Saturday 5th January 2019

Event of the Day: Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors

Our event of the day is the NBA fixture between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors at the Fiserv Forum. The Bucks and the Raptors are 1st and 2nd in the Eastern Conference respectively. The Bucks are starting to pull away from the pack while the Raptors are trying to stay ahead of competitive teams like the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. The Bucks have beaten the Raptors twice so far this season so expect an exciting match between these two sides. As the NBA season reaches the halfway mark, the Bucks have begun to pull away in a competitive Eastern Conference. The star of the show for Milwaukee remains Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak recently received his second straight Eastern Conference Player of the Month award and currently leads the Eastern Conference All-Star voting. The 24-year-old, who began his career playing for Filathlitikos in Greece’s semi-professional third division, is a testament to the heights that can be reached with a unique, unquestionable talent. However, while Antetokounmpo leads the team, he does not carry them. Khris Middleton is the team’s impressive three-point shooter while Eric Bledsoe is the go-to player for assists and steals. A team can have an Antetokounmpo, the star that brings in the fans. However where teams often struggle, and where the Bucks shine, is giving that player a team of compatible talent to support them.

However, don’t expect the Bucks to take their foot off the gas. This season, they will look to break the first-round curse that has plagued them since their foundation. They last progressed past the first round of the playoffs in the 2000-01 season and have since been eliminated in 8 first rounds. However, if any Bucks team is going to reach the team’s first NBA Finals since the 1973-74 season, it is this team. Meanwhile, the Raptors, who are second behind the Bucks, are feeling the heat of teams like the 76ers, Pacers and Celtics. Toronto are 5-5 in their last 10 games and travel to Milwaukee after Kawhi Leonard’s San Antonio homecoming was soured by a booing crowd and a 127-104 loss for Toronto in their most recent match. Despite the recent downturn, the Raptors are still expected to be a top-4 seed when the playoffs roll around in April. However, given how tight the Eastern Conference is, Toronto would much rather be a 1st or 2nd seed, playing a team like the Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets or Detroit Pistons, rather than a 4th seed and playing a team like the 76ers or Celtics. The Bucks and Raptors have met twice already this season, with the Bucks taking both matches convincingly, so expect yet another exciting match between these two sides.

Honourable mentions around the globe go to the Hopman Cup, where Germany faces Switzerland in the final of this international tennis tournament. Germany made short work of an upstart Australian side in the final match of Group A. Switzerland will have a chance to defend their 2018 title after they overcame Greece in the final match of Group B. Both teams will want to start off the tennis season well so expect a hard-fought day of tennis today. Elsewhere, in the NFL, the Houston Texans host the Indianapolis Colts at the NRG Stadium in the first AFC Wild Card game. The Colts made the playoffs after an all-or-nothing win over the Tennessee Titans in the final game of the season. Meanwhile, the Texans won the AFC South and will look to overcome their division rivals. It’s sure to be a thrilling game in Houston. Manchester United host Reading in the FA Cup. In the NHL, the St Louis Blues welcome the New York Islanders to the Enterprise Center. In Pro14 Rugby, Leinster host Ulster.

Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!

Fixture

Photos by NBA

 

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