The Toronto Raptors haven’t opened a season with three consecutive victories since 2004-05. It’s been even longer since they’ve won their first two on the road.
The Raptors look to accomplish both feats while trying to spoil the home opener for the new-look Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.
Toronto needed overtime to beat Golden State, 112-108 at home on Friday night and open 2-0 for the second straight season. The Raptors then lost three in a row, including their only loss of the season to Milwaukee - 112-85 at the Bradley Center on Nov. 6 - but still went on to win the Atlantic Division for the second time in three seasons.
Chris Bosh had 31 points with nine rebounds while Anthony Parker added 23 points and Jose Calderon 16 and 13 assists on Friday for Toronto, which hasn’t won consecutive road games to start a season since 1999-2000. The Raptors, who will play four of their next five on the road, were 16-25 away from home in 2007-08.
Coming off a season where he averaged career highs with 27.0 points and 11.0 rebounds, Bosh has 58 points and 20 rebounds while shooting 52.5 percent (21-for-40) so far. He sank a pair of free throws with 14.5 seconds left to force overtime.
“Toward the end of the game, Chris Bosh just took over, playing like the All-Star he is,” Golden State’s Stephen Jackson said. “He made plays and knocked down his free throws and there wasn’t too much we could do.”
After being held to one point and two rebounds in last November’s loss to Milwaukee, Bosh posted a pair of 32-point games on a combined 23-for-37 shooting in two victories in the Raptors’ most recent contests versus the Bucks.
Despite losing in their only visit to Milwaukee last season, the Raptors have won two of three versus the Bucks there.
While planning to wear its new alternate red jerseys, Milwaukee (1-1) also looks to build off its first victory under new coach Scott Skiles. The Bucks posted a 98-87 victory in Oklahoma City to spoil the Thunder’s home debut on Wednesday.
“We were just hoping that if they were playing on a lot of emotion early in the game that we’d be able to weather it,” said Skiles, who lost his Milwaukee debut 108-95 to Chicago—his former team—on Tuesday. “And they were. I think that probably sometimes these kind of events can weigh on the home team a little bit also and we were able to take advantage of it.”
Villanueva, who was drafted by and played one season with Toronto in 2005-06, added 12 rebounds, while Andrew Bogut had 14 points and seven rebounds.
“For one night at least, it came together well for us,” said Skiles of the Bucks, who return just six players from last season’s 26-56 team.
While Redd has 50 points in his first two games, Jefferson could be finding his form after recording 15 points and four rebounds in his Milwaukee debut.
Jefferson, the team’s biggest offseason acquisition after spending his previous seven seasons with New Jersey, averaged 21.0 points in four games against Toronto in 2007-08.