5 Takeaways: Khris Middleton disappears in Toronto


The Milwaukee Bucks fought hard but ultimately came up short in a 127-131 thrilling overtime thriller with the Toronto Raptors.

  1. Khris Middleton needs to step-up in big games. It’s no secret that Khris Middleton struggles against the top teams, but it’s a trend that needs to stop. He was absolutely torched by DeMar DeRozan, and couldn’t get anything to go on the offensive end. He finished with 18 points on 17 shots and was a minus-8. He definitely shot the Bucks in the foot tonight with his isolation plays down the stretch, which killed the flow of the offense. This was definitely a bad start to the new year for Khris Middleton.
  2.  The Bucks got excellent play from their bench tonight. Each member of the Bucks bench finished with a positive plus-minus, while every starter finished with a negative plus-minus. This was a game that the Bucks needed their bench to step up, and they answered the call. Thon Maker had his best game of the season (16 points), and Matthew Dellavedova made positive impacts for the Bucks tonight on both sides of the ball. Sean Kilpatrick played 10 minutes, and it’s encouraging that he’s starting to play more than DeAndre Liggins who has been a DNP-CD the last two games.
  3.  John Henson needs to be a consistent presence night in, and night out for the Bucks. After coming off two great performances against Minnesota and OKC, Henson put up a stinker tonight. He finished with 10 points and 7 rebounds, but he struggled mightily on both ends of the floor. He also missed a few easy buckets as well. The Raptors bigs made life difficult for him on the boards, and they nullified his impact.
  4. Matthew Dellavedova has been getting the job done recently. He won’t blow you away by looking at his stat line, but he does the little things that don’t show up in the box score. He was a pest tonight on the defensive end, wreaking havoc in the passing lanes and contesting shots. Dellavedova dished out 10 dimes and only had a single turnover, in the last two games he has given out 19 assists while only turning the ball over once (!!). The Bucks desperately need him to show signs of life, and it looks like he’s slowly turning a corner.
  5. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe did not have great performances. Although Bledsoe put up 29 points, and Giannis added 26, they both looked off. Giannis looked out of synch, and confusingly enough, got almost no touches in overtime. Credit to the Raptors, though, they really made the Greek Freak work. As for Bledsoe, he was far too ball dominant at times and forced the issue on the offensive end. The Bucks need him to play with more poise if they want to compete with the top teams in the East.


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