Game Preview: Raptors at Bucks
Toronto Raptors (26-10) @ Milwaukee Bucks (20-16)
When: Friday, January 5, 8 P.M. ET
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center
Broadcast info: TSN2, SN590
The Raptors last saw the Bucks on Monday, in Toronto, in a thrilling 131-127 OT victory. DeMar DeRozan led the way, setting the franchise-record for points in a game with 52 to give the Raptors its 12th consecutive win at home. He scored 21 points in the first quarter and sealed the game — and his career-high — with free throws in the final seconds. Kyle Lowry scored 26 points, combining with DeRozan for 10 made three-pointers. Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee in the loss with 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists while Eric Bledsoe scored 29 points, including 11 of Milwaukee's 13 points in overtime.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: Toronto's injury report is clear. For Milwaukee, Jabari Parker (post-surgery, left knee), and Mirza Teletovic (pulmonary emboli) will be out.
Wright way: Delon Wright played the best game of his career in Toronto's 124-115 road win in Chicago. Wright came off the bench to score a career-high 25 points to go with a career-high 13 rebounds, while also dishing five assists, grabbing four steals and recording one blocked shot. He shot 10-for-15 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc and the Raptors were a +28 when Wright was on the court.
Bucks bounce back: The Bucks come into Friday's game following a 122-101 victory agains the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, a solid bounce back from their overtime loss in Toronto. Giannis Antetokounmpo had another monster game, finishing with 31 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal. He shot 12-for-18 from the floor and played just 29 minutes, proving once again how good he already is at just 23 years old.
Bench mob: Wright's stellar game was the latest example of a Raptors reserve player coming up big when needed. In Wednesday's victory, the score was tied at 90 after three quarters. With a bench lineup starting the fourth, Toronto quickly pulled away, outscoring Chicago 34-25 in the final quarter. The Raptors bench outscored Bulls reserves 54-39, showing once again why the coaching staff and starters have so much confidence in them.
DeRozan from downtown: Another game, another slew of three-pointers from DeMar DeRozan. One game after scoring a career and franchise-high 52 points against the Bucks, DeMar DeRozan scored 35 points against the Bulls, 18 coming in the third quarter. DeRozan finished with another five three-pointers in Wednesday's game, shooting 5-for-8 from beyond the arc. This brings his season totals to 42 three-pointers (already nine more than all of last season), on 37 percent shooting. In his last eight games, DeRozan is shooting 54 percent from three.
Getting to the line: In addition to his recent hot shooting from deep, DeMar DeRozan has also been getting to the line. After going a perfect 13-for-13 from the line in Monday's victory against the Bucks, he went 13-for-13 from the line again on Wednesday against the Bulls. DeRozan is averaging 8.0 free throw attempts per game, fourth in the league behind Joel Embiid (8.3), Giannis Antetokounmpo (9.1) and James Harden (10.5).