The Milwaukee Bucks have their first road game of the season
The (2-1) Milwaukee Bucks take on the (1-3) Toronto Raptors in Toronto, Canada Wednesday night. For Milwaukee, this will be a chance for newly minted Head Coach Adrian Griffin to head back to where he coached for 5 years. He was instrumental in helping the Raptors win an NBA title. Toronto won the NBA Championship in the 2018-2019 season.
Vegas has the Bucks as slight favorites -3.0 and a 61% chance to win on the road.
Of course, it’ll be the players who will also help decide the outcome of the game. We can already start to glean some information from these first few games, the most important nugget of Gold is that Damian Lillard is the real deal. Right now he is only averaging 23.3 points per game, close to 8 points off his last season’s scoring average. In one of these games he’ll snap and score over 50! It’ll be awesome!
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Milwaukee Bucks Keys to Victory
Score over 118 points
When the Bucks lost to the Hawks they only scored 110 points. When they beat the 76ers opening night they scored 118. Right now, and it still is early, 118 points scored as a team “feels” like the right number to almost guarantee a Bucks win. (#feels)
Milwaukee, currently as a team, is averaging 116 points on the young season. That puts them at 9th overall in the NBA in scoring.
They are no longer a team reliant on the three. However, they still seem to take plenty of them (37+ a game).
Figure out the Lopez/Giannis combo
Giannis and Lopez last year had pretty clear, defined roles. Brook was the rim protector (this year he only has one total blocked shot against Miami) and Antetokounmpo brought the ball up (Lillard does that now). They just are not yet in sync.
Credit here to Milwaukee Bucks Film room but on their latest podcast they had some good points about who is where and who needs to be there.
Of course the resounding Mantra remains, “it is still early.” But as the Milwaukee Bucks Film Room pointed out, that corner three just is not a good place for Lopez to hang out. Nor does it seem to be a focal point of the offense.
These two stars also need to figure out their rebounding again. Milwaukee is tied for third to last in the NBA in terms of team rebounds.
The Opponent: The Toronto Raptors
Toronto is still a good basketball franchise and team in spite of a slow start. Toronto won their opener and has since dropped three straight.
Scottie Barnes is a good player and leads the team in scoring. Barnes is in his third year and plays a ton. He also leads the team in rebounding.
Pascal Skiam is arguably one of the better players in the NBA no one seems to talk about. He was 19th in the NBA in scoring (24.2 a game) and is a good passer (6.7 assists per game). When he “goes off”, the Raptors tend to win. He hasn’t really had a great game yet, so far, this season.
Point guard Dennis Schroder was added in the offseason from the Lakers. He has taken over from Fred Van Vleet who now plays for Houston.
Rookie Gradey Dick was also added to the roster. Neither he nor Schroder has found their footing either this year.
Gary Trent Jr. is also back with Toronto. Trent is an all-around player, averaging 17.4 points per game and 1.7 steals.
7 ‘0 ” center Jakob Poeltl is also back with the Raptors after coming over from San Antonio in an NBA deadline deal. So far on the year Poeltl is averaging 8 points and 8 rebounds a game.
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- All four teams in the conference finals from the 2020 Bubble returned to the 2023 conference finals
- The career scoring leader for the Toronto Raptors is DeMar DeRozan with 13,296 points. He also leads the franchise in games, minutes played and missed field goals.
- Chris Bosh is the career leader for the Raptors in rebounding.
- The eighth-seeded Heat defeated the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games, marking the sixth instance in NBA history of an 8th-seeded team defeating a 1st-seeded team in the first round, following previous instances in 1994, 1999, 2007, 2011, and 2012.
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