The Milwaukee Bucks have lost form in the past week and are currently on a three-game losing streak ahead of their meeting with the Toronto Raptors at the Fiserv Forum. The Bucks have been unlucky with injuries and have struggled defensively. Offseason acquisition Jrue Holiday continues to sit out for Milwaukee, and the likes of Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo will be looking to step up and help the Bucks post their first victory in four NBA games.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors have lost their last two matches and now enter a double-header against NBA title hopefuls Milwaukee Bucks. The Raptors have suffered multiple injuries as well and are currently missing the likes of OG Anunoby and Yuta Watanabe.
The former’s absence has been difficult for the Toronto Raptors to cope with defensively. They will be looking to the likes of Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet and NBA Sixth Man of the Year contender Chris Boucher to take up offensive responsibility.
The Milwaukee Bucks have lethal offensive players and the Toronto Raptors will need more aggression on the defensive side of the floor to pull off a victory. We look at the three key matchups that could end up deciding the match.
Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks: Key matchups to look out for
#1 Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Pascal Siakam
In Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks have a bonafide MVP contender who can win matches for his team single-handedly. Giannis is currently producing 28 points and 11.5 rebounds, and has been excellent on the other end of the court as well, with 1.1 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.
On the other hand, Pascal Siakam is also an able defender who has emerged as the Toronto Raptors’ highest scorer in the 2020-21 NBA season so far. He is averaging 20.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, and has been instrumental in the Toronto Raptors’ resurgence this season after a horrid start.
Siakam will be given the assignment of guarding reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and will look to use his length to make things difficult for the Greek star.
#2 Donte DiVincenzo vs Kyle Lowry
Kyle Lowry has also made a big difference in the Toronto Raptors’ recent good run, although their back-to-back losses are another hiccup they need to recover from. Lowry has produced 17.7 points, 6.5 assists and 5.4 rebounds, while also leading from the front on defense.
Donte DiVincenzo will have a task on his hands if the Milwaukee Bucks are to break their run of three straight losses. The absence of Jrue Holiday means DiVincenzo will have to take up extra responsibility against a dangerous Toronto Raptors side who have not played to their full potential this season.
#3 Khris Middleton vs Fred VanVleet
Fred VanVleet has been crucial to the Toronto Raptors’ season, especially after they struggled to put up points on the board in the first month of the campaign.
In the absence of Kyle Lowry, VanVleet emerged as the main ball handler for the Raptors and will be happy to share the offensive load with the recent return of multiple key players.
Meanwhile, Khris Middleton is producing All-Star numbers for the Milwaukee Bucks yet again, with 20.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6 assists per game. He is shooting the three-ball at 44% and will be crucial to the Bucks’ potential title charge.
Published 15 Feb 2021, 21:29 IST