Records: Raptors (28-12); Bucks (27-10)
Where to Watch
Date: Saturday, Jan. 5
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
The Raptors and Bucks have held the top two spots in the Eastern Conference for the majority of the 2018-19 season.
Toronto has been on a bit of a skid trying to battle through injuries of key rotation players while Milwaukee has won five straight games and nine of their last 10. The Raptors suffered a tough loss at the hands of DeMar DeRozan and the Spurs on Thursday, while the Bucks will be on the second-half of a back-to-back after tying a season-high 144 points in a win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.
The Bucks have consistently been one of the best teams on both sides of the floor all season. They boast the league’s best offensive rating of 113.4 and rank third in the NBA with a defensive rating of 103.9. They’re the only team in the top-five in both of those categories, good for a league-best net rating of 9.6. They also dominate teams on the glass averaging an NBA-leading 49.8 rebounds per game.
While MVP-candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo runs the show posting 26.0 points, 12.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game, it’s been a total team effort with help from guys like Khris Middleton (17.9 ppg), Eric Bledsoe (15.4 ppg), Malcolm Brogdon (15.3 ppg) and Brook Lopez (12.5 ppg).
As for the Raptors, injuries have slowed their extremely successful start to the season. Kyle Lowry has missed the eight of the last nine games with a back injury and is currently listed as doubtful for tonight’s game. They’ve also been without Jonas Valanciunas for the past 10 games and he is expected to miss another 3-4 weeks per Blake Murphy of The Athletic.
Kawhi Leonard has done his part to try and hold things together while the team around him gets healthy, though he needs a bit more help from the Raptors’ role players. Over the last 10 games, Toronto’s assist numbers are down and their shooting below their season average from the field and 3-point range, resulting in a lower points per game average.
They dropped their first two games against the Bucks with two disappointing performances. Both teams were without their superstar forwards in the first contest, but Lowry disappeared in the second contest scoring zero points in 33 minutes of playing time. This is the third of four matchups this season with the final game coming at the end of January.
• The Bucks have won five games in a row and nine of their last 10
• The Raptors are an even 8-8 over their last 16 games
• Lowry is listed as doubtful for tonight’s contest – he and Leonard have not shared the floor since Dec. 3 (15 games ago)
• The Raptors are 1-6 in their last seven road games, the Bucks have the best home record in the NBA (18-3)
• Milwaukee has not owned the best record this late in the season since the 1981-82 season
Last Time They Played
Date: Dec. 9, 2018
Score: Bucks 104, Raptors 99
Raptors: Serge Ibaka – 22 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals, two blocks
Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 19 points, 19 rebounds, six assists, one block