The last time the Toronto Raptors had a 20+ point comeback victory, they followed that up with a statement victory over an MVP candidate. Could history repeat itself one week later?
Last Sunday, Toronto was able to overcome a 22-point deficit in San Antonio and come away with an improbable overtime victory. The Raptors rode that momentum to a convincing win in Dallas a few nights later.
On Monday, they increased the level of difficulty by overcoming a 23-point deficit to the visiting Washington Wizards, capped by a mind-boggling 21-1 run to end the game. With Giannis Antetokounmpo coming to town, you’d think Toronto would be licking their chops at facing a Milwaukee Bucks squad they thrashed (wire-to-wire) just two weeks ago. But that was achieved with DPOY candidate, OG Anunoby in the lineup to terrorize Giannis. An unfortunate accident that involved a knife and an unknown household chore is likely keeping Toronto’s Giannis Stopper out of the lineup. Is Scottie Barnes up to the challenge?
How to Watch:
TSN at 7:30 p.m. ET
Toronto: Dennis Schroder, Pascal Siakam, O.G. Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl
Milwaukee: Damian Lillard, Malik Beasley, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez
Toronto: Christian Koloko (respiratory; out), OG Anunoby (chores; doubtful), Gary Trent Jr. (foot; doubtful)
Milwaukee: Jae Crowder (groin; out), Chris Livingston (ankle, out)
Is it Freak (out) Time?
In his introductory press conference, Lillard was asked about the nickname, “Freak Time”, for his new partnership with Antetokounmpo. “I’m definitely not invested in that at all.” We all chuckled after that exchange but little did we know that Lillard thought that was a reference to playing defense! (That’s neither true nor a good joke, but I stand by it.)
With 6 wins over their first 10 games, there really should be no reason to panic, but the Bucks have shown some significant holes that could prevent them from returning to the NBA Finals. Milwaukee’s defense — or lack thereof — has taken a significant step back this season. Whether it’s the loss of Jrue Holiday, the usage of Lillard and Beasley in the starting lineup, or one of the oldest teams in the league starting to show their....ummm...age, the Bucks’ window may be closing quicker than it was to open it!
Crowding without Crowder
Milwaukee was dealt a big blow with the loss of Jae Crowder, who will miss the next 8 weeks as he gets surgery on his groin. The 12-year veteran won’t like the thought of sitting but the injury sustained during Saturday’s loss to Orlando was deemed to be a left adductor and abdominal tear.
While all the attention has been on Milwaukee’s dynamic duo, Crowder has been quietly keeping the team afloat. He’s been the Bucks’ most efficient long-range shooter (1.8 threes per game on 51.6% 3-pt FG%). Jae’s greatest impact, though, may be on the defensive end, where he’s been captaining Adrian Griffin’s new principles. Marjon Beauchamp has been lying in the weeds, waiting for his chance to shine and, eventually, become a mainstay in the starting lineup. Crowder’s absence gives him an opportunity to prove his worth.
Pass of the Year?
Sometimes your best defensive efforts cannot prevent offensive brilliance.