The final two undefeated teams in the NBA going head to head seemed to promise the premier game of the early season. Instead, much of the grandeur for tonight’s game between the Raptors and Bucks has been removed with today’s announcements that both Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo will sit out.
Kawhi Leonard will sit for rest tonight. OG Anunoby also still out (personal).
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) October 29, 2018
Let’s start with the less bad news: Kawhi’s absence looks to be entirely preemptive as the Raptors and Kawhi continue to work towards him reaching 100 percent health. While he has started the season strong and looks to be largely back to form, the Raptors currently appear hesitant to let him go in back-to-backs.
Kawhi sitting out tonight saves him a flight to and from Milwaukee and allows him to be ready for tomorrow night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been placed in NBA’s concussion protocol and will not play tonight against Toronto.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) October 29, 2018
Giannis’ absence is much more concerning from a fan perspective. It was early in Saturday’s game against the Orlando Magic that Giannis took an elbow to the face, and in his own words he felt like he had “blacked out” for a second.
While Giannis did pass he in-game neurological testing that allowed him to return, concussions are not linear and can pop up while after the inciting incident. The Bucks made it official today entering Giannis into the league’s mandated concussion protocol.
Along with Giannis and Kawhi, OG Anunoby will also miss tonight’s game once again for personal reasons, while Fred VanVleet is questionable and Delon Wright remains probable.
Missing this many talented players is obviously hard to see, but the Raptors are thankfully one of the deeper teams in the league. Lorenzo Brown will get more opportunity to shine once again if Fred and Delon are out, while Norman Powell and CJ Miles will have to pick up some of the slack left by Kawhi and OG.
Toronto will also have both their two-way players available tonight in Milwaukee with Jordan Loyd and Chris Boucher.