Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Bucks-Raptors Preview: The Penultimate Preview

The long arms of Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo were not enough to slow down the Raptors last time the teams met on April 5.

Who’s playing?

The Milwaukee Bucks (15-65) and the Toronto Raptors (47-33).

Where are they playing?

The Air Canada Centre. Toronto, ON.

When are they playing?

Monday, April 14. 6:00 PM CT.

What’s at stake?

Milwaukee leads Philadelphia by two games in the battle for the worst record. With two games remaining for each team, the Bucks can clinch it Monday under a pair of scenarios:

1. Lose. It’s that simple.

2. Win + Philadelphia win

Finishing with the worst record, of course, guarantees the Bucks no lower than the fourth pick in the 2014 draft.

ESPN.com

ESPN.com

The Raptors find themselves locked in a similar, two-team battle, though considerably more is at stake. Currently holding down third place in the East, Toronto is tied (record-wise) with Chicago at 47-33. Toronto finishes out against New York on Wednesday, while Chicago hosts Orlando on Monday and Charlotte on Wednesday. In the grand scheme of things, finishing third as opposed to fourth doesn’t necessarily grant much of an advantage, with heavyweights Miami and Indiana looming as probable second-round opponents.

Did Toronto win its last game?

Yes, the Raptors knocked off Detroit 116-107 on Sunday for their eighth win in ten games. DeMar DeRozan led the way with 30 points.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9voX_DLQtsE

Did Milwaukee win its last game?

Absolutely not. The Bucks fell to the Wizards 104-91 on Saturday.

Check out Zack Flipse’s game recap here.

Who’s their best player?

The last time these teams met, I wrote that this one’s a toss up between DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. And that’s still the case. Since shipping Rudy Gay to the Kings 18 games into the season, both guards have expanded their games and enjoyed career statistical years. DeRozan (my closet favorite player in the league) is averaging career-highs in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and three-point percentage. At 30.5 percent from beyond the arc he still won’t be confused for a marksman, but it’s a discernible improvement considering he’s nearly doubled his per-game attempts.

Lowry’s statistical improvement is similar. Like DeRozan, the 28-year-old is posting career-highs in scoring, assists, rebounds (tie) and three-point percentage. His minutes are up nearly seven per game over last season, and he’s attempting more than four more shots per game. Lowry’s a player that rides on confidence and assertiveness, and the Gay trade opened the door for him to accept more of the offensive burden.

Who’s hot for the Bucks?

Three straight 20-point games, in which he’s made exactly six field goals in each, make Ramon Sessions the frontrunner for the nod here, but I’m going to mix it up and go with a fresh face (and hair): Jeff Adrien.

Over the last six games, Adrien is averaging 14.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while shooting 50.0 percent from the floor.

The Milwaukee Bucks: Where a guy you acquire as a trade deadline throw-in becomes arguably your best player happens.

What’s the injury situation?

Milwaukee: Larry Sanders (face), Carlos Delfino (leg), Nate Wolters (hand) and Ersan Ilyasova (ankle) are out for the season. O.J. Mayo (ankle) remains questionable. Brandon Knight (ankle) will play after sitting out Saturday.

Toronto: Landry Fields missed Friday’s game with an illness and did not play Sunday. He’s considered questionable.

What happened in previous meetings?

Suffice it to say Toronto is bidding to become the second team in less than a week to complete a four-game season sweep of Milwaukee.

November 2

Raptors: 97 Bucks: 90

January 13

Raptors: 116 Bucks: 94

April 5

Raptors: 102 Bucks: 98

Projected starters

Raptors

C – Jonas Valanciunas

PF – Amir Johnson

SF – Terrence Ross

SG – DeMar DeRozan

PG – Kyle Lowry

Bucks

C – Zaza Pachulia

PF – Jeff Adrien

SF – Khris Middleton

SG – Ramon Sessions

PG – Brandon Knight

Team rankings

Raptors

Scoring: 13th (101.3)

Scoring defense: 7th (98.1)

Rebounding: 18th (42.4)

Assists: 20th (21.2)

Bucks

Scoring: 28th (95.3)

Scoring defense: 25th (103.5)

Rebounding: 23rd (41.2)

Assists: 17th (21.4)

Leaders

Points: Knight (17.7), DeRozan (22.8)

Assists: Knight (4.9), Lowry (7.5)

Rebounds: Adrien (7.8), Valanciunas 98.8)

Blocks: Henson (1.7), Johnson (1.2)

PER: Adrien (18.9), Lowry (20.2)

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Tags: Demar Derozan Giannis Jeff Adrien Kyle Lowry Milwaukee Bucks Ramon Sessions

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