Bucks 107 – Raptors 97
These Raptor losses almost write themselves:
- 1st Quarter – Raptors get out to an early lead by sharing the ball, moving it around, nice defense rotations and quality shooting from the floor.
- 2nd Quarter – The fire that drove the 1st quarter starts to fade. It’s a slow creeping fade, but enough that the 1st quarter double-digit lead has become a 2-3 possession game.
- 3rd Quarter – Due to some interesting line changes, the wrong people are on the court, and that 2-3 possession lead is now a 2 possession deficit. The things the Raptors were doing in the 1st have been long forgotten for no reason other then the Raptors stopped doing them.
- 4th Quarter – The wheels come off the wagon with a double-digit deficit. The Raptors make a run towards the end of the game, but that gets quickly thwarted, and the Raptors head back to the dressing room with their tails between theirs legs.
On the second night of the back-to-back, on the road, the effort wasn’t as bad as could be expected; much better then what we have become accustomed too from the start of the year. Bargnani continued his solid play since the curse of O’Neal was temporarily lifted being moved to the starting lineup, with his fourth solid game in a row. Getting the Raptors to an early lead by hitting a couple treys off of some ball movement and dribble penetration, grabbed a few boards (1 big offensive board that translated into two free throws made) and finding open shooters and cutters in the paint. He kept Mbah a Moute off the boards, dominating the match-up early. I would have liked to see him post-up a bit more in the 1st quarter, try to be all things on the the offensive end, but I was happy with the performance, especially considering it was the second night of a back-to-back.
I’m not drinking the kool-aid yet, but the way Bargnani has been playing lately, you can see what BC had in mind for this team. VL is a great compliment for Bosh. At the 5:26 mark, Bosh, backed his man down in the post, drew the double-team and kicked it out to Bargnani for the deep/open three. If these two guys can develop a solid chemistry…look out because they are both long, fast and athletic, and will be a match-up nightmare. For the first time in a couple years I am optimistic about this tandem, and hope for the sake of this franchise, and my sanity, that Bargnani lives up to the # 1 billing. Anyways, back to the game…
Voshkul continues to play ahead of Hump, and is quickly becoming my least favourite on this team. In a span of a couple minutes, he commits a couple fouls, travels, and goes 1 of 2 from the line. Does grab a rebound, or come close to grabbing one…and it’s not like he can keep up with Charlie V off the bounce either…confuse me?
Then the usual suspects started to rear their ugly heads in the second quarter:
- Dribble penetration
- Offensive rebounds
- Weak defensive rotations
Ramon Sessions was the spark in the 2nd quarter, he penetrated and kicked to open Buck shooters, hit his own open shots, got to the line, and I swear, I think I saw him blow some steam off his finger tips…frustrating. The Raptors committed 7 turnovers in the half, that translated into 12 points for the Bucks. Can’t do that on the road…the Bucks all of a sudden decided they were gonna push, and ran the ball back at the Raptors every chance they got. This opened up a lot of space for long jumpers, or when they were inspired, they threw the ball around a few times until Redd was done running around picks and screens for an easy J. A key to beating to the Raptors is attacking their transition defense. Far to often Bosh comes out to help, and no one rotates behind him leaving everyone to scramble like chickens until the team decides which open shot they want to take. The highlight of the second for me was an inbounds play at the 8:40 mark where Kapono inbounds the ball, curls around a low and high screen, takes the pass from Hump and sticks the jumper.
Milwaukee takes the lead in the 3rd off of some incredible shooting by Redd, who stuck DEEP treys, giving them a 1 point lead. Then all of a sudden, Lil Willie goes off, penetrating and kicking out to open shooters. The Raptors go on a 12-0 run to take the lead, Bucks timeout. Enter Charlie V, who along with Sessions and Redd, break down the defense, crash the boards, swing the ball around and engineer a 21-7 run to finish the quarter. Kapono got WAY too much burn in the 3rd. Not making any shots, turning the ball over, no rebounds…no real contribution. Guy sucks…trade him for some medical staff, maybe that way JO could join the team on the bench during game time.
Again, the Raptors fight back and take a 4 point lead…how? Simple, the ball was going through Bosh on offense. He took it when he had it, and when he didn’t, ball was moved around until someone did. Then this is what kills me…with the Raptors up 97-94 with two minutes to go, they stop getting the ball to Bosh. I’ll concede that they tried to get him the ball, but lets face it the Bucks aren’t a defensive juggernaut. If you can’t get the ball to Bosh, your worth to this team needs to be re-evaluated:
- With the score tied at 97, who gets the nod to take the go ahead shot? -> Will Solomon who misses an 18 footer, Bosh didn’t touch the ball on the play.
- With the Raptors down99-97, who gets the nod to take the tieing shot? -> Will Solomon who misses a 26 footer, Bosh didn’t touch the ball on the play
In fact, the only time he touched the ball in the last two minutes was when he inbounded the ball. With all that said, it was defense that cost them this one. The Raptors gave up too many open looks, transition defense was non-existent for long stretches of the game, defensive rotations were laughable after the 1st quarter, no one helped Parker when Redd came off screens, Charlie V went off un-checked, nothing. I’ll be honest, I am disappointed.