Game Preview: Raptors vs Bucks
Toronto Raptors (28-12) @ Milwaukee Bucks (27-10)
When: Saturday, January 5th, 8:30 P.M. ET
Where: Fiserv Forum
Leading into tonight’s game:
- Injury Report: For the Raptors, Jonas Valanciunas is out with a dislocated left thumb. The status of Kyle Lowry (lower back pain) is to be determined. For the Bucks, the injury list is to be determined.
- Bounce back: Toronto is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 125-107 road loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, but it won’t be easy. The Milwaukee Bucks have won nine of their last 10 games, currently own the best record in the league at 27-10 and have taken over the top spot in the Eastern Conference that the Raptors had held since the season began. Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 26.3 points, 12.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.6 books and 1.3 steals per game on 59 percent shooting. He is also averaging nine trips to the free-throw line a night.
- Recent history: This will be the third meeting between the Raptors and Bucks this season. Milwaukee has won both, most recently a 104-99 decision at Scotiabank Arena on Dec. 9. Serge Ibaka led the Raptors with 22 points while Kawhi Leonard scored 20, but Malcolm Brogdon hit a pair of three-pointers in the final 1:07 minutes of the game, the first tied the game while the second was the go-ahead three for Milwaukee.
- 15 straight: Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points in Thursday’s loss, continuing his career-best stretch of 15 consecutive games scoring at least 20 points. Leonard is averaging 30.1 points on 52 percent shooting over this span. On the season, he is averaging 27.1 points and 8.0 rebounds (leading the team in both categories) I 34.8 minutes per game. He has also topped the 30-point threshold 11 times this season.
- Injured list: Though the status of Kyle Lowry for Saturday’s game is to be determined, the Toronto point guard has missed nine of the team’s last 10 games, including Thursday’s loss in San Antonio. Saturday in Milwaukee will be the team’s 41st game, marking the official halfway point of the regular season. Lowry and Leonard have appeared in just 21 of those 41 games together as injury woes have hit the team and lineups have had to be shuffled. The last time Toronto had Leonard and Lowry on the floor together was Dec, 9, against this Bucks team.
- Back-to-back: Saturday’s contest is the first in a back-to-back for the Raptors, who will return to Toronto after the game to take on the Indiana Pacers on Sunday at 7:30 P.M. The Pacers game will kick off a three-game homestand for Toronto with games against the Pacers, Hawks and Nets. Saturday's game will be a back-to-back for the Bucks, who defeated the Atlanta Hawks 144-112 on Friday.