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Bucks Buck the Raptors 101-94

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The Toronto Raptors dropped the second game of their weekend back-to-back as DeMar DeRozan was uncharacteristically invisible.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

After a big win against the Washington Wizards on Friday night, the Toronto Raptors dropped the second game of a back-to-back set by losing to the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night by a score of 101-94.

DeMar DeRozan had one of his worst games of the season, scoring only 11 points on 5-for-13 shooting from the floor and a season-low one free throw attempt on the evening. He’s been carrying the team with Kyle Lowry out of the lineup, but he just looked gassed out there tonight.

With that, the Bucks snap a seven-game losing streak to the Raptors and move within a game and a half of the Detroit Pistons for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors, meanwhile, move a half-game back of Washington and are now alone in fourth.

The Raps got their frontcourt involved early in the first quarter, with Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka combining to score the team’s first 14 points. JV finished the frame with nine points and five boards, briefly reminding us all why his recent dip in minutes doesn’t mean we should give up on him entirely. The magic soon faded, however, as he did little else after that first quarter, finishing the game with 13 and 7 in 21 minutes.

The Raptors outscored the Bucks 19-12 in that relatively ugly opening frame, holding Milwaukee to 18.2% shooting from the floor (4-for-22), including 0-for-8 from long range. The 12 points was both the fewest scored by the Bucks and fewest allowed by the Raptors in a single frame this season. And that’s more or less where the positives for this one ended.

The Bucks woke the heck up in the second quarter, storming back and taking their first lead of the game (24-23) just four minutes into the period. Milwaukee went on to destroy the Raptors 41-23 in the frame (shooting a much-improved 18-for-25) and took a 53-42 lead into halftime.

Talk about a tale of two quarters:

DeMar DeRozan, who has been an absolute beast lately, didn’t even take his first field goal attempt of the game until six minutes into the second quarter. He went into halftime with only five points on 2-for-6 shooting.

Spencer Hawes, meanwhile, channeled his inner Wilt Chamberlain in the first half, scoring 14 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field (2-for-2 from three) and grabbing five rebounds before halftime. He finished with a solid 16 and 8 off the bench.

At the beginning of the third quarter, the Raptors got a scare when DeMarre Carroll hit the floor and started clutching his left ankle. He went to the locker room immediately after and was quickly diagnosed with a sprain and ruled out for the rest of the game.

Get well soon, DeMarre.

The two teams played fairly evenly in the third quarter, with the Bucks getting the 27-25 edge. The Raptors went into the fourth facing a 13-point deficit, vying to add to their league-leading total of 16 double-digit comeback victories.

The Raps started the fourth and final frame on a 15-6 run, but Giannis Antetokounmpo hit back-to-back shots on Serge Ibaka and squashed Toronto’s comeback bid. The Raptors ultimately won the frame 27-21, but the Bucks won the game 101-94. For every promising step forward that the Raptors took in the quarter, they took two back with defensive breakdowns and flat offensive possessions.

Serge Ibaka continued his excellent play of late, posting a team-high 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field, 2-for-2 from deep, and 3-for-3 from the line, to go with five boards and two blocks, while Cory Joseph chipped in 14 points, five rebounds, and eight assists. Apart from Norman Powell’s 12 points off the bench, there wasn’t much else to talk about from the Raptors.

On the other side of the floor, Khris Middleton led all scorers with 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting, while Giannis Antetokounmpo put up 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting, to go with 10 rebounds, four assists, and a block.

With the loss, the Raps move to 37-26 on the season, 4-2 since the All-Star break, and 1-1 on this five-game road trip.

They now get a three-day break before continuing their road trip against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.

What were your takeaways from this one?