Toronto returns to action tonight as they continue a four-game homestand by facing off against the Milwaukee Bucks.
It’ll be the second matchup between the two sides, and most Raptors fans remember the last contest as one of the team’s better victories to this point having picked up a 130-111 win over the Bucks back on Nov. 1.
The 19-point rout was the squad’s largest margin of victory in any regular season game so far and was the highest-scoring output in any game as well. Not a surprise considering it was one of just two games that the entire starting lineup has scored in double-figures this season.
They were led by Pascal Siakam’s 26 points but also got an impressive performance from Dennis Schröder who put up season-highs in both points and assists with 24 and 11 respectively.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s star duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard combined for just 31 points that night as both players shot under 50 per cent from the field.
(6-4 | 5th in East | Offensive Rating: 114.4/9th | Defensive Rating: 116.7/25th)
Despite being a top-ten offence, the Bucks have been anything but that on the defensive side of the ball. They’ve yet to hold an opponent under 100 points, giving up around 118 points on a nightly basis.
They were able to stay under their opponent’s points-per-game average on Monday however, as they picked up a 118-109 victory against the Chicago Bulls at home. They got double-double performances from Antetokounmpo who had 35 points and 11 rebounds, and Bobby Portis off the bench.
Lillard on the other hand struggled in his return from a two-game absence as he went 3-17 from the field with five turnovers.
(5-5 | 10th in East | Offensive Rating: 107.5/28th| Defensive Rating: 108.5/4th)
Toronto enters this contest on the heels of a massive 23-point comeback against the Washington Wizards, they quite frankly had no business winning.
It was thanks to a herculean effort by Pascal Siakam, who had a season-high 39 points (22 in the third quarter), to go with 11 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.
It took a 22-1 run in the fourth quarter, plus Washington making error after error down the stretch to pull out a near-improbable victory, but the Raptors made it happen. Even more bizarre, none of the starters knocked down a three, and according to Sportsnet’s Blake Murphy, it was Toronto’s first victory without a triple from their starters since Jan. 9, 2013.
The team was missing OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr., due to injuries, but most fans still wouldn’t have expected such a lackluster first three quarters against a bottom-of-the-pack Washington team that was also on the second night of a back-to-back.
Either way, the Raptors found a way to win and can get back above .500 if they can snag a victory tonight.
Tip-off: 7:30 pm EST | TV: TSN | Radio: Sportsnet 590
PG: Damian Lillard, Cameron Payne, Tyty Washington Jr.
SG: Malik Beasley, Pat Connaughton, AJ Green, Andre Jackson Jr.
SF: Khris Middleton, MarJon Beauchamp
PF: Thansis Antetokounmpo
C: Brook Lopez, Bobby Portis, Robin Lopez
Inactives: Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf), Jae Crowder (groin), Chris Livingston (ankle), and Marques Bolden (two-way)
PG: Dennis Schröder (questionable – knee), Malachi Flynn
SG: Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr. (doubtful – foot), Gradey Dick
SF: O.G. Anunoby (doubtful – finger), Otto Porter Jr., Jalen McDaniels, Garrett Temple
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young
C: Jakob Poeltl, Precious Achiuwa
Inactives: Christian Koloko (illness), Ron Harper Jr (two-way), and Javon Freeman-Liberty (two-way)
Milwaukee, despite being on the road, enters the game as four-point favourites against Toronto. The money line has it at -185 for the Bucks and +152 for the Raptors.
The over/under line for the contest is set at 226.5 (the two squads hit the over in their last head-to-head when the line was at 224.5). Odds via BetMGM.