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Bucks 112 Raptors 85: Recap

The Bucks trounced the the Raptors 112-85, defeating an Eastern Conference playoff contender for the second game in a row.

Three Bucks:

  1. Desmond Mason. Best individual performance of the year by a Buck. And it might take a while before someone tops this one.
  1. Mo Williams. Ran the offense beautifully.
  1. Michael Redd. Keeps piling up rebounds in addition to offensive contributions, now averaging six per game.

Three Numbers:

  1. Number of shots Mason attempted and made.
  1. Yi Jianlian blocks, one more than the Raptors had as a team.
  1. Number by which Andrew Bogut outrebounded Andrea Bargnani, Chris Bosh, Rasho Nesterovic, and Jorge Garbajosa combined. Bogut had 11 compared to 10 for the four frontcourt Raptors.

Three Good:

  1. The Bucks exploited matchups immediately, with Mason leading the charge by bullying Jason Kapono on his way to 11 first quarter points.  Say what you will about who should start at small forward, but Kapono sure brought out the jump in Mason’s step on this night.  And while he made a lot happen by himself in the first half, like jumping the passing lanes on defense and converting on a couple circus bank shots, their was great recognition by Mo Williams and company to feed his hot hand.  Mason wasn’t the only guy to get the ball back after scoring.  After Yi hit a jumper to close the first quarter, the Bucks went straight to him in the post to open the second quarter and were rewarded.  Bobby Simmons also scored a couple baskets in a row in the second quarter.  This balance provided refreshing contrast to the usual reliance on Redd.  Sure, the big first half had a lot to do with hot shooting, but it’s not quite that simple.  The Raptors were one of the top-ranked defensive teams in the NBA coming into the game.  In-game adjustments and deference made a big difference.  The Bucks didn’t push the ball because they couldn’t run a decent half court set (which they obviously could), they did it because their defense created opportunities and they were successful because big men like Bogut and Yi hustled down the court, giving them numbers.  The real test will come when everything isn’t falling on the offensive end.  If the Bucks can stay as composed in more trying times they’ll be in good shape.
  1. T.J. Ford was the big story coming into the game thanks to his great performance against the Celtics and the Villanueva trade subplot.  But the undisputed star on the Raptors is Bosh, who hadn’t scored 20 points in any game.  The Bucks figured to suffer guarding power forwards this year, relying mostly on the underdeveloped abilities of Yi and Charlie Villanueva.  This seeming mismatch didn’t favor the Bucks and set the script for Bosh to break out.   Yet he didn’t hit a shot from the field the entire game, shooting 0-4 with three turnovers, three fouls, and one point in 16 minutes.
  1. The Bucks kept the pedal firmly pushed to the floor despite a start so dominant that they were never in danger after the first 10 minutes.  After only one 25+ point quarter in their first twelve tries, the Bucks had three tonight and came up just a point short of 25 in the fourth quarter with the bench getting a lot of play.

Three Not-So-Good:

  1. Somehow Kris Humphries was made to look like a good offensive and defensive basketall player.
  1. Ditto Juan Dixon.
  1. The Bucks made only 11-16 (.688) free-throws.