In addition to being expected to be destroyed by Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the formidable Milwaukee Bucks, Darko Rajakovic and his Toronto team also had to serve as mascots for Adrian Griffin, a former Raptors assistant, and Damian Lillard, a former Raptors trade target, as they tormented a poor team.
The Raptors must have been looking forward to playing Lillard. Amidst conjecture that Toronto would finally act and consummate a pivotal deal with the Blazers, Lillard’s team disclosed that he would not be too enthusiastic about going to Toronto. After Toronto noticed, Scotiabank Arena made things very difficult for Lillard and the Bucks.
It was a terrible basketball night for Giannis and pals as Toronto defeated Milwaukee 130-111. Griffin’s defense was nonexistent as the five Raptors starters comfortably eclipsed double digits. With five made shots, Toronto limited Antetokounmpo to 16 points, while Lillard finished with only 15 points.
A kind whistle allowed them both to make more trips to the line.
The fire sale alarm would be going off as loudly as ever if Lillard entered and cooked to put the Raptors to 1-4. Rather, the Raptors turned in their finest performance of the Rajakovic era, despite Lillard’s decision to not play for Toronto.
Fans of the Toronto Raptors will enjoy humiliating the Bucks and crushing Damian Lillard.
The fact that players like OG Anunoby and Otto Porter Jr., who were probably going to be traded for Damian Lillard, made big plays on both ends of the court, added even more optimism to this game. The greatest players in Milwaukee were held in check even with Precious Achiuwa recovering.
Despite their outstanding performance in this game, Toronto’s offense is still a work in progress, but they have the potential to be among the league’s greatest defensive teams. While Antetokounmpo had to battle for every basket and didn’t reach double figures until the second half, Anunoby and Dennis Schroder made it difficult for Lillard to get anything going.
Despite Lillard and Antetokounmpo’s prolonged stagnation, Scottie Barnes extended his hot streak by scoring 20 points or more for the fourth straight game, Jakob Poeltl and Schroder each had a double-double, and Toronto outrebounded Milwaukee by a startling 50-29 margin.
Toronto may not be able to declare that all of their problems have been resolved, but it must feel good and reassuring to have outperformed one of the league’s top teams in every way. If Lillard had only been open-minded about Canada, he might have been a part of this core.