PREVIEW: Toronto Raptors aim to extend home success against Milwaukee Bucks

Jan 25, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) shoots the ball in the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors will try to build on their recent success at their temporary home in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday night when they host the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Raptors were 4-1 on their recent homestand and return for a three-game stand after splitting a two-game visit to the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.

The Raptors are 5-3 overall at home and 2-7 in away games. They have won five of their past seven games overall.

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Kyle Lowry needs two points Wednesday night to join DeMar DeRozan (13,296) and Chris Bosh (10,275) as the only players to score at least 10,000 career points for the Raptors.

Lowry, who had missed the previous two games with an infected toe, scored 12 points in the 129-114 loss to the Pacers on Monday night before being ejected in the final minute.

Lowry was 2-for-11 from the field.

“I mean, it was a pretty late decision for him to play,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “He wanted to get all the way through his workout. I think it’s probably not 100 percent, but I think he probably wouldn’t use that as an excuse.”

The Raptors have been without Pascal Siakam (left-knee swelling) for the past two games.

The Bucks and Raptors will meet for the first time this season. The Bucks won the season series 2-1 last season and have won four straight when visiting the Raptors.

The Bucks had lost two in a row for the first time this season when they defeated the Atlanta Hawks 129-115 at home on Sunday. Milwaukee had lost on the road to the Brooklyn Nets and at home to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“It’s huge, really just to get that feel, that feel of winning,” said Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, who scored 15 points Sunday. “We had a tough couple games, a tough couple teams we played against, but these are games we feel should win. and getting this win, no matter how it is, is a plus. But if we had done it in the fashion that we felt that we could have, it would have been even better.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 27 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists while Khris Middleton had 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

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On his first basket of the game, Antetokounmpo passed Marques Johnson on the Bucks’ career scoring list and is sixth all-time with 11,007 points. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (14,211) is first all-time.

A positive development for the Raptors has been the recent play of center Aron Baynes, who was signed as a free agent in response to the departures of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka.

Baynes struggled for a stretch early in the season. He would start but would be replaced early because of ineffectiveness.

Recently, Baynes has been playing up to expectations.

“It’s a new environment for him,” Nurse said before Monday’s game. “We weren’t coming out on the right side of things. I was kind of searching pretty hard there (up and down the lineup) early, (which) affected him a great deal. There are a number of things it could have been. I’ve liked the physicality. I think he’s now getting his body on people at the rim a little more and he’s getting his body on people in the rebounding department as well. And he’s thrown in a few here lately.”

–Field Level Media