Title: Dissecting the Raptors-Bucks season series and potential playoff implications
Date: August 11, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I broke down the Raptors’ season series with the Bucks and what can be taken from that series for the playoffs.
We’re all in agreement that a very fun and unrepresentative game is highly preferable to an ugly and unrepresentative game, right?
The Raptors’ 114-106 victory over the Bucks on Monday didn’t tell us much, other than that chaotic bench-ball is a blast and Matt Thomas has been a superstar in hiding this entire time. Giannis Antetokounmpo was out because of oral surgery. Kyle Lowry (back), Fred VanVleet (knee) and Serge Ibaka (knee) sat out the second night of a back-to-back with minor issues. Nick Nurse used his 16th different starting lineup of the year — with Marc Gasol more or less handling playmaking duties — and Thomas and Chris Boucher posted career-best scoring nights to lead the way. It was great.
It also necessitated a bit of a reframing of this series. If the Celtics game was a poor representation of the matchup for intensity levels, this was a dramatically poorer representation because the most important player in the series — and probably four of the most important 12 or so — wasn’t around. Both sides still tried to win, with the Bucks keeping starters on the floor late, but that’s only moderately helpful for evaluating non-Antetokounmpo minutes against a Raptors bench.