Looking for win number one on the road: Bucks – Raptors Preview

The Milwaukee Bucks have no shortage of problems to fix on the defensive end.

Two games in and the Bucks are 28th in league in defensive efficiency. They’ve allowed 122.8 points per 100 possessions after two games, which is over 20 points per 100 possessions worse than last season. Jason Kidd blamed the problems in the first game on a lack of effort and the struggles in the second game on a lack of execution.

After a 0-2 start at home, the Bucks will try to shore up their defense on the road. First up, they’re in Toronto at 5 PM (CST) on Sunday night.

Watch to Watch For: Bucks

Milwaukee will have to try for win number one while still battling some injuries. O.J. Mayo, John Henson and Jabari Parker will all miss at least the next two games. That means for Jerryd Bayless (or possibly Rashad Vaughn), Miles Plumlee and Johnny O’Bryant, opportunities will still be there for the taking. O’Bryant did the most to seize his opportunity with an average game Friday night against the Wizards, which was a big step forward for him.

His passing was strong, and he made a couple jumpers, but if he wants to carve out a consistent role even when Parker returns, he’ll have to improve significantly as a rebounder. Outside of Giannis and Greg Monroe, the Bucks have been a bad defensive rebounding team. O’Bryant has grabbed just five rebounds (three defensive) in 44 minutes of play this season.

Watch to Watch For: Raptors

The Raptors have been turning the ball over. Through two games, they’ve turned it over 43 times and their turnover rate is 29th in the league. It’s too early to say they’re a turnover-prone team, but Milwaukee certainly thrived last season on creating turnovers. Perhaps the Raptors are the exact type of team the Bucks needed to play to regain the defensive mojo they seem to have lost.

Outside of the turnovers, the Raptors are still a potentially powerful offensive team. Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and DeMarre Carroll have all started the season strong and key Toronto’s attack. And at the center position, Jonas Valanciunas vs. Greg Monroe may be one of the more physical, ground-bound center matchups you’ll see this season.

Predictions:

  • Giannis will score more than 20 points
  • Greivis Vasquez will finish with more than 15 points and six assists
  • O’Bryant will once again grab less than five rebounds
  • Cory Joseph will be the bench player Milwaukee struggles to defend, as he’ll score more than 15 points
  • The Bucks will fall to 0-3

 

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