On the second game of a back to back, in OT no less, and yet this Milwaukee Bucks refused to relent against the squad that ended their fairytale season in 2019 with a 108-97 victory over the Toronto Raptors. The defenses predictably owned the opening of this game, as the Raptors narrowly led 27-25 following the first. Toronto looked to be dominating Milwaukee in the second, but an 11-1 sprint to close it out brought the Bucks within 50-52 at halftime. In the third, the Bucks finally wore down the Raptors defense, taking an 84-71 lead into the fourth. Toronto made several late runs with some triples, but the Bucks took care of business in the end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo may have been well-rested, but it didn’t help him against this suffocating Raptors defense, which was hounding him all night in the halfcourt. Their combined effort held Giannis down scoring-wise to 19 points, but he also tacked on 19 rebounds and eight assists. He did hit a mammoth corner three down the stretch though to quell some Raptors momentum.
Khris Middleton took some time to find his rhythm, but eventually got to his spots offensively against Toronto and finished with 22 points and eight boards. Brook Lopez was spectacular defensively, logging five blocks and adding 15 points. Eric Bledsoe was just 5-14, but he was the primary catalyst offensively in the early going and ended with 17 points, seven boards and four assists.
Milwaukee did a fantastic job defensively against all of Toronto’s top-flight players. Pascal Siakam scored 22 points on an efficient 14 shots, but Fred VanVleet/Kyle Lowry combined to shoot just 7-26 for 24 points. Serge Ibaka was a horrific 2-14 from the field as well.
Stat that Stood Out
The Bucks typically own the paint, and given the Raptors relative propensity to downsize, one would’ve thought that would be the narrative in this one. However, the Bucks had just 12 shots at the rim per Cleaning The Glass, only 20% of their total, compared to 20 shots at the rim for Toronto. Usually, the Bucks take 35% of their shots at the rim. Toronto was keeping the Bucks away from their bread and butter down there. The big difference: each team made nine shots down there, and for the arithmetic-averse, 9-12 is much better than 9-20.