Raptors vs Bucks: Leonard leads Toronto into Milwaukee
Raptors vs Bucks NBA odds spreads and predictions
When is it? Saturday January 5th
What time is tip off? 8:30 p.m. ET
Where is it being played? Fiserv Forum
Which channel is it on? NBATV
The Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks will square off in a battle of the Eastern Conference's two top teams.
In Toronto's last game, Kawhi Leonard finished with a team-high 21 points to go along with five assists, but the San Antonio Spurs came away with a 125-107 victory and ruined Leonard's homecoming back to San Antonio.
Lorenzo Brown contributed 15 points off the bench, and Serge Ibaka and Norman Powell added 14 points each for the Raptors.
Toronto (28-12) will look to bounce back on Saturday and take over first place in the Eastern Conference if it comes away with a win over Milwaukee.
Milwaukee (27-10), on the other hand, is coming off a dominating win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.
So, when the Raptors visit, the Bucks will be playing a second game of a back-to-back.
Khris Middleton had 19 points, four assists, and three steals, and Malcolm Brogdon finished with 19 points, three rebounds, and two assists for the Bucks in a convincing 144-112 victory over the Hawks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo contributed 16 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds, one steal, and two blocks for the Bucks in the big victory.
Raptors vs Bucks Spread
The Milwaukee Bucks are giving the Raptors 3.5 points in this basketball game.
I'm never a fan of taking teams in the second game of a back-to-back, even if they are playing at home.
Roll with the Raptors getting the points in this matchup. I believe Leonard and company will keep it close and ultimately come away with a victory.
Raptors vs Bucks Over/Under
The over/under is set at 221 total points in this matchup.
My final score prediction: Toronto Raptors 110, Milwaukee Bucks 105.
Take the under in this one.
Where the game will be won or lost
The key player in this matchup is Toronto's Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard led the Raptors in scoring for a fifth straight game with 21 points in their loss to the Spurs. Leonard has scored at least 20 points in 15 straight games as he is averaging 30.1 points and shooting 52.3 percent from the field.
The Raptors have been without Kyle Lowry (back) and Jonas Valanciunas (thumb) both of which are dealing with injuries. Toronto has had Leonard and Lowry in the same game only 21 times this season.
The Raptors are 16-2 this season when they shoot at least 35 percent from beyond the arc, compared to 12-10 when shooting below that mark.
The Bucks are winners of nine of their past 10, including their big win over the Hawks on Friday.
Milwaukee is 17 games over .500. The Bucks have won their past five games by at least 10 points, and they have won eight games by at least 20 points.
None of the Milwaukee starters played more than 22 minutes in its win over the Raptors, which could be important in a game that the Bucks need their best players to be fresh.