Not many fans would say that they were expecting the Bucks to begin the season 0-2, but that’s where they currently sit. Star player Giannis Antetokounmpo made his season debut Saturday night against the Wizards, but it wasn’t enough to lead the Bucks to victory. Lackadaisical play on defense has slumped the Bucks out of the gates so far this season. In the 2014-15 season, the Bucks defense ranked near the top of the league, as opponents averaged only 97.4 points per game, which ranked eighth best in the NBA. That same lockdown system has yet to strike its groove this year, as in their first two games against New York and Washington, the Bucks have surrendered a whopping 240 combined points. One of the main concerns that Jason Kidd and his coaching staff will need to address is the space being given up on the perimeter to opposing shooters. The Wizards’ ferocious comeback on Saturday was lead by red-hot shooting from deep, as they connected on 12-21 shots from three-point land. The Bucks will need to force opponents to look inside more and shore up their perimeter defense, as it usually is not a safe bet to rely on the opposing team to just miss open shots.
As for today’s game, the Bucks will be playing a 2-0 Raptors team that won 49 games last season. They made some key acquisitions this offseason, including adding DeMarre Carroll from Atlanta and Luis Scola from Indiana. Those moves provide a spark to their offense, as both are proven scorers in the league. However, the Raptors possess some weaknesses that can be taken advantage of. Toronto has one of the poorest defenses in the Eastern Conference, as opponents converted 45.9 percent of their shots during the 2014-15 year.
Toronto is seeking its first 3-0 start since the 2008-09 season. Consistent scoring is what has helped the Raptors secure a 2-0 record up to this point, as they have averaged 109.5 points through those first two games. They defeated the Celtics in Boston on Friday by a score of 113-103. The box score showed three heavy blows distributed by players, as DeMar DeRozan, DeMarre Carroll and Terrence Ross all had 20 or more points.
As for the Bucks staggering defense, tonight may be the night in which they finally break through. Turnovers have been the Achilles heel for the Raptors to this point, as they have committed 43 of them which have lead to 44 points for opponents. Frustrating the Raptors’ offensive scheme can definitely prove as a recipe for a victory for Milwaukee.
John Henson (Achilles) and O.J. Mayo (hamstring) did not travel with the team to Ontario. Jabari Parker (knee) and Tyler Ennis (shoulder) continue to remain sidelined as well. Parker plans on flying to New York when the Bucks play in Brooklyn, and the rumor is that its to see his surgeon who is based out of New York, David Altchek, to receive medical clearance to play.
Milwaukee Bucks (0-2, 0-0 Away) vs Toronto Raptors (2-0, 1-0 Home)
November 1, 2015
5:00 PM CT
Fox Sports Wisconsin | NBATV | AM 620 WTMJ
Milwaukee Bucks Toronto Raptors
Michael Carter-Williams PG Kyle Lowry
Khris Middleton SG DeMar DeRozan
Giannis Antetokounmpo SF DeMarre Carroll
Johnny O’Bryant III PF Luis Scola
Greg Monroe C Jonas Valanciunas