So. If you’re, like, the type of fan that enjoys winning games – especially games you’re supposed to win – the Tuesday night experience against Memphis mighta bummed you out.
This is how I felt about it:
There’s more to this world than winning. Okayyy?
Like for instance:
- Scottie B is 7/15 from 3 in his last 2 games. If that’s forreal real, this team’s evolution is imminent.
- The bench scored a whopping 34 points – equal to 15th best in the league. Prior to that, they were averaging 24 a game. Progress!
- 6 of those savoury substitution cylinder successes were from one of NN’s-dogg-house-residents, Chris Boucher. Including this one:
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 1, 2021
If you had followed the subsequent zoom in live, you’d have seen that the light in CB’s eyes issss…out. Maybe it’s a death stare at Jamal Magloire for exhorting that “it’s all about the team.” Or maybe, his soul revenu a Montreal hibernating there until he’s inevitably traded to Phoenix.
We can only hope neither and that he was in a rut and that that crammalammadingdong at the buzzer and the 2 blocks demonstrate his readiness to buy back-in and implore Nurse to cease any further Bouchaming (how’s that pun for you, Dayve_nnC1?).
Toronto needs a reanimated 2020 Boucher if they’re to emerge from this Eastern Conference tumble.
- Freddie V’s an All-Star. Samson Folk explained why in his 90s’ Sitcom attire (you’ll see what I mean when you watch). So, start the voting. Hire the ad agency. I see the slogan now “Ya’ll Know Me, I’m the Real FreddyVV“; give him the blonde hair, the rest of the Raptors can be D12 and make a cameo. It’s perfect right?.
Lots to love moving forward.
One thing not so much to love, at least, for the next 24 hours is a bout with the defending Championes, Milwaukee Bucks.
I think, rightfully so, the Toronto Raptors will ALWAYS be in Giannis Antetokounmpo’s crosshairs. The year we won – in his eyes, probably – was the year the Bucks coulda won. This dude’s definitely got a list of enemies the size of his wingspan. Toronto’s on it, somewhere below James Harden and somewhere above the 14 teams who passed on him in the draft.
The Bucks started off slow. 6-8. To be expected coming off a championship hangover and when 2 of your 3 best players then immediately went to Japan to win gold in the Olympics. Jrue and Middleton have been logging heavy minutes for like two years straight, it seems, between the bubble, shortened offseason, season, shortened offseason, Olympics, and, now, season. I worry for their long-term exuberance.
In the meantime, the Bucks are back baby.
They’ve won 8 in a row. Not exactly a slate to brag about: LeBron-less Lakers, Magic x2, Oklahoma City, Jokić-less Nuggets, Pistons, Pacers, and the Hornets last night on a Giannis game-winner.
Who the Hell are we to judge though? Wins are wins.
In that stretch, the Bucks are 2nd in defensive and net rating and have a league-leading +17.5 point differential per 100 possessions. They’re crushing.
Obviously, a lot of work goes through Giannis – he has a 36% usage rate and has the 2nd best net rating in the league. Giannis is averaging a not-so-impressive 28/12/6 with a 56% effective field goal percentage – yeesh.
The Bucks run their shit through Giannis and hoist threes. That’s their game plan for the last several years and they’re sticking to it.
Works when you have have three guys (Grayson Allen, Bobby Portis, and Pat Connaughton) shooting over 40% from 3 and hoisting a collective 18 of them a game.
Defensively, the Bucks don’t let teams get to the rim or the mid-range either. They will teams to shoot the 3 allowing the 3rd most percentage of shots from 3 (41%); luckily, for Milwaukee – or maybe not so lucky – teams have shot a league-low on “wide-open” 3s (31% on 19 attempts). Meaning, this strategy should fail over time as teams eventually hit’em…right?
Maybeeee not for the 25th best 3-point shooting Toronto Raptors.
This might be bold, but…don’t double Giannis(?). He’s getting his. Staying home on those shooters, who aren’t exactly playmakers, might be the best way to stifle a complete evisceration. Scary thing is neither Middleton nor Jrue have played all that well yet. They’re coming along though.
For the Raps, shots gotta fall. What else is new? If Bucks are gonna give them those looks: gotta hit them. Plain and simple. That also means more rim attacks, less sticky hands, and mucho transition – basic stuff.
Tip-Off: 7:30pm EST | TV: TSN, BSWI | Radio: TSN 1050
OG Anunoby (hip pointer) and Khem Birch (knee) are out. Gary Trent Jr. (calf) is questionable. Goran Dragić has returned to Slovenia for personal reasons.
PG: Fred VanVleet, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn
SG: Svi Mykhailiuk
SF: Scottie Barnes, Yuta Watanabe, Justin Champagnie
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher
C: Precious Achuiwa
Brook Lopez (back), Semi Ojeleye, and Donte DiVincenzo (ankle) are all out.
PG: Jrue Holiday, George Hill
SG: Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton
SF: Kris Middleton, Rodney Hood, Jordan Nwora, Georgios Kalaizakas
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis, Thanasis Antetokounmpo
C: DeMarcus Cousins (I’m truly happy he’s back)
*this may all change with Bucks on a b2b; I wasn’t able to find many lines last night
Moneyline: Bucks -165; Raps +145
Spread: Raptors +4
Adon’s thoughts: Run. Hide. Put your money under the mattress and hide.
Conclusion: Bucks; Bucks; N/A.
Bet wisely, friends.