Chris Boucher scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Toronto Raptors confirm the 2nd seed in the NBA Eastern Conference by defeating the Milwaukee Bucks 114 – 106 in the NBA bubble on Monday.
In what was a dress rehearsal of the most likely Eastern Conference final this season, both teams were without key players. Reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the game after having an oral procedure. Mike Budehnolzer was unsure if his main player would be back for the final two seeding games on Tuesday and Thursday against the Washington Wizards and the Memphis Grizzlies respectively.
Toronto Raptors were without Kyle Lowry who missed the game with a sore lower back while Serge Ibaka was missing with a bruised right knee and Fred VanVleet suffered a hyper-extended right knee.
Raptors earned their 50th win of the season and are 4-1 in Orlando since the NBA restart. A cause of concern could be the minutes played by Pascal Siakem, despite the confirmation of the 2nd spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Siakem has played an average of 34 minutes per game and head coach Nick Nurse will be looking to give his big guns adequate rest before the playoffs.
Chris Boucher had one of the best games of his NBA career and was instrumental in getting the win versus the Bucks.
“We knew some guys would be out. Obviously it was an opportunity“, Boucher said.
“Every time you get a chance to play 20-25 minutes, everyone on this team is going to take it.”
For the second consecutive season, the two teams have finished in the top-2 of the Eastern Conference and it is increasingly looking likely that they will meet in the Eastern Conference Final in a few weeks time.
It is a common occurrence for top teams to let down their guard going into the playoffs after the confirmation of a playoff spot and tends to show complacency in the last few games.
The Bucks’ form all season has been outstanding and despite the bad record since the restart, will be looking to return to their devastating best once the playoffs begin.
Kyle Korver scored 19 points and Khris Middleton added 17 for the Milwaukee Bucks, who have now lost their 4th game since the restart in Orlando.
— NBA (@NBA) August 11, 2020
“Most concerning is continued not (having) the effort and execution defensively, not being who we are, being as good and committed as we are on that end of the court,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
With the Raptors having an impressive record since the resumption and winning games without their key players, they would be surely looking to win their 2nd successive crown and defend the NBA Championship.
Other NBA Results of the Day :
Phoenix Suns 128 – 101 Oklahoma City Thunder
LA Lakers 124 – 121 Denver Nuggets
Miami Heat 114 – 92 Indiana Pacers
Utah Jazz 114 – 122 Dallas Mavericks