I’d like to say I’m over the hurt from the Toronto Raptors 2019 Playoff series, but I just don’t think I’ve let it go yet from when they waxed the Milwaukee Bucks in four straight games. Even with a vastly different roster, I still revel in every opportunity to thump this team and Nick Nurse’s goatee.
Where We’re At
Well, I’m sure Bud had plenty to say to the team after they dropped a 115-106 contest against the Detroit Pistons on Monday. It was a horrid night from deep, just 11-46, but the lack of aggression in dominating a diminutive Pistons team was frustrating. Giannis Antetokounmpo put up 31/10/7 as a stat line, but it might’ve been his most uninspiring near triple-double in some time.
Giannis has looked like he’s been in a fog most of the second half. Just four points, multiple possessions where he hasn’t gotten back in defense either. No steals or blocks tonight.— Frank Madden (@fmaddenNBA) January 4, 2022
Jrue Holiday continued his hot play with 29 points, but he was by far the most locked-in Buck on the floor. The Bucks already have lost to the Raptors, 97-93 earlier this season, although that was without Giannis. This will be a prime opportunity for the big man to bounce back and quell the Fred VanVleet tides.
VanVleet went for 29 in the Raptors last win, much of that coming in a second half barrage that only brought back painful flashbacks for Bucks fans. That was back when the Raptors were scuffling too, but they’ve worked up to an even 17-17 record with three straight wins on their resume. Granted, they were against the Spurs, Knicks and Clippers, but I’m in no position to offer caveats with wins after the Pistons just dislodged the Bucks. VanVleet averages 21 on very efficient 55 eFG%, and he is surrounded by long, rangy wings in Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes. It should be a good test for Giannis against their hyper-rotational defense, which contests on close outs like bats outta hell and makes it tough to drives with wild waving arms aplenty. They’re also playing on a back-to-back, which should be an advantage for Milwaukee.
As for who will be playing on both sides, the Bucks got some bad news yesterday.
Report: Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton Enter Health and Safety Protocols https://t.co/W79TxCK7SP— Brew Hoop (@brewhoop) January 4, 2022
Donte (who re-rolled his ankle and will be out for a few weeks) and Brook are out with injuries. The quasi-good news is that Semi Ojeleye, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Jordan Nwora are all questionable after entering the health and safety protocols.
The Raptors are decidedly healthier, missing Yuta Watanabe and Svi Mykhailiuk. Much of their team has already been through the protocols.
There's now only one Raptors *regular* who has not entered protocols this season. Fred, Scottie, OG, Pascal, Gary, Khem, Precious, Dalano, Malachi, Yuta, Svi, Bonga, and Champagnie have all been in protocols this year. https://t.co/2omBugdXIA— (@AaronBenRose) January 4, 2022
Unfortunately it appears Giannis will also be out, in addition to head coach Mike Budenholzer.
Injury Report Update:— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 5, 2022
Grayson - H&S Protocols
Giannis - Non-covid; illness
Pat - H&S Protocols
Donte - Left ankle; sprain
Thanasis - H&S Protocols
Jordan - H&S Protocols
Semi - H&S Protocols
Player to Watch
Khris Middleton looked off against the Pistons, and not just in a way that he seemed disinterested, but his actual shot was wayyy off with an air ball and clanking one off the side of the backboard. In general, I’d say he’s had a down year since a strong start, likely in part due to multiple absences from injury and COVID-19. This would be a nice time to finally bounce back.
Game 40: 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)