The Milwaukee Bucks are setting their sights on revenge against the Toronto Raptors, who knocked them off just a week ago above the border. Hopefully some home cooking, and riding off the sweet-smelling fumes of barbecuing the Golden State Warriors will add up to a delicious victory.
Where We’re At
I think I speak for all Bucks fans when I say our collective reaction after that Warriors win was, “that rocked.” Sure we could get more eloquent, but it rocked, plain and simple. For all the perceived ups-and-downs this team has gone through this year, they’re still boasting similar numbers to last year’s teams. And whoo boy do they know how to show up for the national games, it’s almost like they’re providing us every chance to avoid overwrought media narratives about where the Bucks are “legit.” For that, we salute you.
The Warriors win was wire-to-wire, the Bucks league-leading seventh of the season (h/t for that great stat to the TNT broadcast). Giannis Antetokounmpo destroyed the interior D without Draymond Green and buckled their defense with his passing to notch 30 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in just under 30 minutes. Khris Middleton looked as confident offensively as we’ve seen in awhile, tallying 23 points (on 13 shots) and seven assists. Let’s hope it carries over to this Toronto team that’s given them fits as of late.
As for the Raptors, they’re making their move up the Eastern Conference pecking order with a 6-4 record in their last ten. They’ve knocked off the Bucks and Jazz in the last two weeks, albeit with both of those teams missing some players, and played the Suns tough. That being said, they’ve also gone through a standard tradition for top teams at this point, losing on Friday evening 103-87 against the Detroit Pistons. Fred VanVleet is playing at an All-Star level, and Pascal Siakam rammed through Khris Middleton in their last matchup. The presence of Giannis should mean a more formidable interior defense for the Bucks, and a better way for them to manufacture offense after their 11-point third period doomed them last time out against the Raptors. We’ll see how the back-to-back impacts Detroit this time around.
As for injuries, Jrue Holiday won’t be back for Milwaukee, Brook is still out and Langston Galloway is now in the health and safety protocols. Toronto should have most of their key players, barring strategic rest planned on a back-to-back, but Khem Birch did break his nose just a few minutes into the Pistons game and flew back to Toronto to get it taken care of, so his status is up in the air. Gary Trent Jr. was listed as questionable for the Pistons game and didn’t end up playing, maybe they were saving him for this contest.
Player to Watch
It was great to see Grayson Allen return to game action and find his shooting stroke almost immediately. He had 15 points on 10 shots and his quick trigger triples were finding nylon. On top of that, I thought he looked active and pesky on defense, a great sign given he’s likely still recovering from his COVID-19 absence. The Bucks could use some additional guard play in this one and they’ll need him to keep hitting shots from outside.
Game 45: Against Toronto, the Bucks will…
This poll is closed
Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)