Raptors lose another tough game at home in OT!
The stakes were high on a Wednesday night in Toronto, with game faces on and heart rates rising. Milwaukee Bucks met the Toronto Raptors ready to rumble, with their grit and determination on vivid display. The "must-win" match for the desperate Raptors saw no shortage of action as both teams matched each other runs into overtime, only for fate to take over in the end.
The finale to the battle followed close behind, as Fred VanVleet missed what could have been a tieing three-pointer that would've forced double overtime. Milwaukee Bucks emerged triumphant 104-101 at the end in another heartbreaking loss for the Raptors nation. The mighty Bucks are now four for four on the second night of the back-to-back this season, firmly placed as 2nd seed in East Conference with a 25-13 record. Toronto Raptors, though, lost another grip on a rugged path that has now seen them 10 losses in 13 games with 6 coming home - 16 wins against 22 defeats keeps them at the 12th spot in the Eastern Conference ladder.
Giannis is Giannis; what can you say?
Raptors looked like they had Giannis under control in the first half as he was 3 of 7 with only 8 points. But He exploded in the second half and OT, tagging 30 points, 10 assists, and a season-high 21 rebounds for his second triple-double of the season so far. The 6 foot 11 "Greek Freak" was electric, driving his team to victory with force, and he delivered only when his team needed him the most.
It's also worth mentioning that Giannis soared into the clash against Toronto with three consecutive mind-blowing showings: 40 points, 10 rebounds and five assists each game. The Toronto Raptors did whatever they could to stop him. But his dominance didn't pass unnoticed as he put on a performance that left everyone in awe of his level of play, making 7 out of 18 shots while sinking 1 out of 3 from downtown and scoring 15 out of 21 at the charity stripe. When the game was on the line, Giannis became electrifyingly unstoppable, and his heroics guided his team to victory.
How the game started
Game started rough, with both teams struggling to make headway offensively. Toronto Raptors' offence was paralyzed as they opened the game 0-15 from the field and a goose egg on the scoreboard until Pascal Siakam made a free-throw at last at 5:12 left in the opening quarter. Raptors ended up going 0-15 from the field before Fred VanVleet made a tough layup at the 4:36 mark in the first quarter. Even then Bucks weren’t much better, missing 14 shots of their own after putting up a quick 7 points to begin the game. It was a brutal start for supporters of either team, as both combined for an unfathomable 25-point total. The Raptors were down just one point despite abysmal shooting on 2/23, and the Bucks followed up with 5/24 and 13 points. On the positive side, Raptors' defence looked really good as they turned the Bucks 8 times in the first quarter. ESPN said this was the lowest-scoring quarter in the NBA this season.
In the second quarter, Bucks rolled out fiery energy, going on a 14-4 run to soar up 27-16. But the Raptors weren't ready to be disempowered, shooting back full force and narrowing the gap at halftime, keeping it tight with only a one-point deficit of 39-38.
How the game ended
The game was slipping away. The Bucks had gone on another relentless 14-4 run, 9 of those points thanks to Antetokounmpo's pesky presence, making it feel ever so reminiscent of the Raptors' loss to the Pacers. With less than four minutes left in the game, it seemed like all hope was lost. Once again, the Raptors were in it until late, only for things to get out of control at the end.
Something unique happened with only 3:13 to go before the end of the game, an almost a comeback for the ages. It was as if someone had flipped a switch. The Raptors stepped up their intensity and executed an incredible 28-7 run that really got the crowd going.
Even though many spectators had decided to call it a night, they would have missed a momentous 16-point surge by the Raptors in the closing minutes, which significantly changed the course of events. Gary Trent Jr. stepped up and hit a huge 3-pointer at the end of regulation to send the game to overtime.
Gary's incredible performance didn't come as a surprise - he has recently been brilliant for the Raptors. He entered the game averaging 20.6 points per game while shooting an impressive 52% in each of his last six home games. Last night, it was more of the same, with an outstanding 22 points.
Pascal Siakam's streak snapped.
Pascal Siakam's streak of eight games with 25 points or more was snapped. Siakam finished the game shooting 4 for 18 and ended up putting 11 points on the board, clearly not enough to keep his streak alive.
It was a sad moment for all Raptors fans, as the streak ending brings them closer to a record set by Vince Carter back in 2001—the longest franchise record that still stands today.
Scottie was great in the fourth quarter, and OT.
The game started off grim for Scottie, with him being 0 of 3 in the first three quarters. Barnes stepped up his game and shot an impressive 9 of 16 in the fourth quarter and overtime for a total of 19 points. It felt like every time Scottie touched the ball close to the basket, it would turn into two points. Scottie needs to play like that for the entire game. If Scottie could capture lightning in a bottle and repeat his fourth-quarter performance throughout the game, maybe Raptors would be able to get a win.
The Raptors have scored a mere 7 points off their bench in consecutive games, leaving much to be desired as they strive for success in the NBA. They must step up and make greater contributions if they are going to reach their full potential!
Things are rough right now for the Raptors. Time's ticking, and they have to do something fast. Friday night, they have a match against the New York Knicks. It's crunch time, and they better come out with a W, or else their season might be a wrap.
If there was ever a must-win game, then this is it! It seems like everything's on the line here.
The pressure is high and weighs down on them, but it looks like no one has given up yet.
It's all or nothing come Friday night. If we're going to go down, let's go down with a fight.