3 keys as Milwaukee Bucks look to bounce back against Toronto Raptors

Dec 2, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 2, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday. Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet
TAMPA, FLORIDA – JANUARY 27 (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks will need to contain Fred VanVleet

While I have a lot of respect for many players on the Toronto Raptors, the straw that stirs the drink for what they do (especially offensively) is Fred VanVleet.

He is competing with Jrue Holiday (and others) for a reserve spot on the All-Star roster and is making a very strong case. He’s playing over 37 minutes per game and averaging nearly 21 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and two steals per game.

Defensively, he’s one of the best defenders at his position, and watching him go at it with Holiday is a lot of fun every time they play each other the last couple of seasons. VanVleet had a great night in the first game these two teams played this year, posting a game-high 29 points in nearly 39 minutes.

He’s shooting 40 percent on nearly nine 3s per game and nearly 50 percent on catch-and-shoot looks. The upside for the Bucks is that he’s under 33 percent on pull-up 3s this season, so they can afford to go under on screens (especially as he’s gotten better as a finisher) but he can get hot as Bucks fans know all too well.

Of course, the Raptors have other players that can hurt them if VanVleet doesn’t have it going (Pascal Siakam has been playing very well of late), but the Raptors have the plus/minus of a bottom-five team when VanVleet is off the floor and the Bucks will need to take advantage of those non-VanVleet minutes.

By the advanced metrics, VanVleet is having one of the most impactful seasons of any player, and my goodness, wouldn’t it be fun to see him and Holiday team up late in a close All-Star Game to lock down the opposing backcourt?

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If the Raptors can hold VanVleet relatively in check (unlike the Spurs were able to do), they stand a good chance at finishing this homestand with a win