On the Raptors: Raptors HQ | Raptors Republic
Raptors update. "The Dinos are coming off a surprising win against the Washington Wizards where they harmed their chances of getting a top draft pick." That's a sentence that applies only to the Milwaukee Bucks of our dreams. Toronto strung together two straight wins over lottery brethren Washington and Minnesota, with the latter win owing many thanks to DeMar DeRozan (25 points) and Rudy Gay (26 points). Toronto's success often ebbs and flows based off how their bench performs (34.4 ppg, 13th in NBA), but for all intents and purposes, the rest of the season is merely a way to test the Lowry-DeRozan-Gay-Valenciunas experience.
Slow starting. In their two previous matchups versus the Raptors this season, the Bucks have been outscored a combined 66-39 during the game's opening frame. Milwaukee rallied hard to win both games, surviving a Kyle Lowry triple double in the process and relying on hot streaks from Ersan Ilyasova and Monta Ellis to eek out victories that were far too close for comfort. Coming off Friday's loss to Carmelo Anthony, it's reasonable to expect the Bucks to take a quarter to find their legs.
Straight jackin'. If you love contested mid-range jumpers, this is the game for you. As pointed out by Raptors HQ after Toronto's win over the Timberwolves, Gay and DeRozan took 57 shots to score 62 points. Thirty of those shots were between the arc and paint. Too much bandwidth on this site has been used to discuss this trend among the Bucks' own backcourt, so I'll spare you agony now so you can experience all of it from 7:30 to 9:45 tonight.
Luck O' the Jurassic. In case you missed it, Dan Sinclair wrote a solid piece discussing luck's role in Milwaukee's success. As it happens, taking Pythagorean wins into account, the Raptors and Bucks are very similar, with Toronto's expected wins falling at 19th (32-44) and Milwaukee sitting right above at 18th (34-41). Now if the Bucks lose tonight, we have an easy fall-back excuse.