Photo Credit: Sportsnet – AP Photo/Morry Gash
The Raptors have come away with a statement win over the Milwaukee Bucks by a score of 124-113. The Raptors hand Milwaukee their fourth consecutive loss for the first time since they defeated them in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals. The Raptors now move up to a 13-15 record this season and take the first game of a back-to-back with an impressive win.
OG Anunoby made his much anticipated return tonight, after missing the last ten games with a calf strain. With his return, Toronto decided to start the game with a small-ball lineup, allowing Norman Powell to keep his spot in the starting rotation. With that new tactic, the goal was to try and handle Milwaukee’s large lineup.
The Raptors finished strong with a good defensive intensity in the second half, and were able to contain the Bucks, holding them to only 22 points in the fourth quarter. Despite losing Kyle Lowry to a left ankle injury in the third quarter, the Raps made sure to step on their defensive consistency to secure the win against the high scoring Milwaukee team.
Fred VanVleet led the way for the Raptors tonight finishing with 33 points, shooting 54.5% from the field. VanVleet stepped up by staying consistent offensively, scoring 16 of his 33 points in the second half, and dishing out 7 assists in the absence of Kyle Lowry.
Pascal Siakam contributed with a 23-point, 13-rebound double-double, continuing his impressive offensive burst. This was his first game since February 5th with double-digit rebounds, which is a good sign to see against Milwaukee, who is ranked fourth in league rebounding rate.
Ahead of their rematch against the Bucks, the Raptors need to continue to collapse and contain Milwaukee on the defensive end. Expect the Raptors to slowly rely more on OG Anunoby to provide a big defensive presence so the team can successfully shut down the Bucks.
As well, expect the Bucks to come out with a vengeance, as they will try to avoid losing five straight games. Despite the predictable offensive performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo (34pts, 10 reb, 8 ast), expect a larger offensive presence from Khris Middleton, who was quiet for the Bucks tonight with only 11 points on eight shot attempts.
The Raptors will continue the mini series in Milwaukee with the second game of their back-to-back this Thursday. Make sure to watch the rematch on February 18, at 7:30PM EST.