Monta Ellis, Alan Anderson

Bucks 92, Raptors 86

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Raptors, undermanned, competed and lost a close game. They had a five-point lead at the half and after three quarters, but the Bucks came back in the fourth, as they often do.

  • It surprised me how slowly Milwaukee started, considering it needed a win to keep its playoff hopes alive. Brandon Jennings was great in the first, pressuring Ben Uzoh on defense and attacking him at every opportunity on offense, but the rest of the team was flat. Just about halfway through the quarter, the Bucks were down 14-6. Jennings had 11 of his team’s 17 in the period.
  • The whole “keeping their playoff hopes alive” thing? Yeah, didn’t happen. Milwaukee got the win, but Philadelphia’s win in New Jersey put the Bucks out of contention.
  • Toronto managed 16 points in the paint in that first quarter, but only 12 points in the paint in the entire second half.
  • James Johnson was unquestionably the best Raptor on the court. The line: 22 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, two blocks, one steal, 10-for-21 shooting. He mixed it up, scoring inside and outside, in the halfcourt and in transition. 21 shots is obviously way more than he can usually be expected to take, but I don’t see this as a bad thing. He’s not hesitating on his jumper in the slightest and has been playing with a ton of confidence over the last five games. Johnson started for the first time since March 26 and played 41 minutes, the most he’s played in a month. I like the look of the starting lineup with him at the four spot in a lot of matchups. Let’s see if Dwane Casey sticks with it on Thursday.
  • DeMar DeRozan was ejected in the second quarter and finished the game with just four points in 15 minutes. He was called for traveling on a drive, then threw the ball from one side of the court to another instead of giving it to a referee. I understand frustration setting in after three losing seasons, but it was an immature thing to do. While I’m not going to make this into a big thing, it was disappointing. There’s just one game to go now — hope DeRozan finishes the season on a high note against the Nets.
  • Milwaukee was cold early in the third quarter and Toronto actually built a 14-point lead, then the Raptors got jump shot-heavy and the Bucks went on a 10-1 run.
  • Ersan Ilyasova was big on the boards all night, but was practically invisible on offense until the fourth quarter. He had no points in the first half, six in the third quarter and then went nuts in the fourth with 13 points on 4-for-5 shooting. This was necessary, as Jennings as Monta Ellis had gone cold. Ellis had 13 in the first half but missed all seven of his shots in the second, while Jennings shot just 3-for-13 after halftime.
  • Alan Anderson had a pretty hideous line, with 11 points on 3-for-13 shooting, zero rebounds and four turnovers. But effort was there on defense for 42 minutes and I continue to want to see him around next season. Even if he isn’t, though, he’s earned himself a roster spot somewhere in the NBA.
  • The Raptors had a 79-77 lead with four minutes to go, then the Bucks went on a 7-0 run in a minute and a half and that was basically the game.
  • In the fourth, Toronto turned it over nine times. One of those was a rare five second backdown call against Anderson. Do not remember the last time I saw that call. Toronto also committed 12 fouls in the fourth, so the Bucks shot 14-for-17 from the line in the final frame. The Raptors shot 14-for-18 all game. This is how you lose while holding a team to 37.2% shooting.
  • Kind of sad that the Bucks failed to make the playoffs. They didn’t really show it in this game, but their passing has made them one of my favorite teams to watch on League Pass. For the second straight year, they’re finishing ninth in the East. That isn’t where you want to be.