The Toronto Raptors host the Milwaukee Bucks looking to establish their dominant form against the NBA’s best team.
This might just be a normal regular season game for some but the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks will probably treat this game as a measuring stick considering the position they are in.
Since meeting in the Eastern Conference final last year, neither team has taken a step back as they sit atop the East. To say this is the most anticipated game to date isn’t that far off because the Raptors want to show that they are still capable of getting back to the NBA Finals.
“I don’t look back at it,” Pascal Siakam told reporters about whether he thinks about last season. “That was last year. I don’t care [about it]. We have a new team and we focus on this year. Last year is over. They have the same team but we have a whole different team and we have different roles. I don’t look at that, to be honest.”
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That right there is the type of approach you want to see from the players considering many will probably give the Bucks the advantage going into this game. Ironically enough, Milwaukee is carrying the label the Raptors have for years as a good regular season team that hasn’t found success in the post-season.
Tuesday’s game won’t do anything to change that considering we have seen time and time again how the playoffs bring out something different in teams. It helps though that the Bucks hold a sizeable lead in the East despite the Raptors winning 17 of their last 18.
“I watch them play and they win every game by 20 points and I don’t know what to make of it other than nobody can even come close to them,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. “When I do watch them it’s boring. They’re really, really good and the games are over by halftime most of the time.”
Toronto could easily have a letdown performance too considering Marc Gasol is still out of the lineup and the Indiana Pacers didn’t exactly give the Raptors a tough enough test to get them ready for this game.
Despite allowing the Washington Wizards to score 41 points in the fourth quarter, Milwaukee was able to maintain their composure and push through with a 137-134 victory. Of course, that plays into the Raptors’ hands knowing that the Bucks went the distance against a lesser opponent.
Obviously, the Raptors can’t underestimate their opponent in any way considering they lost to them earlier this season 115-105 with Giannis Antetokounmpo putting up 36 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. It was a game he came in with extra motivation and even though the Raptors almost overcame a 26-point deficit.
Siakam is going to have to do better than the 16 points in 32 minutes that he had in their first meeting especially from three-point range where he went 2-for-6. The coaching staff has even made it a point to put him in big situations so that will be something to watch in this game.
It will be interesting to see what the second edition of this matchup has in store.
Who do you think will win between the Raptors and Bucks? Can Toronto make a statement or is the NBA’s best team going to be too much for them to handle?