It was a battle of Eastern conference foes on Wednesday night, with the Toronto Raptors taking on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks, who sit second in the East, have had their way with the Raptors in the regular season. Since 2017, they have won 8 of their last 11 meetings and Wednesday night was no different. Behind solid performances by Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Brooke Lopez, Milwaukee handed Toronto their 2nd consecutive loss, 108-115.
It was an entertaining game from start to finish. Kyle Lowry started the night with another milestone becoming the 3rd Raptors played to score over 10,000 points with the team. In typical Lowry fashion, he bounced back from a tough shooting night, going for 21 points on 58% shooting.
Norman Powell continued his solid starting numbers with a season best 26 points and 5 rebounds. In his last 4 starts he has averaged 23.3 points for Toronto. Pascal Siakam was back in the rotation after being sidelined 2 games. It was a tough night for the all-star, who had 11 points in 35 minutes.
After the game, Nick Nurse talked about the team playing well enough on the defensive end to give themselves a chance at winning, but just not making the best choices when it came to offence. He said the team “settled early” and took quick shots, which worked in the Bucks favour. Lowry continued the sentiment, saying Milwaukee forces teams to play a certain way, and they have to be more disciplined when it comes to taking their shots.
When Toronto’s defence is locked in, they give themselves a chance to win. Despite holding Jrue Holiday (who has averaged 16.1 points in his last 16 games) to 7 points on 31% shooting, they couldn’t contain Giannis Antetokounmpo: in 37 minutes he had 24 points, 18 rebounds and was 1 assist shy of a triple double. Khris Middleton added another 24 and 10 rebounds with Brooke Lopez putting up 20 points in the win.
With the momentum on the Raptors side going into the 4th, it was a highly competitive final 12 minutes. Despite the loss, Toronto’s play has improved leaps and bounds. They competed against a healthy Milwaukee team with a full roster. Although Lowry and Siakam were back, OG Anunoby was out (calf strain) and his physical presence was clearly missed.
Next up… Toronto faces De’Aaron Fox and the Sacramento Kings on Friday. The Raptors are 1-0 against the Kings this season. Tip off is 7:30pm EASTERN at Amalie Arena.