean passes and more tipped passes as the guys off ball make their cuts.
— We are just two games into Joe Prunty's time as the Bucks head coach, but it already appears that there is at least one major difference in their coaching philosophies. People have regularly complained about Jason Kidd not taking the run-busting timeouts that some coaches insist on taking throughout the game. On Saturday afternoon, Prunty took two of those run-busting timeouts during the second quarter against the Raptors. The first one didn't really "work", while the second one did "work", but, as you can tell from my quotes, I don't think those timeouts really have much of an impact.
— Before this season, I complained about the Bucks' lack of offensive creativity. Throughout this season, commentators have complained about the Bucks' offensive system. I mentioned it in our last podcast, but the more I watch this Bucks team, the more I wonder if their players could actually handle a more complex system.
— The Bucks forcing a 24 second violation is much more significant than the Bucks forcing any other type of turnover.
— Antetokounmpo's inability to play well after picking up two early fouls is mind-boggling. I can't recall another player being so affected by such a seemingly insignificant occurrence. Tonight he picked up two early fouls and seemed disengaged for the remainder of the game, attempting just five shots (2/5) and scoring four points.
— There are a lot of nights when people complain about Kidd (or Prunty) sticking with their bench too long to start the fourth quarter. Many of those nights happen to coincide with the nights the staggered wing starter (Middleton or Antetokounmpo) is struggling. They should be the recipients of your ire, not the coaches.