Posted on January 31, 2019, by Travis Pulver
The Milwaukee Bucks entered Thursday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors on a roll. They had won eight of their last nine and with a win over the Raptors they could beat Toronto in a season series for the first time in years. But while Toronto has had some struggles recently, they have been on a roll at home having won their last ten games at Scotiabank Arena.
However, Toronto’s last home loss was to the Milwaukee Bucks back on December 9.
However, with the way they have been playing the last few nights (1-2), the Raptors were going to need to step it up to keep from losing at home to the Bucks—again. But while Pascal Siakam had a pretty good night, no one else really did.
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Toronto held Giannis Antetokounmpo to just 19 points. But with seven players scoring in double figures the Bucks didn’t have much trouble with the Raptors. Milwaukee won with relative ease, 105-92.
However, the Raptors did get off to a solid start in the first quarter. Powered by 10-points from Serge Ibaka, Toronto led 25-22 heading into the second. But then the Bucks got hot from behind the arc and hit seven of 11 three-pointers in the second.
Heading into the break, Milwaukee led, 56-47.
In the third, the Bucks managed to lead by as much as 24-points. But the Raptors were able to close the gap to 11 points, 87-76, heading into the fourth. Toronto managed to get within six points, 98-92, late in the game—but couldn’t get any closer.
Kawhi Leonard shared some thoughts following the game (thestar.com):
“Just coming out with some energy in the beginning; you know, we were down 20 points in the third quarter…Trying to build yourself back from that lead so late in the game, you lose a lot of energy for the fourth … we’ve got to be consistent.
The problem for Toronto was pretty clear. They couldn’t hit their shots. As a team, they only made 39.8 percent of their 93 shot attempts. But they were worse from behind the arc. After making at least 12 in their last five games they missed 12 of their first 13 attempts (went 7-27).
Siakam led the way for the Bucks with 28 points followed by Kawhi Leonard with 16 and Serge Ibaka with ten. Kyle Lowry chipped in ten as well.
Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 19 points followed by Khris Middleton with 18 and Eric Bledsoe with 14. D.J. Wilson led the charge off the bench with 16 points.
With the win, the Bucks improve to 37-13 and locked in the best record in the Eastern Conference (through February 3). That means head coach Mike Budenholzer will be coaching the Eastern Conference team for the All-Star game.
The Bucks will be off Friday night but will face the Washington Wizards Saturday night.
With the loss, Toronto’s record drops to 37-16,1.5-games behind the Bucks for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. They will get a couple nights off before taking on the Clippers at home Sunday afternoon.