Milwaukee Bucks vs Toronto Raptors: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON, Canada

When: Thursday, January 31st at 8:00 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): TNT, TSN1/4/5, and Fox Sports Wisconsin | Sportsnet 590 The FAN

Milwaukee Bucks (Away)

Head Coach: Mike Budenholzer {All-Time 248-210 | ATL, MIL}

The Milwaukee Bucks take on the Raptors in hopes of breaking their tie with the Canadian outfit for first in the Eastern Conference. With a record of 35-13, the Milwaukee Bucks maintain as one of the best teams in the league.

The Bucks have been on fire as of late. Posting a record of 8-2 in their last ten games with a point differential of +9.6, the Bucks have dominated their competition regardless of the quality of their opponent.

When the Bucks take on the Raptors they will be fighting for not only first place, but for the tie-breaker in the season series with the Toronto Raptors. After going 2-1 at this point in the year, a win for the Bucks would ensure the Bucks superior table positioning should they tie with the Raptors at the end of the year.

Toronto Raptors (Home)

Head Coach: Nick Nurse {All-Time 37-15 | TOR}

The Toronto Raptors, when they face off against the Milwaukee Bucks, will be battling for first in the Eastern Conference. Owning a record of 37-15, they are in an essential tie for first with the Bucks with hopes of tying the season series.

The Raptors have been similarly successful to the Bucks as of late, going 7-3 in their last ten matches, with a point differential of +5.4. While they’ve not dominated their competition, they’ve been able to pull off wins in tight affairs.

Coming off of a nail-biting win over the Dallas Mavericks, the Toronto Raptors will be well rested when they take on the Milwaukee Bucks. The Raptors will not have played since Sunday and have been able to rest at home in Toronto for three straight days. They’ll be banking on that rest and the cold weather to aid them in taking down the Greek Freak.

What’s At Stake?

The Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors have met 88 times in the history of their respective franchises. In the all-time series, the Milwaukee Bucks lead the Toronto Raptors 50-38. Despite that, the Toronto Raptors have won the only playoff series between the two teams 4-2.

A win for the Bucks would grant them first in the Eastern Conference, breaking the tie with the Toronto Raptors. It would also win them the tie-breaker.

The Toronto Raptors would win first in the East if they defeated the Bucks, while also tying the season series with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Questions to answer

Did Milwaukee show their weakness against the Thunder?

Can the Raptors maintain their team balance?

We are going to compare the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Thunder Held Giannis to 8-22 Shooting

When the Milwaukee Bucks faced off against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Bucks experienced a defensive masterclass. To credit the Bucks, they still finished the game shooting 43% from the field and 41% from three.

When Giannis drove the lane, the Oklahoma City Thunder collapsed on him like he was the only player on the court. It forced Giannis into a poor night from the floor and forced the other Bucks players to make plays without him.

Without Giannis in the play and with the ball, the Thunder were essentially able to play five on four. Despite Giannis’ 4-6 night from three, any team would let him fire from range before taking it into the paint. The Bucks have capable options, but it is important to note that the Thunder have defensive options that other teams do not. Collapsing on Giannis is a simple solution but the length and ability to get out and challenge the wing afterward to stifle a second attack from Giannis is key.

The Raptors Had Six Players in Double-Digits on Sunday

The match against the Dallas Mavericks was a difficult game to watch for the first 36 minutes. The Raptors were able to score, but weren’t able to stop anyone on the opposite end. Luckily for them, the Raptors had six players ready to contribute in order to keep the score close.

Every single Raptors starter scored in double-digits while Fred Vanvleet led the bench unit with 13 points and 6 assists. It’s been the tale of the Raptors that their bench unit has struggled to keep up with opponents. With the leaky defence of the Cavs, the Raptors were able to keep up regardless of lineup.

The Milwaukee Bucks play such a swing-oriented, egalitarian offence that it doesn’t matter who is on the court for them to initiate play. This means that the Raptors bench will have to lock in offensively and defensively to keep themselves in the game. The starters will surely carry the squad, but they’ll need that extra punch off the bench to keep balance.

Milwaukee Bucks Roster Notes

G Donte DiVincenzo – 26 Jan 2019 – Out (Heel) – DiVincenzo was ruled OUT for Sunday’s (Jan 27) game against the Thunder.

Toronto Raptors Roster Notes

C Jonas Valanciunas – 9 Jan 2019 – Out (Thumb) – Head coach Nick Nurse said Valanciunas will miss at least another 4 weeks.

Head-to-Head: Khris Middleton vs Kyle Lowry

Khris Middleton

Small Forward | 6-8, 222lb (203cm, 100kg) | Texas A&M | Exp. 7 Years

17.4 PPG | 4.1 APG | 5.7 RPG | 1.1 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 2.2 TOV | .435 FG% | .377 3P%

Kyle Lowry

Point Guard | 6-1, 196lb (185cm, 88kg) | Villanova | Exp. 13 Years

14.2 PPG | 9.4 APG | 4.5 RPG | 1.4 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 2.8 TOV | .410 FG% | .322 3P%

We’ll be taking a look at what will be a battle of the second stars when Khris Middleton and Kyle Lowry face-off in this vital Eastern Conference tilt. Both players are likely to be all-stars this season and are well-deserving considering the body of work they have put in to position their teams. Despite not being in the starring role.

Khris Middleton has been one of the most effective wing players in the NBA this season. Once comically rated ahead of Demar Derozan in Sports Illustrated’s Top 100 Players ranking, he is drawing ever closer to actually matching the vaunted all-star. He can defend three positions and hit a jumper from anywhere on the court. Considering Giannis will be double and triple teamed at a moments notice, Middleton will need to be the first to make plays when the ball is out of the Greek Freak’s hands.

Kyle Lowry is the heart and soul of the Toronto Raptors. Regardless of any rumours of him being upset at the beginning of the season due to the Raptors trading away best friend Demar Derozan, Lowry’s professionalism has been seen on the court through another All-Star worthy campaign. When Leonard is on the court and has the ball, a shot is generally going up. As the NBA’s number two assist man, Lowry’s ability to generate offence for himself and others is key to the Raptors success. The Raptors are also 25-5 when Lowry scores in the double-digits; essential thy name is Kyle Lowry.

Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Toronto Raptors favoured over the Milwaukee Bucks by 2.5, with an over/under of 110.