Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks 1/15/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream
Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks Matchup Preview (1/15/22)
The Toronto Raptors travel to Fiserv Forum on Saturday night to take on the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. The Raptors are currently in the playoff picture, but they do not have a huge buffer over the 11th seed. When Kawhi left, the Raptors debated rebuilding and tearing down the roster. They chose to extend finals heroes Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam, while letting Kyle Lowry walk in free agency. It looks as though the Raptors made the correct decision, as their depth chart has potential. They had a 6 game winning streak from December 31st to January 9th where they beat quality teams, including the Knicks, Bucks, Jazz, and Clippers. The Raptors will face a familiar foe in the Bucks; the Kawhi-led team came back from 2-0 against the Bucks in the 2018/19 Eastern Conference Finals. In this matchup, off-season addition Gary Trent Jr is expected to be out. Trent Jr has been a solid two way player for the Raptors with averages of 16.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.9 SPG on 36.8 3PT%. The Raptors have a talented starting lineup, but depth for the playoffs is a concern. Gary Trent Jr will be missed in a game that will take everything the Raptors have.
The Milwaukee Bucks are coming off an impressive 118-99 victory over the Golden State Warriors. Giannis Antetokounmpo, perhaps the best player in the entire NBA, produced a 30-point triple double against the team with the best defensive rating in the NBA. Khris Middleton contributed 23 points, 5 assists, 7 rebounds on 7/13 from the field. The Bucks lacked their third star Jrue Holiday, but Bobby Portis stepped up with 20 points and 7 rebounds. Although Portis was a solid player for the Bucks title run, he has improved his game and is now a key part of their roster. Brook Lopez is 33 years old and dealing with a serious back injury, so Portis has been a revelation for the big man rotation. On the season, Portis is averaging a career high in points (15.5 PPG), rebounds (9.1 RPG), and blocks (0.8 BPG). His scorching shooting – 48.2 FG% and 43.4 3PT% – has spread the floor for Giannis and allowed the Bucks to play two bigs without sacrificing spacing. Unfortunately for the Bucks, Jrue Holiday is still expected to be out for at least a few more days. However, Grayson Allen and Donte DiVincenzo are healthy and back in the guard rotation, so Holiday’s absence will not be cataclysmic.
Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks Betting Odds
The Raptors are 2-0 against the Bucks this season, having won 117-111 on January 5th and 97-93 on December 2nd. Although it seems like the Raptors have the Bucks number, there is a big stipulation to those wins. Giannis did not play in either game, so throw out any conclusions about the Raptors victories. Giannis is an absolute game wrecker who averages 28.5 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 6.1 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.5 BPG while playing all-world defense. He is leading the NBA in Win Shares per 48 minutes at 0.288. To put that into perspective, Shaquille O’Neal had 0.283 Win Shares per 48 minutes in the 1999/00 season, his lone MVP year. With Giannis, Middleton, and Portis playing, I am going with the Bucks moneyline and expect the Bucks to win by 8-12 points. The Raptors do not have a suitable center capable of slowing down Giannis or Portis in the paint, which will be the difference in the game.
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Time: 6:30 PM ET
Arena: Fiserv Forum – Milwaukee, WI
Channel: NBA League Pass
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Toronto Raptors Starting Lineup
Toronto Raptors Analysis
The Raptors have one of the best young wing duos in the game – Scottie Barnes and OG Anunoby. In the 2021 NBA Draft, the Raptors made a bold decision and took Scottie Barnes over Jalen Suggs. While Suggs has shown potential in Orlando, Barnes instantly impressed with his ferocious defense and offensive impact. He is in the running for the Rookie of the Year award, and has produced 14.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.9 BPG on a 48.2 FG%. Barnes is a swiss army knife that can fill any role the Raptors need. He is listed at 6’7” and 225 pounds, but he is agile. Barnes is able to quickly slide his feet and maintain balance while moving laterally, which allows him to switch on the perimeter against smaller, quicker guards. His outside shooting needs work (32.4 3PT%), but he looks capable of being an average shooter.
OG Anunoby has delivered this season on his potential with a career high in points (19.3 PPG), assists (2.3 APG), and steals (1.6 SPG). The 6’8” wing is a terror in transition who is able to use his length to finish at the rim. On defense, Anunoby is capable of staying in front of a guard while being able to shut down big men when they post up or roll off of a pick. Overall, the Raptors can field a formidable, versatile lineup of VanVleet, Trent Jr, Barnes, Anunoby, and Siakam. If the franchise can make moves at the deadline to address depth, the Raptors have the potential to make a deep run in the postseason.
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
Milwaukee Bucks Analysis
The Bucks have the third best odds currently to win the title at +700, behind the Nets and Warriors. On the roster, the Bucks still have their big three of Giannis, Middleton, and Holiday. Their depth chart, though, is deeper than last season, especially at the guard position. While Donte DiVincenzo is not a new player, he only played in three playoff games during last season’s championship run due to injury. He has struggled this season, but he has only played in five games so rust is expected. Last year, he averaged 10.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.1 APG 1.1 SPG on a 42.0 FG% and 37.9 3PT%. DiVincenzo is a solid secondary playmaker who can create his own shot at times. When he finds his footing, the 6’4” guard will space the floor for Giannis and find his teammates for open looks.
The Bucks acquired 6’4” Grayson Allen over the offseason, and the move has been a tremendous success. Allen is averaging a career high 11.9 PPG while shooting 39.0% from deep. Allen, like DiVincenzo, is an underrated ball handler who can command the pick and roll in a pinch. On the season, the Duke product has been one of the most efficient spot up players in the NBA. This skill is essential for a roster that contains Giannis and forces defenses into a tough choice. Do defenses double Giannis, or give up a clean look from deep to the efficient perimeter shooters. As a whole, the Bucks have the tools to repeat as champions. Now they have championship experience to fall back on when things get tough in the playoffs.
Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks Daily Fantasy Picks
As always, Giannis is an absolute must play in Daily Fantasy. He is one of the most consistent superstars in terms of production. The fact that the Raptors are starting Khem Birch at center only enhances the need to play Giannis. For this matchup, I like Fred VanVleet to produce a line around 28 points and 7 assists. He has the potential to clear 30 points, since elite defender Jrue Holiday is expected to be out. Over his last nine games, VanVleet has scored 30+ points six times while passing 7+ assists five times. Look for VanVleet to continue his all star level play and torch the Bucks. Bucks center Bobby Portis has impressed the last few games and will see a favorable matchup. Portis will be cheaper than the other names mentioned and could hold value as a cheaper option.