(Milwaukee, WI) The Toronto Raptors fail to reach .500 as they lose 118-111 to the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum Arena, ending their three-game winning streak.
The Raptors fall to 35-37 on the year and 12-23 on the road. They continue to defend the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference, however, remain one game back of the Atlanta Hawks.
The game started with both the Raptors and Bucks shooting 40% from the field, however the momentum picked up as Milwaukee caught fire and shot 5/9 from three-point range. The Bucks went on a 7-0 run until Scottie Barnes hit the first three for the Raps at the 5:25 mark of the first quarter. Toronto went on a 10-4 run behind Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby to hang around and cut the deficit to two. Milwaukee finished the quarter shooting 62% from the field and 58% from three-point range, getting a boost from Joe Ingles, Bobby Portis, and Khris Middleton.
A 13-3 run to start the second quarter propelled the Raptors as they took the lead 51-50. Anunoby hit four of five from the field and VanVleet dished out several assists to end the half with a two-point advantage for the visiting Raptors.
Both teams came out the gate and had sparks of energy after halftime. Giannis Antetokounmpo was perfect from the field and Brook Lopez took advantage of his size in the paint against Toronto’s bigs. The Raptors countered as they went on a 17-9 run; outscoring the Bucks 39-31 to end the third quarter up 95-89.
The energy completely changed in the fourth quarter as it was all Milwaukee. The Raptors shot poorly making only one field goal and Lopez went on an 8-0 run by himself. Toronto showed signs of life with five minutes left in the game, but were unable to close the gap as fatigue took over. The Bucks outscored the Raps 29-16 in the fourth to secure their 51st win on the season, 118-111.
VanVleet led the Raptors with 23 points and 11 assists to earn his eighth double-double of the season. Anunoby continues his hot streak and shooting efficiency, dropping 22 points, and four threes on 8/12 shooting. Jakob Poeltl held his own against Lopez, scoring 20 points, and six rebounds. Gary Trent continues to be the leading man off the bench, finishing with 18 points, and five three pointers. Pascal Siakam had the tough matchup of guarding Antetokounmpo tonight, and finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists, securing his third consecutive double-double. The Raptors fought until the end; however, the Bucks’ energy was unmatched in the fourth quarter.
The Bucks shot 52% from the field and had 16 threes in the game. Antetokounmpo was perfect from the field as he became one of two players to finish with a triple-double on 100% shooting this season. He scored 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. Lopez took advantage of the Raptors poor paint defense and dropped 26 points, and two blocks. Middleton followed suit as he finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, and tied his season high with five threes. The Bucks were in “attack mode” in the fourth quarter, as Lopez single-handedly outscored the Raptors 17-16 to solidify the win.
Barnes exited the game just before the end of the second quarter, reportedly due to a left wrist injury, and didn’t return to the game. Fans can breathe a sigh of relief though, as x-rays were negative on the injury. The team plans to evaluate Barnes when they get back to Toronto and determine if he’ll be ready for Wednesday’s game against the Pacers. This ultimately affected the Raptors during the second half as coach Nick Nurse had to go deeper in his bench rotation and move Trent into the starting lineup.
The Bucks are in “win-now” mode as they have their eyes set on another championship. Although Middleton has been back in the lineup for quite some time, he has not been healthy throughout the entire 2022-2023 season, dealing with lingering soreness in his right knee. The goal for Milwaukee is to stay healthy and be at full strength for the postseason.
With 10 games left in the season, the Raptors look to get back on track and have their eyes set on the seventh and eighth seeds in the Eastern Conference.
The Raptors fly back home to Toronto and prepare for their final homestand of the season. Toronto will take on the Indiana Pacers on March 22 and the Detroit Pistons on March 24.
Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks boxscore click HERE.
Fred VanVleet: 23 PTS 4 REB 11 AST
OG Anunoby: 22 PTS 4 REB 4 3PT
Jakob Poeltl: 20 PTS 6 REB 2 BLK
Giannis Antetokounmpo: 22 PTS 13 REB 10 AST
Brook Lopez: 26 PTS 5 REB 2 AST
Khris Middleton: 20 PTS 8 REB 5 AST