Everything was going well for the Milwaukee Bucks until the third quarter started.
The Bucks trailed the Raptors by three points at halftime before Toronto proceeded to outscore the Bucks 45-23 in the first 17 minutes of the second half and eventually cruised past the Bucks, 107-89, inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
The second half was just as ugly as the score suggests. The Bucks missed a number of contested layups to start the third quarter, while the Raptors rattled off a quick eight points to take a 13-point lead. From that point, things only got worse as the Bucks eventually went into the fourth quarter trailing by 15 points.
The fourth quarter started much like the third quarter with the Raptors flying out on a 11-2 run to put the game away for good. The score moved back and forth during garbage time, but the Bucks never truly threatened the Raptors again.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ended the night just one assist short of his fifth triple-double with 18 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists in the loss. Obviously, another near triple-double for Antetokounmpo was somewhat exciting, but overall, it was a disappointing performance from the Bucks given the Raptors were without three key players (Jonas Valanciunas, DeMar DeRozan, and DeMarre Carroll) on Tuesday night. The Raptors did whatever they wanted offensively in the second half, driving and kicking at will to repeatedly set up wide-open threes. The game served as a helpful reminder that even though the Bucks have made strides, they still have a lot of areas to fix.
Kyle Lowry carried the Raptors with 25 points and 11 assists, with 20 coming in the first half.
The Bucks will be back in action again in Milwaukee against the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
- John Henson returned to the Bucks lineup Tuesday night. He sat out the previous 20 games with a back injury. He entered the game with 5:45 left when the Bucks were down by 20.
- DeRozan dressed for the Raptors tonight, but sat out for general rest as the Raptors are in the middle of a four games in five nights stretch.
- Valanciunas was out for the Raptors with a hand injury he suffered against the Bulls Monday night.
- Miles Plumlee entered for Greg Monroe with 3:13 left in the first quarter. Tyler Ennis and Johnny O'Bryant came in just a few plays later with 2:22 remaining.
- Jerryd Bayless picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter. The Bucks were forced to turn to Tyler Ennis to take a number of his second half minutes.
- For the second straight game, Damien Inglis came in for mop-up duty. Just over three and a half minutes of it came against the Raptors.
- The Bucks were swept in their four-game series with the Raptors this season. Toronto won by an average of 16 points in those four games.
- Bismack Biyombo's development into an actual basketball player continues to blow my mind. (For the record, I typed this a few minutes into the game .... before he blocked two consecutive Parker dunk attempts early in the third quarter.) He has turned into a really good reserve for the Raptors after a rough start to his career in Charlotte.
- Defending Antetokounmpo has become an unenviable task. (As Brett pointed out, the tweet below describes a normal night defending most guards. However, it is not normal to defend a 6'11" athlete that can do all those things.)
Defending Giannis now looks like:— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) March 16, 2016
Pick up in transition
Work through a snaked pick and roll
Guard a post up
Defend a straight line drive
- Antetokounmpo Observation #2: He is regularly snaking pick and rolls. (For those unfamiliar, Zach Lowe covered it here and broken down in a video here as well.) This is a very welcome development and a play that shows his pick and roll play is getting more sophisticated every game.
- Antetokounmpo Observation #3: We don't talk about it much because it isn't as exciting as the other stuff, but he has become much better at using his lower body in post-ups. Last year, I think he had a bit of a tendency of thinking he needed to put his shoulders into opponents as he backed them down, and would often get suckered into offensive fouls. Now, he uses his hips a little more effectively.
- Parker had a quiet 18 points, which is a pretty comforting sentence to type as 18 points would have been something to get excited just a few weeks ago. He also hit an above-the-break three in fourth quarter garbage time, his first non-corner three of the season. After his missing his first seven three point attempts of the season, he's now made 4/9 from deep over his last nine games.
- The Bucks had Parker bring the ball up the floor once or twice with Ennis on the floor. If I'm not mistaken, they've had Parker do that a few times when he is the lone starter on the floor. Still, the Bucks and Parker are still trying to figure out how best to use Parker in those situations, and the Bucks generally didn't have much success getting Parker into situations where he could exploit his athleticism against Luis Scola.
- Rashad Vaughn had the unenviable task of guarding Kyle Lowry to start the second quarter. He lasted less than two minutes before Jason Kidd took him out of the game. He did not return to the game until the fourth quarter. On his first fourth quarter touch, he pump faked and then turned the ball over. I thought there was a stretch of games where he was finding some confidence, but it no longer appears that way.
- O'Bryant hit a baseline jumper tonight in the third quarter. Feels like it has been an eternity since he hit one of those.
- You would have a hard time convincing me Antetokounmpo and Parker should have played 35 and 37 plus minutes respectively against the Raptors.
- Ennis played a season-high 28 minutes on Tuesday night, recording ten points, five rebounds, and three assists. His time in the third quarter just seemed particularly rough as he entered the game after Bayless picked up his fourth foul and promptly bricked an open three. After that, it appeared as though the Raptors were more than willing to sag off of him to make things difficult for the rest of his teammates.