The top two teams in the Eastern Conference faced each other and the Milwaukee Bucks, led by the Greek Freak, went on the road and handed the Toronto Raptors a rare defeat at home 105-92.
The Bucks (37-13) are now the top team in the East ahead of the Raptors (37-16). The Raptors are 1-3 against the Bucks this season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 19 points and Khris Middleton added 18 in the victory. Seven Bucks scored double figures as the team spread the ball around during their 13-point victory.
Coming into the game, the Raptors won 21 out of 25 home games in Toronto, including ten straight. However, the Raptors are in a mini-slide after losing three out of their last four games.
For the Raptors, Pascal Siakam led all scorers with 28 points, but the Bucks held Kawhi Leonard to only 16 points. The rest of the team had an off-night shooting wise. The Raptors hit 29.8 percent of their overall shots and struggled downtown with a 7-for-27 clip or 25.9 percent.
Greek Freak Surging
The Greek Freak led the Bucks in scoring in 36 out of 50 games this season. He dropped a couple of 40-point games, including a career high 44 points against the Cleveland Cavs. This season, Antetokounmpo is averaging 26.4 points per game and 12.6 rebounds. He’s hitting 57.3 percent of his shots, but he’s yet to find his three-point stroke. The Freak hits only 20.2 percent of his long-range shots.
The Bucks and Raptors only met four times this season. The Bucks won three out of the four games, but both squads expect to meet each other in the postseason.
“It’s big for us but we’ve got to stay humble, keep working hard, keep working on our game and keep moving forward. We know we’re going to be back here eventually,” said Antetokounmpo.
With the Bucks at the #1 seed and the Raptors at #2, they are both headed on a collision course for a potential showdown in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Antetokounmpo was a popular pick among All-Star voters and will start for the East in the upcoming All-Star game. However, before tip off teammate Khris Middleton (17.4 ppg) was named a reserve and made his first-ever All-Star team.
Bucks and Raptors Chasing 40 Wins
The Bucks have now won 8 out of their last 10 games. They are in the middle of a five-game road trip. They dropped the first game to the OKC Thunder by six points, but won their last two against the Detroit Pistons and Raptors.
The Bucks face the Washington Wizards on Saturday and the Brooklyn Nets on Monday before they return to Milwaukee.
The Raptors host the LA Clippers this weekend, which is one of the teams that Kawhi Leonard would like to play next season. Then they hit the road for three games. After playing the Philadelphia Sixers next Tuesday, the Raptors have two easy games against the Atlanta Hawks and the Unicorn-less NY Knicks.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Milwaukee Bucks are 10/1 odds to win the NBA championship. The Toronto Raptors are 7/1 odds to win the title.