Kawhi Leonard is sitting out tonight’s game to rest and Giannis Antetokounmpo is in the NBA’s concussion protocol. I fully understand what the Raptors are doing to preserve their star for the long haul after so many playoff heartbreaks. Obviously with everything we’ve learned with concussions the Bucks should take every precaution with the Greek Freak. Nevertheless, I wish this was a full-strength heavyweight match.
The Bucks and Raptors are both 6-0. As ESPN’s Malika Andrews noted via Elias Sports, tonight is “the first time in NBA history that two teams enter with a record of 6-0 or better.”
I am a big Bucks fan and I had this day circled on my calendar since last week! I was going to pay more attention to it this evening than to Monday Night Football. One game in October of course does not mean much in the grand scheme of things but I thought it would be a nice litmus test of where these two teams stand compared to each other, and get a sense in my head if either really could knock off the Celtics in the East.
The NBA is a little less top-heavy than in years past, but it remains the case that there are 4-5 other teams you really want to see how your team stacks up against. The Raptors were one of them for the Bucks and it stinks that circumstances have made it so the two best players are missing the game.
Last week, I had a great conversation with ESPN NBA announcer Ryan Ruocco, and he is really high on the Raptors chances of winning the conference: