Milwaukee (1-0) at Toronto (0-1)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 63° F
  • Game info: 7:00 pm EST Fri Nov 3, 2006
  • TV: My24
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks meet for the first time since swapping promising young players in the offseason in a Friday night matchup at the Air Canada Centre.

Toronto acquired point guard T.J. Ford from Milwaukee on June 30 for forward Charlie Villanueva and cash.

Ford was a first-round draft pick by the Bucks in 2003 before he missed the 2004-05 season due to a spinal-cord injury. He returned last season, though, and averaged 12.2 points and 6.6 assists with Milwaukee.

Villanueva was drafted seventh by the Raptors in 2005, a selection widely panned at the time. The forward proved those critics wrong by averaging 13.0 points and 6.4 rebounds—the second-highest marks in both categories among rookies last season.

Villanueva had his best game as a Raptor against the Bucks, scoring a career-high 48 points in a 125-116 overtime loss March 26.

The deal seemed to be a case of both teams trading away players who fit better with their new teams.

The speedy Ford has been handed the responsibility of sparking Toronto’s new up-tempo offense, while Villanueva is playing power forward alongside fellow second-year player Andrew Bogut, the Bucks’ starting center.

Villanueva had 16 points and 12 rebounds in his Bucks debut, a season-opening 105-97 victory over Detroit. He shot just 6-of-21 from the field but raved about his new team’s defensive work.

“We played well as a team,” he said. “Our defense played well, which coach emphasized, and we rebounded well. Coach (Terry Stotts) emphasized since the beginning of training camp that he wanted to be a better defensive team and it is going to take all five guys on the court to be on the same page and we did that tonight, which is why I think we won the game.”

Michael Redd scored 37 points to lead Milwaukee and Bogut, returning from a lower left leg sprain, chipped in 16 on 7-of-10 shooting. The Bucks never trailed and led by as many as 14.

Ford also contributed immediately for his new club, although Toronto dropped its opener 102-92 at New Jersey on Wednesday. The point guard had 19 points and seven assists, and newcomer Anthony Parker added 22 points for the Raptors, who shot just under 40 percent.

The other new players for Toronto had much less of an impact. Spanish forward Jorge Garbajosa shot 1-of-8 and finished with two points, while top overall draft pick Andrea Bargnani had three fouls and two points in nearly nine minutes.

“I still feel confident,” Parker said. “We definitely have a lot of improvement to make, but I’m really happy with what I think we can do the rest of the season.”

The Bucks won two of three games against the Raptors last season, with the home team prevailing each time.

Toronto ended a nine-game home losing streak to Milwaukee on March 17, rallying from a 16-point deficit in the final six minutes of a 97-96 victory.

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Friday, Nov 3