For the second time this month, the Toronto Raptors gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits. They’d come into Fiserv Forum and leave victorious, following a 103-96 win.
Milwaukee would pick up right where they left off vs. the Warriors, as they immediately scored the Raptors from deep to start this one off. After quickly jumping to a 16-2 lead, the Bucks would keep the lead throughout the entire quarter. Grayson Allen would come out with a scoring touch, lighting up Toronto for ten points. Headed into the second quarter, Milwaukee led by a score of 29-20.
The second quarter was much closer than the first, mainly due to Milwaukee’s offense cooling down. Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby started picking up the slack for the Raptors and got them back into the ballgame. Heading into the locker room, the Bucks held onto a three point advantage, 49-46.
Toronto would ride a wave of physicality throughout the third, playing a brand of tough basketball that clearly rattled and frustrated the Bucks. Fred VanVleet continued to thrive, leading the Raptors and assisted them in catching the lead. Going into the final quarter of regulation, Toronto owned a 73-69 lead.
The Raptors would provide a lot of challenges throughout the final quarter, led by Pascal Siakam. He’d hit a load of timely shots, as well as doing lots of other things out on the floor. Though the Bucks came close numerous times down the stretch, they weren’t able to get the job done. They’d fall to the Raptors again for the second time this month, 103-96.
For the Bucks, Giannis led the way with 30 points on a bit of a cold night of shooting (6-of-17 from the floor). Grayson Allen concluded his night with 18 points and Khris Middleton poured in 16 of his own.
Pascal Siakam was the main highlight in this one, exhibiting a triple-double stat line of 30 points, ten rebounds, and ten assists. OG Anunoby chipped in with 24 points and Fred VanVleet continued to be a thorn in the Bucks’ side, mixing in 17 points.
The Bucks struggled with Pascal Siakam.
Last night was Siakam’s night. In a game that featured loads of physicality, he was a main benefactor of that style of play. It fits him, as he’s the type of player that will batter down low and work his way for numerous baskets. Down the stretch, he was the player that received a lot of the late-game looks for the Raptors, and he was clutch in the moment. A three late in the quarter proved to be what doomed the Bucks, as Siakam put the final touches on his 30 point triple-double that was paired with ten boards and ten dimes.
It was both an off-and-on night for Giannis.
I feel that you can’t say that a 30 point outing is ever a bad night, but I guarantee Giannis would tell you that he didn’t do enough in this one to help his team win. He was clearly impacted by the Raptors’ physicality in this one, as he went just 6-of-17 from the floor. In his postgame availability, Mike Budenholzer attributed that as one of the reasons as to why Toronto succeeded in limiting his output. However, Antetokounmpo did go a perfect 17-of-17 from the free throw line. He has also scored 30 points in nine of his last ten games.
This was a physical game.
Both the Bucks and Raptors are a physical team, and when that’s the case, you expect a lot of free throws. In total, the Bucks would shoot 35 on the evening. However, according to Mike Budenholzer, they should’ve had more:
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer:— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) January 16, 2022
"Giannis gets 17 free throws, but I think you could argue he could have 27 or 30 free throws. As a team, we had 35. I think you could argue we could have had 45 or 50."
This is interesting given the fact that Bud has never really criticized the officials before in his postgame availability. Now, I don’t know if this will warrant a fine or any action from the league, but it will be something to monitor.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- As I mentioned, Giannis has scored now 30+ in nine of his last ten games. That type of scoring will continue to climb him up the MVP ladder.
- Grayson Allen had another solid outing. He’d tally 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting and connect on several threes, missing just one of them. We all know the boost he provides to this Bucks team when he’s on, and now that he’s healthy, he’s able to show his skillset.
- Donte DiVincenzo continues to struggle in his time back. It may just be him still taking some time to acclimate to game speed, but he wasn’t able to provide much of an impact with his -11 RPM. In 17 minutes played, he scored just three points on 1-of-5 shooting. It’ll be interesting to see his status with the team as the trade deadline sits on the horizon.
- Fred VanVleet continues to have his way with the Bucks. Last night didn’t feature a load of scoring from him, but his 17 points were definitely timely. He’s playing at an All-Star caliber level and is definitely worthy of a spot on the Eastern Conference in Cleveland.
- Something Bucks fans will be happy to hear is that the Bucks don’t play the Raptors again this year in the regular season. They’re obviously a very well-coached team with Nick Nurse at the helm and know how to really work the Bucks. However, perhaps a playoff matchup is in the cards...