The seeding games inside the NBA’s Disney World bubble continued on Monday evening with a matchup between the highest two teams within the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, multiple stars were sitting out, including Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kyle Lowry, which really diminished the importance of this game. within the end, the Toronto Raptors cruised to a 114-106 convert the Milwaukee Bucks.
The role players ran the show for Toronto. Chris Boucher threw down a fantastic dunk and put up a career-high 25 points to steer the way, while seldom-used Matt Thomas came off the bench and took advantage of some extra minutes to pour in five 3-pointers on the way to a career-high 22 points of his own. Norman Powell, meanwhile, went for 21.
Playing without Giannis, who had to require a visit to the bubble dentist, the Bucks weren’t exactly in playoff mode. Kyle Korver checked in off the bench to hit five triples and score 19 points, but it isn’t an excellent sign when he’s the leading scorer at now in his career. As a team, they shot just 39.3 percent from the sector and didn’t exactly lock in on the defensive end.
Here are three key takeaways from this game:
1. Potential ECF preview in name only only
For the second straight season, these two teams finished with the simplest records within the Eastern Conference, and there is an honest chance they’ll meet within the Eastern Conference finals for a second straight season also. This game, however, was a possible preview in name only.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was out after he had to ascertain the dentist, while Kyle Lowry (back), Fred VanVleet (knee), and Serge Ibaka (knee) were all sidelined also. If that wasn’t enough, Wesley Matthews hobbled off the ground after just a couple of minutes and didn’t return, while Pat Connaughton also left the sport after hitting his head on the ground.
That’s six key players who missed either all or a number of this game, and it’s pretty hard to draw any meaningful conclusions when that is the case. Plus, both of those teams are already locked into their playoff spots, in order that they had nothing tangible to play for. All told, this was more like one among the scrimmage games than it had been a playoff matchup.
2. Matt Thomas takeover
Unless you are a diehard Raptors fan, you would be forgiven for not knowing about Matt Thomas. The 26-year-old rookie played sparingly for Toronto this season, and therefore the incontrovertible fact that he averaged four points on 10 minutes per game was honestly a touch deceiving considering he only played in 39 contests.
But with both Lowry and VanVleet out for this game, Nick Nurse called on Thomas to fill some minutes within the backcourt. He certainly took advantage, beginning ablaze and basically forcing Nurse to go away him certain 37 minutes. before this game, he had never played quite 22.
Thomas finished the night with 22 points and five 3-pointers, both of which were also career bests, and was a team-high plus-13 within the eight-point win. He earned his spot within the league due to his ridiculous shooting, so it wasn’t a surprise that he put it on display against the Bucks, hitting some really tough shots from downtown.
3. Injury concerns for Bucks
The Bucks haven’t really found their rhythm thus far within the bubble, and it might be good for them if they will figure some things call at a previous couple of seeing games, but the most goal for them at now is simply ensuring they’re healthy for the playoffs. thereto point, Monday didn’t go so well for them.
Giannis was out, but that was just a tooth thing he had to affect, and should not impact him longterm. However, just a couple of minutes into the sport, Wesley Matthews hobbled off the ground and didn’t return. Then, late within the last half, Pat Connaughton took a troublesome fall and slammed the rear of his head on the court.
According to head coach Mike Budenholzer, Matthews had a touch of discomfort in his thigh and groin area, and therefore the team is “hopeful that he is going to be OK,” but they’ll get to see how he responds tomorrow. As for Connaughton, Budenholzer said the “early reports are that he’s fine,” but like Matthews, the subsequent few days will really tell the story.