A valiant fourth-quarter comeback by the Toronto Raptors to overcome an 8-point fourth-quarter deficit was spoiled by the Milwaukee Bucks’ hot shooting in overtime. Alan Anderson broke Larry Sanders’ ankles on an inspired drive and slam-dunk to tie the game with less than 2 seconds to play. However, the hometown Bucks hardly missed in the 5 minutes of OT, pouring in 18 points and handing the Raps their fourth straight defeat. Milwaukee has now beaten Toronto in each of their last 8 meetings.
Rudy Gay was scratched due to back spasms just before tip-off, so coach Dwane Casey inserted Andrea Bargnani into the starting lineup, giving the disappointing Italian big man yet another chance to rebuild his shattered confidence. AB was not a disaster, though his days of reliable shooting appear long gone. He was 4-of-14 from the field, including an increasingly rare 3-ball, to total 11 points. He added 7 rebounds and 2 blocked shots in 33 minutes.
Kyle Lowry deserves a major shout-out for achieving a triple-double in a minimalist fashion: exactly 10 each of points, rebounds and assists. He also committed six turnovers, a glaring problem for him which no doubt hastened his departure from Memphis and Houston.
Anderson led the Raps with 21 points off the bench, though the applause must be tempered by noting he was just 1-of-8 from behind the 3-point arc. John Lucas had no such problem, missing only one of five attempts on his way to 16 points in 17+ minutes. Amir Johnson enjoyed a dandy game, needing only 11 shots to score 19 points, and grabbing 9 rebounds.
For the Raps, the chances of playing postseason games have been all but extinguished with this defeat. They lost to the team they must catch, one which is enjoying a 3-game win streak, while the Raps are stuck in reverse. Toronto heads out on a western swing of 3 games in which they will need to run the table – and even that unlikely result may be nowhere near enough.
Up first: Golden State on Monday night.
Brian Boake is a co-editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.