I started off my last extended recap against the Pacers by saying that it was an anxiety free night at the Bradley Center. Ha ha ha. Well, let’s just say that it was the complete opposite last night, as the Toronto Raptors blew the doors off the Bucks, 129-110.
What started off as a strong Bucks start quickly fizzled back to normality, as a 14-0 run helped vault Toronto back into the game. After the finish of one half, the Raptors clung to a 61-59 lead.
But yes, the dreaded third quarter. It came and inflicted pain in the Bucks yet again. At one point, Milwaukee would find themselves down 27 (yes, 27) — thanks in large part to the frequent trading of twos for threes. It’d only get a single point better when the buzzer sounded, as the deficit loomed at 104-78 heading into the fourth.
The rest is history, and recapping it anymore would likely lead into me throwing my laptop off my balcony.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the only Buck to surpass the 20 point plateau on the night, finishing with 24. Malcolm Brogdon finished with 19 off the bench and Eric Bledsoe mixed in 17 of his own. For Toronto, three starters tallied 20 points or more, with Serge Ibaka leading the way with 21 points. Jonas Valanciunas and DeMar DeRozan each had 20 apiece.
The problem that is the third quarter returned for the Bucks.
Remember a few years ago when the third quarter was where the Bucks laid an egg every single game? Well, it returned in some very gruesome action. The Raptors put up 44 (this is not a typo), yes 44 points in the third quarter. It’s sad to see this team roll over and die like that. It really is. I can get losing a heartbreaker, but this was just as bad. Ugh. I’m just mad. The team was out-rebounded 18-2 in that period. Again, not a typo. This leads me into my next point.
The Bucks had no inside presence — again.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. The Bucks got roasted inside. Unfortunately, lightning didn’t strike twice with Thon in this outing against Toronto. Instead of a similar performance to his strong showing north of the border the other night (and during last year’s postseason), he played on the complete other end of the spectrum. Jonas Valanciunas had an absolute field day. I mean, he outscored the Bucks himself in the third quarter (20 points vs. 19 points). Just ugly, man. I know Thon has potential, but he really needs to beef up before he’s a consistent threat in this league.
As always, there were some questionable Jason Kidd decisions.
Okay. So last night was the beginning of a back-to-back for the Bucks. Tonight, they’re in Washington. I had a hard time understanding why Giannis stayed in the game for so long when they were down 20 (he would eventually come out at 6:57). It was clear that the Bucks were unable to get anything flowing, yet our prized possession remained out there in garbage time. Add in Giannis’ bad knee and it becomes even more frustrating. UGH.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- John Henson skill moves! I’m talking about how he started that transition in the first quarter with the behind the back pass and then ended up finishing with an and-1. It honestly belonged in The Louvre next to the Mona Lisa, it was that pretty.
- GOODNESS GRACIOUS, when Giannis passed to himself off the backboard. It ended up not resulting in a dunk or anything but it did lead to a foul. UPDATE: I am now typing this in the second quarter. That play where he extended like three feet over the out of bounds line and SOMEHOW flipped it in for two? What even?!?!
- If you’re the type of person to view the glass as half full, Malcolm Brogdon did have a decent night. He finished with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He was also a perfect 3-of-3 on the night from beyond the perimeter. It’s nothing that will salvage the pain of the blowout loss, but it was definitely nice to see ROY’s aggression back.
- I can’t really comprehend the Bucks’ strategy of trying to make up a 20+ deficit by shooting inside shots when Toronto is heaving three after three. The Raptors attempted 33 threes compared to Milwaukee’s 17. Good luck in winning a game when that’s happening, especially when Toronto is stroking it at the rate they were last night.
- It was Classic Night at the Bradley Center, which meant they used the old school Raptor with a basketball logo for Toronto on the jumbotron. I was then displeased that isn’t their current logo. Please change it back, Raptors management (While were discussing 90’s jerseys, I would be remiss if I didn’t voice my strong desire for the Bucks to bring these back. I think I’m speaking for every Bucks fan when I say that).