Raptors 111 – Milwaukee Bucks 90: Q4 steamroll


The Raptors were on the road again, and in a battle with the youthful Bucks. Balanced scoring led Toronto to another victory.

The Toronto Raptors had enjoyed a lead for much of the game, then surrendered it to the hometown Milwaukee Bucks. A Raptors lead, fashioned by points from everyone and fierce defense, had disappeared and the Bucks were ahead by seven with just over two minutes to play in Q3.

A silent bell rung inside the Raptors heads. From that moment to the final buzzer, Toronto outscored Milwaukee by an absurd 41-13. The fourth quarter was a 35-11 laugher, as an unlikely quartet dominated. Coach Dwane Casey was content to allow Terrence Ross, DeMarre Carroll (welcome back!), Patrick Patterson, Cory Joseph and Luis Scola to take control. When the Bucks eased back within six points, our All-Star backcourt returned. A Ross 3-ball was a dagger. The Raptors closed on a 15-0 run, after four more long balls.

Dec 26, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Toronto Raptors center Bismack Biyombo (8) blocks Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Carter-Williams (5) during the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Bismack Biyombo, looking more and more comfortable as the starting centre, had a double-double before intermission. His remarkable timing was in evidence again, as he outjumped taller Bucks time and again. His rim protection was superb, with four blocked shots and only two fouls.

The Raptors needed Big Biz to be strong. His substitute, Lucas Nogueira, endured another disappointing game. Bebe’s only impact on the scoresheet in 3+ minutes was two fouls.

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Providing an unexpected boost on the boards was Luis Scola. The oldest Raptor played more minutes than any of his mates, and contributed 11 rebounds and 17 points.

If you weren’t sold on the importance of ball movement prior to this game, you must be now. The Raptors racked up 31 assists on 42 field goals. Because so many were open looks, the team shot almost 52%, including a sparkling 44.8% from beyond the 3-point arc.

There was good news on another front. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, otherwise excellent, had 7 turnovers. The rest of the squad – one.

Patrick Patterson finally made a long ball. If he gets benched, he better not complain about not getting his chance to shoot. I do give him props for solid D and an unlikely five assists.

TRoss continued his ascendancy with 18 efficiently-gained points. That’s his sixth double-figure scoring game in a row, and his defense seems sharper to me as well. Three steals and no turnovers? More please.

The Bucks’ offense lacks outside shooting. They tried only 14 long balls, and five of the six that splashed were by Khris Middleton. They outscored the Raptors by just two points in the paint (44-42), and that’s not nearly enough to balance off their inability to establish a perimeter game. Michael Carter-Williams had four of his 13 shots blocked. While I think MCW has value, he can’t be a starter for a winning team. I understand why the 76ers dumped him, despite his Rookie of the Year status.

This game wasn’t the 48 minutes of near perfection we believe this Raptors team is capable of. But if we could bottle the fourth quarter, we’d challenge the ’95-96 Bulls.

Next: Is Christmas the time for Raptors to make trades?

The Raptors bussed(!)  to Chicago, where they will meet the Bulls on Monday night.