The Milwaukee Bucks swept back-to-back games at the Fiserv Forum to start the week by defeating the Toronto Raptors, 130-122, on Tuesday night. Milwaukee improved to 29-16 after wins over Indiana and Toronto. The Raptors are down to 20-25.
Here are some points from the game:
Jrue Holiday takes charge to edge out Fred VanVleet, Raptors
After a night of scoring a season-high 35 points against Indiana, Jrue Holiday elevated his offensive game against Toronto with 37 points.
With Giannis Antetokounmpo out of the lineup for the last four games, Holiday averaged 27.3 points and 9.8 assists, and it really looks like he’s in the midst of his first truly healthy period of the season.
square score: Bucks 130, Raptors 122
While he concedes that without Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton on the field, he’s more dominant on the ball, his three-point shooting (25-for-55, 45%) since returning from an illness spell on January 3 shows that while he dictates pace and tries to reach To the defense teeth, he also found a rhythm from the depths.
That continued on Tuesday when he hit his first three 3-pointers and made 4-of-5 in a 24-point first inning where he was also 6-for-7 in the drawn area.
He did so after catching his first two fouls of the game at the first minute and 46 seconds and then the third and fourth fouls within 25 seconds of each other at the halfway point of the third.
From that point on, Holiday appeared to be energetic and unrestrained from being aggressive on either end, throwing his body at Toronto defenders to get to his paint spots and then cause havoc on defense.
Holiday was assisted by two of Brook Lopez’s three-pointers, worked his layup, then set up the three Grayson Allen touchdowns with an acrobatic steal from Fred Vanvleet that saw Holiday tip the ball to himself, then leap into the air to throw it off a stunned Vanvleet and into the arms of Allen.
It was a 14-6 stretch of the Bucks that saw them break the tie 82-82 and lead 96-88 late in the third quarter.
Holiday then edged VanVleet down the stretch, which included two key baskets to hold the Raptors at arm’s length and a VanVleet blocked shot with 1:06 to go in the game with the Bucks taking a 126-119 lead.
Vanfleet finished with 39 points, nine rebounds and seven assists and brought his team within one point with less than seven minutes left in the game.
Brook Lopez fired
At 6:40 of the fourth quarter, Lopez was ejected after assessing two technical fouls for two opposing tackles after a basket by Holiday. He was handcuffed with Gary Trent, and as Trent had his arms tied around Lopez, Lopez pulled off Trent’s headband. That spilled onto the baseline in front of the Raptors’ bench, where Lopez then heated up with OG Anunoby.
After both sides parted ways, Lopez was sent to the bathrooms after scoring 19 points in 29 minutes. Technical fouls were also assessed to Anunobi and Raptors assistant Jamal Magliore.
Lopez rediscovered the three-point touch
The Bucks center went through nine games from December 21 to January. 6 that has him attempting 3.1 three-pointers per game and hitting just 32.1% of them. And while he averaged 14.1 points per game in that span, it was a significant dip in his three-point production from a solid start to the year in which he averaged 5.4 points per game and scored 39.5% over his first 29 games. But since Jan. 9 in New York, not only has Lopez set more triples again, he’s also been on fire.
After a 3-for-5 effort from deep against the Raptors before being dismissed, Lopez became 18-for-37, accounting for a 48.6% clip at 6.2 tries per game. He also averaged 15.7 points per game over the last six games.
consecutive defensive struggles in the first half
Indiana picked up the pace on Monday, scoring 76 points behind 25 from guard TJ McConnell. Toronto followed on Tuesday with a 74-point effort behind the backcourt of Fanfleet (22) and Gary Trent (21). The pair combined to go 6-for-11 from behind the three-point line and 16-for-25 (64%) overall.
Toronto scored 12 points on eight Bucks turnovers in the half. Toronto came in first in forcing opponent turnover at 17.0 per game.
4-1 The Bucks scored at the back-to-back end.
6-4 Bucks scored when Antetokounmpo is not playing.
18 Home win over the Bucks, the second most in the Eastern Conference after the Cleveland 19.
80 Cent on three point shooting for the Bucks in the first quarter, as they went 8-for-10 from outside the arc to take a 44-34 lead. Holiday was 3 for 3 and Ingles was 2 for 2. They finished the night 19-for-39 (48.7%). Grayson Allen was 4-for-5 from depth tying a season-high with 25 points. Joe Engels shot three times off the bench for 15 points and Connaughton was knocked down three times.
2019-20 Last season, the Bucks won a season series against Toronto. The Bucks won the first of three games between the two teams on January 4, in overtime.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss the fourth match in a row due to soreness in his left knee
Late Monday afternoon, Bucks head coach Mike Bodenholzer wasn’t sure if Antetokounmpo would miss Tuesday night’s game — which would give him nine days between his last game on Jan. 11 in Atlanta and a potential return on Saturday in Cleveland.
By Tuesday afternoon, Antetokounmpo had already been ruled out of the Raptors’ game, the fourth in a row he’s missed due to soreness in his left knee. It’s the longest amount of games the 28-year-old has missed this season. He missed two consecutive games and recovered six days from November 8-13.
But he’s had warm-ups on the Fiserv forum each of the past two days.
“He’s doing a lot of work in the weight room, he’s doing some work in the court, he’s doing some warm-ups, all of those things are part of preserving his knee, preserving everything where he can play at a high level,” Budenholzer said. “I know it’s game three or four now and that’s not what you want, but in our eyes we’re still cheering and very hopeful he’s in a good place. We’re just working through another season with him.”
Antetokounmo missed five matches from December 15-23, 2021, while on health and safety protocol and six matches from April 3-14, 2021 with a sprained left knee.
In an eight-game period from December 19 to January. 4, Antetokounmpo played 37.6 minutes per game and averaged 39.1 points, 14.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists, a personal history stretch that saw him record 55 points on January 3, after 40 consecutive points and 20 rebounding games and a 30-21-10 triple-double record.
But starting January 6 against Charlotte, his offensive production has dropped dramatically. He averaged just 17 points on 36% shooting, including two single-digit scoring efforts. He was 3-for-10 in Atlanta on January 11 before being shut out on January 12.
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Playing the game is stealing Jrue Holiday acrobatics
Holiday imposed his will at both ends of the field, but of all his impressive individual plays, from a three-step back to a slick footwork in the paint, none was better than stealing an acrobatic pass by VanVleet. Not only did Holiday deflect the ball onto himself, but he saved it from VanVleet into the waiting hands of Allen, who promptly went down and drained a three-pointer.
The game video is a poster of Bobby Portis
Bucks big man Bobby Portis put it up with authority between Raptors fullbacks Scotty Barnes and Anunobi, which would have been a highlight in its own right, but was also just Portis’ 13th dunk of the season.
Dollar injury report
- Antetokounmpo (left knee ache), out
- Middleton (right knee ache), out
Middleton trained with the Wisconsin Herd on Tuesday afternoon. This is his third practice in the past week.
“It went well,” Budenholzer said. “The more five-on-five he gets, the better. He keeps pushing that envelope when he can, so, he’s not easy to find in a season but it’s good for him to have that.”
- Serge Ibaka (personal), out
Who does Pax play next?
The Bucks get a few days off before heading to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers at 6:30 PM on Saturday. This will be the fourth and final contest between the Central Division rivals, and the Bucks have a chance to win the season series and tiebreaker with a victory. But, Cleveland won the last game on December 21 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse behind Donovan Mitchell’s 36 points.