5 great (and not-so-great) things from the Bucks' 123-116 loss to the Raptors
With the unexpected warm weather and the No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup, it felt like June in Milwaukee yesterday as the Bucks hosted Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors to battle for the best record in the NBA.
While the home team couldn't pull off the win, the playoff atmosphere at Fiserv Forum was at an all-time high, giving fans a taste of what to expect in the coming months. The Bucks lost the contest, 123-116, and are now a half-game behind Toronto in the Eastern Conference, but yesterday's loss wasn't all bad.
Here are our five favorite (as well as our five not-so-favorite) things from the Bucks' home loss to the Toronto Raptors:
1. The 6th Man
Fiserv Forum hasn't been louder! If you didn't know better, you would have thought Saturday night was the Eastern Conference finals. And although the Bucks fell short, the fans definitely did their part in keeping Giannis and company motivated.
From slapping thunder sticks during free throws to chanting throughout all four quarters, Milwaukee's fans had the passion of a energetic college crowd. It's going to be a fun summer at the Fiserv Forum with Bucks fans cheering on the team during the playoffs.
2. Big 3-point shots
The Bucks sank a number pivotal 3-point shots to widen their lead in the first half as well as crucial shots to make the game interesting in the fourth quarter. Shooting 14-37 from behind the 3-point arch, the Bucks had a good night from long range. Even Giannis joined in the fun, with nine of his 43 points coming from distance.
3. The Greek Freak's dominance
Giannis again showed the league why he is deserving of his MVP consideration this year. With 43 points and 18 rebounds, the Greek Freak was the best player on the court last night.
4. Trolling Kawhi
Even the sound guy did his part to try to help the Bucks win last night, as the arena's sound system played an audio clip of Kawhi Leonard's meme of a laugh, which was made popular this summer. We're not sure if Kawhi will ever live that one down.
It must not have phased Leonard too much though, as Kawhi led the Raptors with 30 points.
5. Riding the "Bird Box" wave
Bucks game can be as entertaining during the breaks as they are during the action. Riding the wave from Netflix's new movie "Bird Box," contestants in an inflatable Bango race had a rough time completing the race while also doing the viral (and strongly unadvised) Bird Box Challenge.
1. Kawhi Leonard's defense
In addition to putting up 30 points for the away team, Kawhi Leonard certainly did his part on defense as well. The former San Antonio Spur is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the year, and his lock-down D was on display Saturday night. Let's hope that Kawhi takes a few plays off the next time that the Bucks and Raptors meet.
2. Disagreement over what's a travel
Apparently if you pay for courtside seats, you also purchase the right to have a debate with officials over what is and is not a travel. During the 3rd quarter, the entire Fiserv Forum wanted a travel call on Kawhi Leonard when he stumbled towards the basket. While the referee disagreed, the no-call did lead to a hilarious engagement with one of the more vocal Bucks fans.
3. Pascal Siakam's unexpected performance
Kawhi Leonard wasn't alone in his 30 point performance for Toronto as Pascal Siakam matched Leonard with 30 of his own. While the Bucks can get away with allowing Leonard to put up 30 points (since our star had 43), it's hard to win when a non-marquee player like Siakam puts up huge numbers.
The Raptors are definitely not a one-man team, and Milwaukee has to keep an eye on the Raptors' role players in their next matchup.
4. Toronto fans
I never realized how loud (for lack of better words) Raptors fans are. While they aren't known as an especially obnoxious fan base, they definitely ruffled some feathers last night as the Raptors began to widen their lead in the second half. The silver lining is that the red shirts were few and far between with all the green in the arena.
We would tag the Raptors fan, but it looks like his tag is already out.
The Raptors did a great job of being physical on Saturday. While many in attendance would have liked to see more fouls called, the Raptors disrupted the Bucks and it may had made the difference in the who came home with the win.
With the Bucks just coming off a 144-112 win over the Atlanta Hawks, holding the Bucks to 116 in a fast-paced game was relatively impressive. It will be interesting to see how the Bucks respond when they seek revenge, returning to Toronto for their fourth and final matchup with the Raptors in the regular season on Jan. 31.
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