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Milwaukee vs. Toronto: Bucks Surge Past Raptors, 118-111

Giannis’ triple-double, Brook Lopez’s 26 points lead the way for Milwaukee

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee would get back to their winning ways, locking down a 118-111 victory over the Toronto Raptors Sunday evening at Fiserv Forum.

The Bucks shot the ball well in the first quarter, especially from deep. However, the Raptors were able to keep themselves in it thanks to the poor ball handling from Milwaukee. In the first quarter, the Bucks coughed the ball up four times. Despite that, the seven threes they did connect one did grant them a 33-29 lead after one.

Toronto rattled off an 13-3 run to begin the second, which flip-flopped things their way early on. Milwaukee would be quick to respond, sounding off with a 10-2 run of their own and re-gaining slight control of things. They held a sliver of a lead at the break, 58-56.

Turnovers would continue to be a problem for the Bucks in the third. They’d end up committing five more in the frame. Toronto continued to capitalize on the times where Milwaukee was unable to facilitate things, staying in front for a majority of the quarter. Headed into the fourth, Milwaukee found themselves down 95-89.

The Bucks re-discovered the lead to begin the fourth, bringing the Fiserv Forum crowd back to life (this was with Giannis and Holiday on the bench). That would prove to be the juice that Milwaukee needed to get across the finish line. Toronto would hover around, but never re-gain the composure necessary to hop back in front. Milwaukee closed things out with a 118-111 victory.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had his fingerprints all over this one, polishing off a triple-double with 22 points, 13 rebounds, and ten assists. The crazy thing? He didn’t miss a shot. That’s only the 13th time that’s happened. Brook Lopez was pivotal in his return to the lineup, posting a game-high 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting and going 7-of-7 from the line.

Fred VanVleet was his typical self against the Bucks, pouring in 23 points, which served as the game-high for the Raptors.

The Bucks now have a small break before they finish up their homestand Wednesday night against San Antonio.

Three Observations

The Bucks had difficulty protecting the basketball.

All night long, the Raptors were pests on the defensive end, forcing Milwaukee to cough up the basketball. When things were all said and done, the Bucks turned the ball over 12 times. It was often the catalyst to Toronto’s scoring runs, providing them momentum to flip the script. Mike Budenhozler talked about the scrappiness of this Raptors’ squad in his postgame availability, mentioning how they’re always everywhere and making life hard. You know that this will be something that’s watched on the film between now and Wednesday and will surely be a point of emphasis against the Spurs.

Welcome back to the lineup, Brook Lopez.

After being sidelined due to an injury against the Pacers, it was a welcomed sight to see Brook Lopez again. Right from the tip, his impact and presence was palpable. Not only would he erupt for 26 points, but his defense picked up right where he left off. You can tell just how much he means to his teammates by just simply being out there on the floor and how his presence impacts opposing players. In his postgame availability, Mike Budenholzer talked about just how much his offense was needed in an ugly game where the Bucks weren’t really able to find a groove. Additionally, Jrue Holiday was extremely complementary of him:

The defense tightened up for Milwaukee in the fourth.

We’ve seen this Bucks team put up some awful quarters as of late. In the third quarter last night, they gave up 39 to Toronto. It really made it seem as if the momentum shifted their way, but Milwaukee was quick to turn things around and tighten the bolts. In the fourth, they’d allow just 16, which was more than enough for them to secure the victory. That’s something that Bud was extremely appreciative of postgame, though the third quarter still irked him.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • With the win, the Bucks have now clinched its first series win over Toronto since the 2019-20 season. They meet April 9th in Toronto for the final game of the regular season. If Milwaukee wins that, it’ll be their first season series sweep of the Raptors since 2012-13.
  • That run without Jrue and Giannis to start the fourth really set the mood for how things closed out. Brook Lopez was doing a lot of the key damage (remember, he outscored Toronto in the fourth). That just shows how dangerous this Bucks team can in fact be, even when their big three of Giannis/Khris/Jrue aren’t having an immediate impact.
  • We have more Giannis/chicken content:
  • Jrue Holiday nearly threw down a poster on Jakob Poeltl. In his postgame availability in the locker room, Holiday told us because he had blocked him on another attempt. Had he indeed connected on that slam, Fiserv would’ve been brought down.
  • This is quite the accomplishment:
  • And now a full rundown of where Giannis stands in franchise history:

That begs the question:

  • We’re in the thick of March Madness and Bobby Portis is fired up:
  • Yet again, we found ourselves with the blue alternate court. The primary court continues to have repair work done. Will it be ready by the playoffs? Only time will tell...