After relatively quiet (not really that quiet) nights from both teams' MVP-candidates, the Raptors ended up losing to the Bucks 104-99 after what was an even game throughout all four quarters.
Here are my takeaways from the Sunday evening game:
1. Giannis and Kawhi are Top-Tier Players Even on off-Nights
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard had relatively quiet nights. Not necessarily bad, just quiet. And yet, they still somehow were the best player on either team.
Giannis put up a double-double of 19 and 19, and Kawhi had 20 and 8. For these guys, that's quiet, yet they both led their teams in both scoring and rebounding.
2. Kyle Lowry's Struggles Continue but Fred VanVleet Picks up the Slack
Kyle Lowry has done the impossible: he scored 0 points in 34 minutes on the court. Now, technically, that's not impossible. However, given his multiple-time All-Star status, it's very, very improbable.
Lowry contributed in other ways, putting up 7 assists and 5 boards, but his regular three-point shooting was missed, as the Raptors could have used any one of his missed shots.
Backup point guard, Fred VanVleet, showed up in Lowry's stead, scoring 19 points in 27 minutes. The performance from VanVleet was encouraging, especially given his recent struggles.
3. The Toronto Frontcourt is Dangerous
The Raptors' starting frontcourt of Kawhi, Pascal Siakam, and Serge Ibaka, is a very dangerous group of guys. All three are long, defensive guys who have scoring ability as well.
Against Milwaukee, those three guys combined for 59 points (Leonard with 20, Ibaka with 22, and Siakam with 17) and held their respective defensive matchups to quiet nights as best as they could. Bucks' veteran center Brook Lopez often got the better of Ibaka, scoring 19 points on the night, but got beaten just as often when he himself was on defence.
The Raptors have the Clippers and the Warriors on a back-to-back, a stretch that should prove tough if Lowry can't get himself out of this mini-slump.