For the second time this season, the Raptors will be nationally televised (in the US; they’re always nationally televised here). For the second time, it will be against the Bucks. For the second time, Americans will be baffled by this Raptors roster.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Serge Ibaka, and Khris Middleton are all out tonight, but that probably won’t stop Nick Nurse from throwing out funky schemes at Milwaukee. With no Giannis to guard, will O.G. Anunoby focus his defensive attention on Jrue Holiday? Without Giannis’ drives, will the Raptors stay home on Milwaukee’s shooters instead of doubling on any dribble penetration? Without Giannis’ length, will Toronto send an extra body to crash the offensive glass?
Since hoisting the Larry OB in 2019, Antetokounmpo has
ducked the Raptors missed 3 games against Toronto. All three were in different cities — Milwaukee, Toronto, and Orlando — and all three games ended with a Raptors victory.
Both teams will be playing the second game of a back-to-back. While the Bucks hosted the Pacers and don’t have to worry about traveling, they also enter this matchup with fewer healthy bodies. Short-handed or not, Mike Budenholzer can still pile on the minutes since the Bucks don’t play again until Saturday.
The Raptors are healthier but had to travel from New York overnight after playing into overtime against the Knicks. Anunoby was 15 seconds of playing time shy of joining the other four starters in playing at least 40 minutes.
Gary Trent Jr. has been in the headlines recently but not in a positive way — depending on how you view him as trade bait. He should be motivated to perform well tonight, not only because of his torrid pace of late (22.3 points and 3.3 threes on 39.8% shooting from beyond the arc over the last 10 games)....but because tomorrow’s his 22nd birthday!
Where to watch:
Sportsnet One & TNT, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto Raptors — Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., O.G. Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes
Milwaukee Bucks — Jrue Holiday, Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, Bobby Portis, Brook Lopez
Toronto Raptors — Dalano Banton (Right hip pointer – OUT), Otto Porter Jr. (Dislocated toe – OUT)
Milwaukee Bucks — Giannis Antetokounmpo (Left knee soreness – OUT), Serge Ibaka (Personal – OUT), Khris Middleton (Right knee soreness – OUT)