Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Records: Raptors (12-15), Bucks (16-11)
Where to Watch
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 16
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: Sportsnet (Canada), Fox Sports Wisconsin or NBA League Pass (USA)
Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
After dropping two in a row, it gets no easier for the Toronto Raptors, who travel to Fiserv Forum for a back-to-back with the Milwaukee Bucks, owners of the East's second-best record.
Toronto looks to get back on track after a disappointing loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday that resulted in Kyle Lowry admitting he feels the team is giving away too many games while Fred VanVleet added that there is a high level of frustration among the team brought on by its inconsistency on the defensive end.
LAST TIME OUT: Raptors rally falls short vs. Wolves
Just two days after conceding 52.4 percent shooting to the Wolves, the Raptors are tasked with facing the Bucks, who boast the league's most efficient offence.
Of course, it all begins with reigning back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounpmo, who is averaging 28.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists through his first 26 games in 2020-21. As OG Anunoby is listed as doubtful for Tuesday night's meeting, Pascal Siakam and Stanley Johnson could assume most of the one-on-one responsibilities to match up with Giannis.
Such was the case in the first meeting between Milwaukee and Toronto, where Siakam guarded Antetokounmpo for over 17 partial possessions (per NBA.com Stats), a period in which he scored just five of his 24 points on the night.
Since there's no true stopping Antetokounmpo, it will be a team effort for the Raptors to make life a little more difficult for the MVP. He's not the team's only All-Star, either, as Khris Middleton provides a set of unique challenges as well. This season, Middleton is almost quietly averaging 20.7 points, 6.0 assists and 5.8 rebounds on .510/.444/.900 shooting splits.
Khris Middleton is one of only six players league wide averaging 20 PTS, 6 REB and 6 AST this season.- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 13, 2021
The other 5 are: LeBron, Jokic, Harden, Luka, and Randle. pic.twitter.com/CD1VImkO0F
Toronto's defence will have its hands full.
There will also be a sense of desperation for the Bucks, who, after dropping three games in a row, return to Milwaukee for the first of eight consecutive games at home.
The Bucks have been without offseason acquisition Jrue Holiday since Feb. 8 due to the league's health and safety protocols and he will again be out on Tuesday night when the team hosts the Raptors. Milwaukee earned a win in its first game without Holiday before the current losing streak began.
Starting in Holiday's absence is fifth-year guard Bryn Forbes, who is shooting a red-hot 46.6% (on 4.3 attempts per game) so far this season. In the first meeting between these two teams, Forbes went 3-for-6 from beyond the arc to finish with 11 points off the bench.
Replacements could be an X-Factor, as Norman Powell has historically done well against the Bucks. On Jan. 27, Powell finished with a game-high 26 points on an efficient 8-for-13 shooting night. Keep an eye out on the performance of Powell as well as the battle of reserve big men in Chris Boucher and Bobby Portis, who scored 21 points (on 9-for-14 shooting) in Milwaukee's most recent outing.
As of the NBA's Official Injury Report on Monday, Feb. 15 at 8:30 p.m.
OG Anunoby (Left calf strain) - Doubtful
Malachi Flynn (G League assignment) - Out
Jalen Harris (G League assignment) - Out
Patrick McCaw (Left knee rehab) - Out
Yuta Watanabe (Left ankle sprain) - Out
Mamadi Diakite (G League assignment) - Out
Jrue Holiday (Health and safety protocols) - Out
Sam Merrill (G League assignment) - Out
Jordan Nwora (Left ankle sprain) - Out
- Milwaukee's offensive rating of 118.8 ranks first in the NBA while Toronto's offensive rating of 113.4 comes in at eighth.
- The Raptors rank second in the NBA averaging 20.5 points off turnovers and are tied for third in fast-break points per game (15.6).
- This is Toronto's fourth 'series' of the season where a team scheduled to play two consecutive games in one market. The Raptors are 4-2 in 'series' games, which includes a two-game sweep over the Charlotte Hornets (home) and splits with both the Miami Heat (home) and Indiana Pacers (away).
- This is Milwaukee's fourth 'series' of the season. The Bucks are 5-1 in 'series' games, including a split with the Miami Heat (away) and sweeps over the Detroit Pistons (home) and Cleveland Cavaliers (away).
- Bucks guard D.J. Augustin appeared in 10 games with the Toronto Raptors in the 2013-14 season.
- Milwaukee has won seven of its last nine regular-season games over Toronto and would clinch its third consecutive season series victory with a win on Tuesday or Thursday.
Raptors vs. Bucks: Betting odds, spread, over/under
Spread: Raptors +5.5 (-110), Bucks -5.5 (-110)
Raptors Money line: +190
Bucks Money line: -220
Over/under: 235.0 (-110)
*Odds courtesy of William Hill Sports Book
Last Time They Played
Date: Jan. 27, 2021
Score: Bucks 115, Raptors 108
Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo - 24 points (8-14 FG), 18 rebounds, 9 assists
Raptors: Norman Powell - 26 points (8-13 FG), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
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