And it’s official, the Milwaukee Bucks own the tiebreaker over their Eastern Conference competitor, the Toronto Raptors, following a massive 105-92 road victory. Milwaukee went neck-and-neck with Toronto into the second period, trailing just 25-22 after one. By halftime, the Bucks blistering 52.9% percentage from deep paid huge dividends, giving them a 56-47 advantage. The Raptors entered the intermission just 2-17 (12.5%) from three. Milwaukee boosted their lead out to 24 partway through the third quarter, but the Raptors rebounded to make it 87-76 to start the fourth. Despite Giannis Antetokounmp missing nearly half the final period with foul trouble, the Bucks pulled this huge win out.
Giannis Antetokounmpo battled foul trouble for much of the night, picking up a ticky-tack foul to start the fourth that sent him to the bench. He ended the night with just 19 points, but stacked the rest of the box score with nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and two blocks. Still, it was an encouraging sign for Milwaukee’s depth that they could hang tough despite his lack of aggression offensively (just 13 shots).
Amazingly, D.J. Wilson might’ve topped the list of non-Giannis players tonight with an impressive showing on both ends of the court. He showed a willingness to shoot the three quickly and even finished through contact for an and-one en route to 16 points, five rebounds and two steals. Khris Middleton added 18 points, six rebounds and four assists on the same night he was tabbed for an All-Star appearance. Eric Bledsoe contributed 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists and a shifty four steals as he read Toronto’s offensive plays all evening.
Pascal Siakam again had a career night against the Bucks, nearly topping his previous scoring high (30) he hit against Milwaukee to end with 28 points. Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry both had tough shooting nights against the Bucks defense, going just 11-31 combined from the field for 26 points.
Stat that Stood Out
Toronto shooting just 25.9% from deep (7-27) was huge; so was the fact Milwaukee continued their malleable winning ways by doubling up the Raptors with made threes to counteract the fact the Raptors outscored them in the paint by 20. However, I’m going with a stretch to start the fourth quarter, when the Raptors had a massive amount of momentum. Giannis checked out of the game just 20 seconds into the fourth, with the Bucks up 87-78. Toronto closed within 87-81, but then the Bucks proceeded on a 9-1 run without their superstar on the floor. Those are the kind of stretches worth remembering.