Oh. Canada. (photo via flickr)
Nov. 1: Raptors 91 @Bucks 87
Jan. 5: @Bucks 107 Raptors 97
Jan. 30: Bucks 96 Raptors 85
Raptors: Andrea Bargnani (sore left foot) is probable. Marcus Banks (right big toe) and Kris Humphries (fractured right fibula) are out.
Bucks: Michael Redd (torn ACL and MCL) and Andrew Bogut (stress fracture in lower back) are out. Luke Ridnour did not travel with the team because of back spasms.
On the road again. Milwaukee would be in better shape catching Toronto at the BC -- the Raps haven't won a road tilt since April 10 -- but they can't complain too much about traveling to Toronto, where the Raptors are a docile 14-20. That is the second worst home record in the East for the team which also happens to hold the second worst overall record in the conference. Toronto is coming off a blowout home win over the Clippers, but this clearly stands as one of the most winnable games the rest of the way for Milwaukee. Every road games is difficult, but this is the only team with a sub-.500 home record that Milwaukee faces away from home the rest of the season.
Scouting Raptor-Report. Offensively, Toronto plays in between the paint and the three point line. Over half of their shot attempts are two-point jumpers; Detroit is the only other club that can make that claim. Milwaukee must close out on shooters, because tonight's opponent converts jumpers at a relatively high rate: 41.4 %, fourth in the NBA. Jose Calderon, Jason Kapono, Anthony Parker, and Andrea Bargnani are some of the best of this bunch in this regard. Although clearly different in style, the Raptors (103.6 points / 100 possessions) and Bucks (103.7) are almost identical in terms of offensive efficiency.
Same scorers. CV has led the club in points in four of the previous five games, and either Villanueva or Richard Jefferson has led the Bucks in scoring for 17 consecutive games. Milwaukee is 6-11 in that span, dating back to Feb. 11. Sessions has scattered a few 20+ point efforts in that time, but he is struggling to convert around the basket of late, which I had noted in the Portland preview by citing his decline in free throw attempts this month. After those three players, the Bucks don't have anything even resembling a consistent offensive option. While Ramon is indeed slowing, Sessions is still far outshining Luke Ridnour this month. Consider their March numbers below:
March PG Comparison
|MIN||PTS||REB||AST||TO||FG% / 3PT% / FT%|
|Sessions||28.8||12.3||4.1||7.1||2.2||.418 / .333 / .857|
|Ridnour||23.0||7.8||3.1||3.2||2.0||.315 / .316 / .947|
People's expectations have changed a lot, but one player still looks like more of a recent disappointment than the other based on that. In any event, neither is offering a lot of offense lately. Though there had been hints that Ridnour might reclaim the starting spot, he won't even be available tonight because of back spasms.
So, who else can step up? Charlie Bell is probably the only other hope. He was rather excellent in February, but is shooting 1-12 (.083) in the past three games. Yes, that three at the buzzer against Boston constitutes his only basket. Eleven more games (in which the Bucks probably must go at least 7-4 to have a playoff chance) without Redd or Bogut is a tall order for a team short on players.