Last night’s Eastern Conference Finals rematch between the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks was much-anticipated, but the first quarter made it seem like it was gonna be a dud of a game. The no-quit Raptors stormed back and made the second half fun, but couldn’t overcome a 26-point hole, falling 115-105.
A few quick thoughts:
I Don’t Know That I’ve Ever Seen a Shot Chart Like This
The Raptors didn’t hit a single two-point field goal in the first quarter.
3-for-18!? That’s no way to win a basketball game. What’s worse — 14 of those 18 shots were open (defender 4-6 feet away) or wide open (6+ feet away), according to NBA.com
Cold nights happen, but that’s ridiculous.
Comebacks Against the Bucks? Kinda Our Thing
There are no moral victories, but, I like that the Raptors fought back and made this one difficult for the Bucks. I’m certain — having sat through (too many of) those nights as a Raptors fan — there was a lot of “here we go again” sphincter-tightening going on in the building.
After all, the Bucks blew leads of 14 and 15 points in Games 5 and 6 of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals to these Raptors (and, you know, a 2-0 series lead). Shaving a 26-point lead all the way down to five at the end of the third, and four with less than two minutes to go... that had to be giving the Bucks and their fans some gut-wrenching deja vu.
The Raptors may have lost this one, but I think it’s safe to say they’re in Milwaukee’s collective head.
These Two Raptors Trends Could Give You Nightmares
Pascal Siakam is averaging 4.5 personal fouls per game. That’s almost double his career average coming into the season (2.4). He’s also committed seven offensive fouls, which is an insanely high number, even through a small-sample size six games.
Meanwhile, the Raptors are averaging 18.3 turnovers per game, which is 24th in the NBA; that’s up from 14.0 per game last year.
This is especially concerning, given that the Raptors start two point guards and are playing them heavy minutes — Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet are 1-2 on the minutes per game leaderboard. This team should be way, way better at taking care of the ball.
It’s still early, obviously, but the Raptors need to turn these two trends around.
But Kyle Lowry is Dreamy
Man, that KLOE third quarter was something else, wasn’t it? That 30-footer, with three minutes to go in the quarter? I think we all echoed Leo Rautins’ “WOWWW” in that moment.
Speaking of “WOW” moments, how about this pass?
Lowry almost single-handedly kept the Raptors in this one, scoring 17 in the frame on 5-of-6 shooting along with three assists.
But those aforementioned high minutes may have caught up to Kyle, as he only took two shots in the fourth, scoring two points and notching only one assist, along with two turnovers.
You Know What, I’m Fine with the Confetti
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still lame to launch confetti after a regular season win. But the Raptors are the defending NBA Champions. They’re getting every team’s best shot, and it means something for Toronto’s opponents when they knock off the Champs. And the Bucks in particular have some demons to exorcise, as mentioned. If they feel like beating the Raptors is so monumental to them that they need to celebrate with confetti... that’s fine.
It’s just another night at the office for Toronto, but beating the Raptors is a big deal for Milwaukee.
4-2 after six games? Probably about where we thought the Raptors would be at this point, no? Leave your thoughts in the comments!