With a 116-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks tonight, the Toronto Raptors have improved to third in the Eastern Conference moving ahead of the Atlanta Hawks for the moment being. The Raptors put forth a very professional effort tonight against one of the league’s worst teams. If the Raptors want to earn the respect of their peer group, than the Raptors must continue to put away sub .500 teams with conviction. Kyle Lowry led the Raptors in scoring with 23 points to go along with 4 steals and 5 assists. Jonas Valanciunas also had a big game finishing tonight’s contest with a strong double-double of 17 pts and 10 rebs. The Raptors extended their winning streak to three games after playing the Bucks and hope to continue their winning ways against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
I think as Raptors fans, we’ve been spoiled with the quality of basketball the Raps have been playing as of late. Being able to consistently hang with the NBA’s elite talent has really thrown how far the Raptors have come into perspective. After the dominant first quarter displayed by the Raptors, there was no doubt in my mind that this game would result in a win for Toronto. However, when you watch a Raptors game; no lead is safe (exemplified by Toronto’s 2nd quarter effort). The Raptors played great team game dishing out 26 assists on 50.6% shooting on their way to putting up 116 points on 50.6% against a sorry Milwaukee defence.
Ersan Ilyasova; once a Raptor killer, always a Raptor killer. If it wasn’t for Ilyasova’s life support, this grade might be a little higher for Toronto. Anytime the Raptors had the opportunity to put the game away, Ilyasova would hit a big shot sparking these unnecessary mini-runs giving a virtually dead deer, life again. Holding Milwaukee to 42.7 % shooting is a positive, but those mental lapses( like the one that occured for all of the 2nd quarter) can not happen if the Raptors want to be taken seriously.
Tonight the Raptors were able to keep Milwaukee’s glass eaters at bay for the most part. Larry Sanders was held in check as he continues to try and regain his form. The Bucks front court is very shallow, so the Raptors should have dominated this category, however what the Bucks lack in size, they make up for in heart. The Raptors out rebounded the Bucks 46-40, and were able to head into cruise control to finish the game.
Game Ball: Kyle Lowry
Once again tonight’s game ball goes to future All-Star Kyle Lowry. Another game, and another great effort was demonstrated by the Raptors floor general tonight. Lowry put together another complete game leading the Raptors on both the offensive and defensive end of the court abusing Brandon Knight in the process. Lowry finished with a line of 23 points, 5 assists, 4 steals and an uncharacteristic 2 rebounds. His leadership, and confidence is clearly rubbing off on others and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The key to the Raptors continuing their success is Lowry; for with him we rise. Without him we fall.
Other Things of Note:
The Raps scored 38 points in the first, and lost their sense of urgency in the 2nd.
Since when did DeMar DeRozan become so angry at the world? Now when the ref misses something, he starts charging towards them. Things are good, the team is winning and you’re mad? Calm down bro, leadership is more than arguing for a call.
Clearly John Henson didn’t read the scouting report. It reads: don’t jump when Valanciunas pump fakes.
The Raptors slept through the second quarter, I wanted to take a nap with them
Toronto came out over aggressive after the half to compensate for a weak 2nd quarter.
There was a point where I mistook Greivis Vasquez for Jose Calderon and almost shed a tear. Hold me.