TORONTO — Pascal Siakam scored a game-high 26 points, Dennis Schroder had 24 points and 11 assists and the Toronto Raptors handily defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 130-111 on Wednesday.
Scottie Barnes added 21 points and 12 rebounds for Toronto (2-3), which snapped a three-game losing skid. Jakob Poeltl had 14 points and 11 rebounds, with O.G. Anunoby chipping in 16 points.
The Raptors were missing forward Precious Achiuwa for a second consecutive game with a left groin strain.
Malik Beasley scored a team-high 20 points for Milwaukee (2-2). Giannis Antetokounmpo had 16, with Damian Lillard adding 15.
The Bucks are led by first-year head coach and former Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin. He spent the previous five of his 15 years as an NBA assistant with Toronto.
Griffin was presented with a tribute video during a timeout early in the first quarter, receiving an applause from the Scotiabank Arena crowd.
The Raptors used impressive play on both ends to jump out to a 22-8 lead 7:13 into the first quarter, going 4-for-5 from three-point range and 9-for-13 overall.
Barnes highlighted the stretch with a laser of a cross-court bounce pass on a fastbreak to get Anunoby a dunk before hitting a 26-foot stepback three on the ensuing possession. Paced by Siakam’s nine, Toronto led by as many as 17 and held a 31-18 edge after one.
The Raptors pushed their lead to 21 with a 10-2 run in the first 2:58 of the second quarter. Barnes capped it with a layup for two of his five points in the run before the Bucks called timeout.
After a missed fastbreak layup by Jae Crowder, Siakam drove on the other end and made a drop-off pass, while airborne, to Poeltl, whose dunk made it 58-32 with 2:59 left.
Toronto had four players with 10-plus points, led by Barnes’s 16, entering halftime with a 66-44 lead. Meanwhile, the Raptors held superstars Lillard and Antetokounmpo to a combined 13 points.
The Bucks picked it up in the third quarter, going on an 8-0 run to make it 75-60 with 7:11 left.
But it turned out to be short-lived momentum. Toronto immediately answered with a 6-0 run across a 50-second span, punctuated by consecutive fastbreak dunks by Anunoby off defensive stops.
Milwaukee trimmed the deficit to as little as 13, but a Barnes three with 0.2 seconds left allowed the Raptors to close the frame up 95-79.
The early part of the fourth quarter belonged to Siakam. Despite the Bucks’ best efforts to inch closer, Siakam scored 11 points in the first 3:35, capped by a three to keep Milwaukee behind 110-88.
Toronto never relinquished that momentum en route to the dominant victory.
TRUSTING THE THREE
The Raptors entered Wednesday tied for 21st in the NBA in three-point percentage at 33.3 and coming off a 4-for-29 performance on Monday against Portland. The team hasn’t finished inside the top 20 since the 2020-21 season when it was 15th.
With teams packing the paint, Toronto head coach Darko Rajakovic said pre-game that his squad will have to keep shooting.
“We’ve got to shoot threes,” he said. “We’ve got to take open shots. It’s part of player development. It’s part of playing in this league. The league is played that way. In order for you to win on the highest level, we got to be able to knock down some shots.”
The Raptors open a four-game road trip on Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Bucks make a one-game stop in Milwaukee to play the New York Knicks on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2023.
Abdulhamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press