Just before the traditional “Martin Luther King Day”, the Raptors showed that they were perhaps one of the Bucks’ pet peeves this season, as they beat them for the third time in three confrontations (103- 96).
And the defense of the Canadian franchise, however roughed up at the start of the game, made a strong impression, to gain in intensity over the minutes and finally stifle the defending champions (including Giannis Antetokounmpo, author of 30 points, but at 6/17 to shooting). Particularly clumsy reigning champions, caught in the throat in the racket and long saved by their numerous passages on the free throw line.
With this authoritative success, the players of Toronto, and in particular the excellent Pascal Siakam (30 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists), demonstrate that they should not be taken lightly between now and the end of the campaign, because this team seems clearly armed to play spoilsport in the East…
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
— The glaring awkwardness of Milwaukee. 26/77 on shots, including 12/39 from 3-pointers. That is respectively 34% and 31% success. Unheard of for the defending champions this season, who were suffocated by the Raptors, without ever succeeding in reversing the trend. They had however made a great start (19-4), but the Canadian defense then raised the tone and, with the exception of Grayson Allen, the failures began to follow one another for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Wesley Matthews, George Hill or even Donte DiVincenzo. A Saturday night anything but feverish for frozen Bucks.
— Pascal Siakam’s boss match. Author of the second triple-double of his career, the Cameroonian is undoubtedly playing the best basketball of his life and, tonight, he was not in the lace against the reigning champions. Omnipresent, the new Canadian “point-forward” cut the defense of Milwaukee, from afar (3/3 to 3-points) but also in the paint. If he was certainly somewhat expensive (6 lost balls), the All-Star interior was the providential man of Toronto, distinguishing himself as a bonus in the “money-time”, and despite the faults, with baskets always more “clutch” to knock out the Bucks.
✅ Toronto’s dominance in the racket. Between the Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Precious Achiuwa and other Justin Champagnie, the Raptors were able to rely on a quality interior sector (44 points in the paint, against 24 in front). This has also particularly hurt the Bucks, dominated in the rebound (51 to 41) and who left far too many offensive rebounds to their evening opponents (16, for 20 points scored as a result). And these second chances made the difference, during this meeting poor in skill and long balanced.
✅ Milwaukee’s free throw address. Terribly clumsy to shoot, the Bucks however had the merit of causing a ton of fouls and getting their points on the free throw line. On arrival, they thus finish at 32/35 in the exercise, a magnificent 91.4% success rate (against 11/20, and 55%, opposite)! Failed in the game by OG Anunoby and the Canadian interiors, Giannis Antetokounmpo also took the opportunity to be perfect in this area, with his 17/17 throws. Throws that clearly kept the defending champions in the game, not on a good night.
⛔ Wesley Matthews. Dirty evening for the back of the Bucks, first hit in the collarbone before coming back into play, then never able to find his rhythm in the game, offensively (2/10 on shots, including 1/8 from 3-pointers ). Except that, unlike a Khris Middleton for example, also very clumsy (3/12 on shots), Wes Matthews needs to convert his shots to have a real influence in attack, in addition to his usual defensive involvement. And, tonight, a few award-winning baskets from him could have changed everything for his team. Same thing for his replacement Donte DiVincenzo.
Milwaukee (27-18) : trip to Atlanta, on the night of Monday to Tuesday (00:00).
Toronto (21-19) : trip to Miami, on the night of Monday to Tuesday (01:30).