Toronto Raptors lose 2nd loss in a row to the Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks delivered the Toronto Raptors their 2nd straight loss at home on Sunday evening.
The Raptors returned home from an overtime loss to the 10 - 18 Brooklyn Nets on Friday. Although the odds were in favor of the Raptors, the determination of D’Angelo Russell, DeMarre Carrol and cast lead them to close out in OT. Now Sunday’s game was a completely different narrative. The Bucks are one of the top contenders currently to lead the Eastern conference in wins. Their stature along with their ability to hit big shots behind the arc has made them a powerful contender in the league.
Throughout this matchup the game was fairly close. Serge Ibaka was phenomenal as he scored 22 points along with 6 assists. When reviewing the stat sheet the numbers were pretty even. The Bucks outscored the Raptors in the paint and fouled less. It should also be noted that all 5 of the bucks starting lineup were productive unlike Raptors front man Kyle Lowry who was scoreless throughout all 38 minutes of playing time. Although Lowry has been morphing into more of a role player for the Raptors, he’s only contributed 15 points in his last 4 games.
This is of concern for several reasons. Lowry, the starting point guard is supposed to play a pivotal role at looking for the open shooter and creating great shot opportunities while still contributing offensively. It seems as though he’s in some sort of a rut and can’t make his shots. Could this possibly be due to his interview ESPN’s Rachel Nicols and his comments about Raptots GM Masai Ujiri? Or maybe Kyle is having a hard time adjusting to the fact that he’s not necessarily the star of the team with the arrival of Kawhi Leonard. Regardless Raptors Head Coach stated that he would encourage Kyle to continue to take shots because naturally they will eventually start to fall. His contribution to the team is imperative as the Eastern Conference has contenders that have proven to be able to take wins over the Raptors.
Even though Lowry fell short, Raptors Pascal Siakam and Fred Van Vleet combined had 36 points. Van Vleet is starting to get back into his tempo and knock down the shots he needs to help his team off the bench.
As the 4thquarter commences the Raptors trail the Bucks 85 – 77. Cj Miles missed his first shot beyond the arc but came back in transition from coast to coast and finished a smooth layup. The bucks then turnover the ball and Leonard is fouled in transition while taking a layup. Raptors are down 81-85 with 8:47 left in the 4thquarter. At this point in the game the Raptors are still settling for the outside shot when clearly the lane is open to take it the net. Since Milwaukee is playing a big part of their game beyond the arc, the Raptors are attempting to do the same. Defensively the Raptors held their own and are settling in to Nurse’s defensive system. Nurse subs in Lowry for Siakam and right away Lowry creates a great shot opportunity for Danny Green who lands a huge 3. The bucks turnover the ball and the Ibaka scores another 3 followed by another layup. Raptors are down 89-90. Malcolm Brogdon of the bucks finds his way through the key and finishes a tough layup. He finished with a solid 18 points against the Raptors. Van Vleet responds with a huge 3 to take the lead 94 -92 with under 3 minutes remaining. The Scotiabank Arena is on its feet, as the Raptors appear to be taking control of the game. The game is tied after Chris Middleton scores 2 free throws in what appears to be an unnecessary call. Leonard responds with a deep three to put the Raptors in the lead 97 – 94 with only 2 minutes remaining. Leonard not only contributing on offence but also delivering on defense as well forcing a Bucks turnover. A huge pass by Leonard to Lowry beyond the arc but unfortunately the shot doesn’t fall. The Bucks Malcolm Brogdon hits another deep 3 to tie the game with 1:06 left in the 4th. Leonard takes the lead and finds himself under the net but his pass is deflected and turned over to the Bucks. The bucks have a beautiful way of moving the ball and knowing exactly where their teammates are supposed to be; this lead to another 3 by Brogdon. Van Vleet responds with a smooth layup; Raptors are down by 1 with 21 seconds left in regulation. Milwaukee has possession and the Raptors trapped Chris Middleton on the inbound play, which forced the Bucks to take a timeout. Giannis Antetokounmpo responds after the time out with a dunk to lead 102-99. He finished tonight with 19 points and 6 assists. Raptors have possession with only 12.6 seconds left. Leonard attempts a big 3 but it just doesn’t fall; no Raptors were in the paint to possibly get the much-needed rebound. The Bucks are then fouled as a last attempt to save the game but unfortunately both free-throws were good and the Raptors fall once again to the Milwaukee Bucks.