The Raptors are reeling after two straight losses, with their most recent outing against the league-worst Timberwolves steeped in disappointment. There’s no time to fret, though (is there any rest time at all in 2020-21?) as the next four of five games for the Raptors come against the Bucks and Sixers — two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
That starts tonight in Milwaukee, as Toronto will try to exact some revenge for a late January 115-108 loss to the Bucks. The home side will be without Jrue Holiday, who will sit out while in health and safety protocols — but this Bucks roster boasts a lot of depth and will be thirsty for a win, having lost three straight coming in.
The Raptors will be getting some help on their side of the injury report. After ten games sitting out with a calf injury, OG Anunoby makes his triumphant return tonight and will start. It’s a bit of a surprise considering the day: Anunoby was designated as doubtful this morning, and then a game-time decision earlier in the afternoon.
The surprises don’t stop there! Nick Nurse is finally ditching the centre and going small after weeks of teasing it. Aron Baynes will ride the pine to start the game, as Norman Powell retains his spot with the starters.
Raptors go small with Siakam at C, Anunoby and Powell the other forwards.
— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) February 17, 2021
The Raptors bench, meanwhile, will still be without Yuta Watanabe (ankle) and Patrick McCaw (knee).
Personnel surprises aside, the Raptors have to figure something out on the defensive end. Over the last ten games, Toronto has dropped into a bottom eight defense in the Association by rating, and have struggled to stop various sharpshooters in that span. Raptors’ opponents have shot 40% from three in the last ten games, making them one of just six teams to give up distance shots at that efficient a clip. Anunoby’s presence should help, at least a bit.
For more on tonight’s game, check out this morning’s preview by Zakaria Abdulle. Here are the game details.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet, 8 PM ET
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam
Milwaukee — Donte DiVincenzo, Bryn Forbes, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez
Toronto — Yuta Watanabe (out – ankle), Patrick McCaw (out – knee)
Milwaukee — Jrue Holiday (out – health and safety protocols), Jordan Nwora (out – ankle)