Despite Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton remaining sidelined, the Bucks were able to take care of business and get another well-needed victory against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night, 130-122.
The Bucks would splash home a small handful of threes in the first quarter, including several from Jrue Holiday and a pair from Joe Ingles. Those 3-pointers helped Milwaukee capture a double-digit advantage after a period of play, 44-34. They’d connect on seven threes compared to just two from the Raptors in the opening stanza.
Toronto would flip the script in the second quarter. Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet found their way against the Giannis-less Milwaukee defense, rattling off a combined 43 points in the first half. It helped swing things to Toronto’s favor at the break, 74-67.
The Bucks would put on a strong start to the third, flooring their way back in front around the mid-way mark. That ferocity would be maintained throughout the entirety of the quarter and was led by Grayson Allen, who made some very timely 3-pointers that shifted momentum. Headed into the fourth, Milwaukee found themselves up 105-97.
Toronto would scratch and claw their way back into this one, forcing it to single digits multiple times in the fourth. After a flurry of technical fouls were assessed following a scuffle between Brook Lopez and Gary Trent Jr. (and pretty much the entire Toronto roster), Lopez would ultimately be ejected. Despite losing their anchor down low, Milwaukee was able to seize control, putting forward the necessary buckets to secure the win. They’d end up finishing things out with a 130-122 win.
Jrue Holiday posted a season-high 37 points on 16-of-26 shooting, a percentage which included five threes. Grayson Allen was massive as well, concluding his efforts with 25 points.
Fred VanVleet served as the game’s leading scorer with 39 points. Gary Trent Jr. poured in 28 points and Pascal Siakam notched 23 points.
The Bucks now head into a well-needed three days off. Their next game will be Saturday in Cleveland.
Jrue Holiday continues to be Jrue Holiday.
For the second game in a row, Jrue Holiday tallied 30 points — 37 to be exact. It was the first time this season he’s tallied consecutive games of 30 points and it came when they were the most needed given Antetokounmpo’s absence. It really speaks to just how much he truly means to this team. We’re so accustomed to his defensive stardom but his clutch scoring has started to really become a trend this season — including those nasty step-backs. Whenever his aggressiveness is being displayed like it was last night, it’s a problem for opposing defenses. My, oh my. I think it’s safe to say that he deserves to be an All-Star.
Joe Ingles really has an impact in a variety of ways.
The Aussie continues to be huge for Milwaukee. Not only did he tally 15 points off the bench, but he contributed elsewhere as well. In addition to tallying six rebounds, he racked up eight assists. It really is quite fun to see how he can facilitate the basketball, as it creates a major impact when he’s on that level of his game. Additionally, he can be a pest on the defensive side of the ball, something that Bud praised in his postgame availability. He’ll continue to be an impactful piece to the puzzle for the Bucks moving forward.
It was big how the Bucks didn’t bend following the altercation in the fourth.
You never know how teams may respond when faced with tension and drama like that in the fourth, but the Bucks reacted just as any fan could’ve hoped for. The Raptors had stolen momentum before at times and it seemed as if they were on the brink of doing so yet again following that scuffle. However, instead of coughing up the lead, Jrue Holiday put the team on his shoulders and didn’t disappoint. Fans have to be excited at how Milwaukee refused to fold and instead mustered up the energy needed to preserve the win.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- I mentioned the altercation in the fourth. Here it is, which resulted in a Brook Lopez ejection:
A scuffle takes place in the Bucks/Raptors game.— ' (@_Talkin_NBA) January 18, 2023
Brook Lopez and Gary Trent Jr. went at it pic.twitter.com/Fi0jbnF62d
- As for the NBA’s explanation? Here’s what came via the pool report:
Pool Report on the Technical Fouls called with 6:40 Left in the Fourth Quarter of Tonight’s Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Gamehttps://t.co/dsyFBmVrmL— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) January 18, 2023
- How was Brook feeling following his first career ejection? Here ya go:
- The Jrue Holiday All-Star campaign rolls on:
Grayson Allen continued his All-Star campaigning for Jrue Holiday in tonight's postgame availability:— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) January 18, 2023
"The East is really good this year and we’ve been floating in that second range. You don’t do that in a tough conference without a couple of All-Stars on your team.”
- Milwaukee did a fantastic job keeping O.G. Anunoby in check. He tallied just five points, going a putrid 2-of-13 from the floor. It was his first time failing to hit double-digits since October 24th.
- Fans are continuing to express frustration at MarJon Beauchamp not receiving minutes. He didn’t play in this one. Here’s what Bud had to say on the matter during his pre-game availability:
Before tonight's game, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said MarJon Beauchamp is available for tonight's game, despite practicing with the Herd with Khris Middleton. He has not played.— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) January 18, 2023
Beauchamp didn't play last night either, so I asked Budenholzer about that.
Our interaction: pic.twitter.com/M5ogQas36B
- In the second quarter, Fred VanVleet hit a crazy turnaround three that threw me right back to the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals where he couldn’t miss. I swear he hasn’t missed a clutch three at Fiserv Forum.
- Last, a topic that was brought up between Eric, Zora, and I in the media room — what warrants water being dumped on players? It seems like the Bucks may be overdoing it. Zora thinks that the minimum requirement should be 40 points.