Milwaukee (21-24) at Toronto (28-18)
When: Friday, January 27th 2017
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Time: 7:35 ET | TV: FSN Wisconsin, Sportsnet One
Two slumping teams meet Friday night in Toronto as the Raptors host the Milwaukee Bucks at Air Canada Centre. The Bucks find themselves one game out of the Eastern Conference Playoff race after dropping six of their last seven games including a 114-109 home decision to a Philadelphia team playing without their rookie sensation Joel Embiid. Milwaukee did snap a five-game losing streak on Monday with an impressive 127-114 win over the Houston Rockets. Milwaukee is allowing an average of 112 points over the last seven games and gave up a season-high 72 points in the first half on Wednesday to the Sixers. Greg Monroe did his part with a season-high 28 points and nine rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench in that game on Wednesday. Power forward Jabari Parker is 7-of-28 from 3-point range in the last seven games. Small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo leads this team in just about every category: Scoring (23.5), Assists (5.4), rebounds (8.9), FG% (52.9), Steals (1.8), and Blocks (2.0). The Bucks will play four of their next five on the road.
The Toronto Raptors are in a similar funk and it couldn’t have come at a worst time. With the Cleveland Cavaliers struggling, the Raptors had a chance to climb to the top of the Eastern Conference, but instead have lost five games in a row including a couple of heartbreaking two-point losses on back-to-back nights to San Antonio and Memphis. Toronto can get back on track with the next three games at home against all sub-.500 teams. Toronto will have a tough time with Monroe tonight if Wednesday’s game against Memphis is any indication. Center Marc Gasol went off for a career-best 42 points. The offense needs to improve as well. The Raptors, who spent the first half of the season leading the Eastern Conference in scoring average, slumped to an average of 95 points during the last five games. All-Star SG DeMar DeRozan (ankle) could miss his third straight game. Toronto took each of the first two meetings this season, including a 122-100 home win on December 12th.
Both teams are struggling and it looks like DeRozan will not play tonight. That won’t matter. The Raptors still have enough around them to rally around Kyle Lowry and get the win and cover tonight.
Pick: Raptors -4.5