Quick Reaction: Bucks 105, Raptors 121

Easy win. Bring on the play-in.

Box Score
S. Barnes22 MIN, 8 PTS, 2 REB, 5 AST, 0 STL, 4-9 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 8 +/-

His defensive attention to space was really impressive. Good opportunistic cheating, good rebounding, and great aggression in passing lanes, too. Settled for a lot of jumpers early, which would matter if this was a playoff game, but was really insignificant in this one. When he did venture into the paint, he was powerful and effective, but there was really no reason for him to. Happy he took it easy.

P. Achiuwa29 MIN, 14 PTS, 13 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 6-11 FG, 2-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 9 +/-

A really nice late-clock drive and finger roll to start the game. He rebounded and defended well. He got out in transition. He threw in a huge dunk after attacking a closeout with a crossover. He’s been so hot recently, which is maybe the most positive component of Toronto’s last week entering the playoffs. A nice high-low pass to Banton. Splashed a triple to start the second half. Him turning into a useful, productive player is … if you’re REALLY optimistic, one of the most important components of Toronto’s season thus far.

J. Poeltl11 MIN, 6 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-6 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 4 +/-

Stayed healthy, tossed in a couple hooks, and didn’t play in the second half. A perfect outing.

G. Trent Jr.27 MIN, 23 PTS, 1 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 7-13 FG, 4-7 3FG, 5-5 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 14 +/-

Cookin’ his way back into rhythm. Opened with a made pull-up 3 in transition, a made pull-up 2 in pick and roll, and a made and-1 triple, also coming off the pull-up. Then a made pull-up 3 in pick and roll. What a boss.

M. Flynn36 MIN, 20 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 7-14 FG, 2-4 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 11 +/-

Some silly dribbling highlights, including lookaways, fake spin dribbles (Chris Paul!), fake passes, and more. Nice rhythm in the middle of the floor early, using hesitations and probing dribbles to set up dump-offs to Poeltl or sprays to Achiuwa. He hit some tough layups, and he shot really well when creating his own looks in the pick and roll. Really confident game, knowing where his minutes were coming from.

C. Boucher20 MIN, 10 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 4-5 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 9 +/-

The dunks, my god, the dunks. Bullied Atetokounmpo in the paint (Thanasis), blocking him on the drive. Got GOT the next time down with some late help. Weaponized his athleticism better than anyone on either team, cutting around the rim, picking up the ball in the dunker spot, and chasing everything. When few players are trying, Boucher becomes Wilt Chamberlain.

C. Koloko25 MIN, 7 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 3-4 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 10 +/-

Great activity defending the pick and roll, tipping away floaty passes with his ridiculous length. Hit a push shot from maybe eight feet, which is a nice sign.

W. Barton14 MIN, 12 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 5-9 FG, 2-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-

Shot the ball, played free and easy.

R. Harper Jr.22 MIN, 10 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 4-6 FG, 1-3 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 6 +/-

He really improved towards the end of the G-League season, and it showed here. Efficient drives without wasted steps, and solid finishing.

D. Banton19 MIN, 11 PTS, 5 REB, 7 AST, 0 STL, 5-12 FG, 0-3 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 7 +/-

Some fancy, swooping finishes without Brook Lopez on the court to limit him. Did not have a strong dribble. He remains not a point guard in his ability to create advantages with the ball in his hands, but his cutting and activity were still great. He’s such a good passer, I get why they want to make him a point guard, but he’s a ways away yet.

J. Wieskamp15 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 0-6 FG, 0-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -1 +/-

Poor guy missed some shots.

Nick Nurse

Played the guys in the basketball game. No one got hurt, so he did his job perfectly.

Things We Saw

  1. Toronto’s offense was quite good! Milwaukee was missing three of the best, I dunno, 10, defenders in the league, but Carter, Crowder, and others are still very worthwhile defenders. Toronto created paint touches well (especially Achiuwa) and made good, quick decisions once there. Solid stuff. Guys showed out with nothing to play for, and it’s good to wash out the Boston loss with a fresher taste in the mouth heading into Wednesday.
  2. A little bit more about Precious. He was maybe the biggest reason last year’s Raptors got so hot after the All-Star brea, and he was also crucial to Toronto winning two games in the playoffs. His inability to find that gear this season is a major reason Toronto finished .500. But him getting hot late means a lot. He could swing important games for the Raptors with his ability to convert advantages others create for him and finish possessions on the defensive end.
  3. The play-in. I’m actually very excited. Elimination games are fun in sports, and both Toronto and Chicago are very competent teams. There are plenty of tactical and narrative storylines, and it’ll be a fun game. Don’t expect Toronto to have an easy path, but we should be about to watch another level of basketball. Fun stuff.
  4. Thank you all so much for rocking with Raptors Republic this year. It’s been such a fun year for me personally, and everyone on staff has really loved chopping it up with you all. Appreciate all the love, and can’t wait to keep working in the postseason, no matter how many games that lasts. Onto Chicago! Love you all.

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