Quick Reaction: Bucks 104, Raptors 99

8 mins read
Milwaukee 104 Final
Box Score
99 Toronto

P. Siakam26 MIN, 17 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 7-12 FG, 2-4 3FG, 1-2 FT, 3 BLK, 1 TO, -5 +/-

One could argue Siakam sets the tone better than any Raptor on a consistent basis. Any. Single. Raptor. His pace-pushing and gradual evolution as an offensive creator in Nurse’s system has been a key element of Toronto’s success. Nurse trusted him with the Giannis assignment and he responded. Pascal was fantastic tonight.

K. Leonard37 MIN, 18 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 7-18 FG, 1-4 3FG, 3-3 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-

This was the game where Leonard needed a guy like Lowry to step up his scoring output. Didn’t happen. Lowry is on a bad slump and Toronto is putting a ton of emphasis on Leonard shouldering the load on both ends. This isn’t sustainable at all, and probably isn’t best for Leonard’s health down the road. He proved again why he’s the best two-way in the game.

S. Ibaka33 MIN, 24 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 10-21 FG, 4-11 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 6 +/-

Ibaka played his role and more tonight. He led Toronto in scoring, and filled up the box score. This pointed to his all-around impact on the game — and he hit some big shots too. Serge continues his fantastic season.

K. Lowry33 MIN, 0 PTS, 5 REB, 7 AST, 0 STL, 0-5 FG, 0-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 4 TO, 7 +/-

By his standards, Lowry played an awful game. Scoreless with just several assists and multiple turnovers. I understand the whole “Lowry’s a playmaker now!” take, but taking only five shots more than I did is absolutely unacceptable as the team’s clear 2nd-best talent. Horrific performance in a big game versus a great opponent.

D. Green34 MIN, 8 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 3-7 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 3 BLK, 2 TO, 7 +/-

Danny played a solid game. He didn’t score much, but contributed in other areas. Again, it’d be nice to see DG score a little more when Leonard’s down, but this isn’t Burger King. You can’t always have it your way (please don’t fine me).

F. VanVleet27 MIN, 19 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 7-12 FG, 5-7 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-

Fred had a bounce back game tonight. He shot the ball extremely well, looked confident and gave the Bucks’ guards hell on the perimeter. To his credit, he deserved a lot more calls than he got. His intensity was massive tonight.

C. Miles14 MIN, 5 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -14 +/-

Miles’ rough season continues. He did hit a good percentage on a low number of shots, but he didn’t flip the switch like Toronto needed him to. Boneheaded fouls took him out mentally, too. Miles wasn’t the worst of the worst, but he certainly didn’t impress.

O. Anunoby13 MIN, 2 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-5 FG, 0-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -16 +/-

Right on brand. Anunoby — like the rest of the bench played a dreadful game. The only reason he’s out of the ‘D’ range is his pestering defense on Antetokounmpo during certain points of the game. Other than that, a forgetful one for Ogugua.

J. Valanciunas12 MIN, 6 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-8 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, -9 +/-

JV was mentally out of it. Like, I mean completely out of it. The calls didn’t go his way, and he made a meal out of it. He was more focused on the next whistle coming than anything else. He struggled badly guarding Lopez, but if there’s one guy I’d bet on bouncing back big time after this one, it’s Jonas.

D. Wright11 MIN, 0 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -14 +/-

I’m not sure what’s going on with Delon Wright. He looked nonexistent which has been an all-too-often thing this season. His plus-minus was hard to look at. You trust Wright to pick it up, but if not — we may just be looking at a potential trade candidate in two months time.

Nick Nurse

Believe it or not, I think Nurse actually had a great game plan for Milwaukee tonight. The personal defensive matchups worked for the most part. Their offensive sets opened up the game for them. The intensity was there. The execution on the players part wasn’t. Maybe if I’m Nurse, I sit Lowry for those last few minutes for FVV. Maybe.

Things We Saw

  1. Toronto started this game off with a clear mindset of how they wanted to attack the Bucks’ defense. The unselfishness offensively and intensity on both ends flustered Milwaukee. It helped that Toronto probably had their best overall defensive possession of the entire season with a few minutes left in the first frame. Budenholzer later adjusted by giving Giannis a quick two-minute rest, and inserted him back in versus Toronto’s ‘small-ball’ lineup.
  2. Hate to bring up the past, but I genuinely don’t think the 2017-2018 Raptors squad could defeat this version of the Bucks in the playoffs or regular season when it matters. This is a Bucks team with a much-improved Giannis (frightening), a borderline All Star talent in Middleton, a solid (young but experienced) supporting cast, a much better head coach and a brand-new acquisition of George Hill (didn’t play tonight). These Bucks are a legitimate Eastern Conference stalwart.
  3. This game makes you think — with Kawhi now in the fray, it gives Toronto an elite, MVP-level two-way weapon (they’ve never had this in franchise history) that can give Milwaukee’s star wings persistent issues now, and potentially in the playoffs. There are two leading NBA MVP candidates, and they both played in Scotiabank Arena tonight.
  4. Bench Mob? More like Bench Kebab. They’re getting eaten alive by teams far too often this season. ‘Eaten alive’ may be an overstatement, but they set high standards that they’re not close to matching. Let’s not sugarcoat it. They need to be better, and Toronto has a lot of time to get them right. This was a great test for Toronto and a loss they can learn from. As of now, Milwaukee has their number.

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