Milwaukee chased the disappointing taste from their mouth after a Toronto loss on Monday with a start-to-finish take down of the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night, 122-101. While the Pacers were without their star, Victor Oladipo, the Bucks taking care of business was a welcome change of pace from their glut of close games lately.
The Bucks barely lost in Toronto this past Monday, dropping a 131-127 overtime game while DeMar DeRozan went off for 52 points. The name of the game tonight is tamping that scoring production down, but Milwaukee also let Toronto hit 42.4% of their 33 3-point attempts on the night, another figure they will hope to curtail despite the Raptors increased propensity from deep. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe combined for 56 points that evening, but a 7-17 shooting night for Khris Middleton isn’t exactly ideal. Neither is just four 3-point attempts either though. A big three explosion after a game where they were allowed ample rest with a thorough lead can hopefully propel them forward against the Raptors.
Player to Watch: Thon Maker
A bit of deja vu here, but Maker’s two strong games in a row warrants another inclusion here. Along with 16 against Toronto and 12 in his follow-up versus Indiana, Thon has hit 5-6 from deep. Hopefully he can replicate that again tonight with a repeat performance, although getting repeatedly worked by Sabonis down low last night wasn’t the most encouraging defensive sign.
We just covered Toronto’s improved offensive profile in this piece on Monday (increased 3-pointers and upped assist percentage), but that formula continues to help them rack up wins. That, and DeRozan going off, as he did Wednesday night with 35 points against a Chicago Bulls team that’s been far more staunch of late. Delon Wright added 25 as well, and the Raptors deep bench contains plenty of guys capable of contributing in a meaningful manner. On Monday night that dude was Fred VanVleet, whose modest 11 point performance felt strangely in control over the Bucks lackadaisical defense that evening.
Player to Watch: Delon Wright
The rangy guard made a few decent defensive plays Monday night with some athletic blocks and sticking his extended digits into the passing lane. Just eight points against Milwaukee isn’t that impressive, but if he’s able to exploit the Bucks as he did Chicago’s backcourt last night, it might be yet another long defensive night.