Raptors 90, Bucks 77

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MILWAUKEE (AP)—Chris Bosh and T.J. Ford knew they’d let an opportunity slip away the previous night. Luckily, neither had to linger on their poor performances for long.

Bosh scored 30 points and tied a career-high with six blocks while Ford added 15 points and 10 assists to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 90-77 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday night, handing the short-handed Bucks their fourth straight loss.

“We carry the team,” Ford said. “We can’t have people shut us down.”

Toronto has won three out of four and are tied with New Jersey for the Atlantic Division lead after losing to the Nets 101-86 on Tuesday night.

Against New Jersey, Bosh had 12 points on 3 of 9 shooting, while Ford was held scoreless. The two hashed out what went wrong before playing Milwaukee.

“He came to me and I came to him and we were like, ‘Look, as we go, the team goes and we have to take on that type of attitude,”’ Bosh said.

Bosh missed his first two shots and the Raptors started 1-of-12 from the field. However, he hit his next eight shots—and finished 11-for-16 from the field—to help Toronto quickly erase an early double-digit deficit.

“Every time I have a bad game the night before, especially on a back-to-back, I am going to try and make a statement the next night,” said Bosh, who also finished with eight rebounds. “I just wanted to show my maturity, show we put last night behind us and we’re trying to move on.”

The Raptors starters, who combined for 29 points in the loss to the Nets on Tuesday night, reached that many with more than 4 minutes left in the first half on Ford’s free throw to give the Raptors a 44-41 lead.

Anthony Parker added 18 points and top draft pick Andrea Bargnani came off the bench and scored 11 for Toronto.

Milwaukee’s only healthy starter from its projected lineup this season, Andrew Bogut, had 17 points and a career-high 18 rebounds to lead five Bucks in double digits. Ruben Patterson added 17 points, while Ersan Ilyasova had 11 and Brian Skinner and Steve Blake had 10 each.

“It’s going to be tough now,” Bogut said. “Four of our five starters are out, Michael Redd for up to six weeks, Bobby (Simmons) for the season. There’s not a lot more you can say.”

Toronto went on an 11-0 run starting just before halftime to take a 59-46 lead early in the third quarter. It didn’t take much for the Raptors to maintain it.

Milwaukee hit just one field goal in a 7-minute stretch, finishing 5-of-19 from the field and 0-of-6 from 3-point range with five turnovers in the third quarter. The Bucks, who never got closer than eight points the rest of the way, set season lows for points in a quarter in the third (11) and in the second half (31).

“The second half went terrible,” Patterson said. “We couldn’t hit any shots.”

Milwaukee dressed 10 players including four rookies, and Bosh didn’t waste any time picking on the eight-man rotation. When rookie Ilyasova entered the game, Bosh easily outleaped him for a rebound and hit the putback to finish the first quarter with 12 points. Bosh also blocked rookie David Noel’s drive to the basket early in the second quarter.

“Chris controlled the paint,” Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. “One thing we love about Chris is he’s got a lot of pride in what he does, and he wants to be one of the better players in the league. He understands games like he had last night, when you have them you have got to bounce back.”

The Bucks are trying to bounce back after they lost guard Mo Williams for two to three weeks when he sprained his shoulder in the second quarter of a 104-92 loss at Denver on Monday night. The previous game, Redd, averaging 27.2 points, hurt a tendon in his left knee and will miss four to six weeks. Forward Charlie Villanueva missed his fourth straight game against the Raptors with right shoulder tendinitis and is expected out at least another week, while Simmons is out for the year with foot and ankle injuries.

The replacements for Redd and Williams, Blake and Charlie Bell, combined to miss 20 of their 25 shots.

“We can’t keep our head down because we’re missing Mike and Mo and everybody else,” Patterson said. “I mean, gosh, we’ve got to step up and hit shots and stay together.”

Notes

Ford, traded to Toronto from Milwaukee for Villanueva this summer, bolted into the Bucks’ locker room a little over an hour before tipoff to greet his former teammates and the Bucks personnel. He found former backcourt mates Redd and Williams in the training room getting treatment. … The Bucks made their first substitution of the game with 25.6 seconds left in the first quarter, and four Bucks played 40 minutes or more. … Milwaukee was 2-of-16 from 3-point range.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Toronto
C. Bosh C. Bosh
11-16,  30 Pts
8 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Milwaukee
A. Bogut A. Bogut
8-15,  17 Pts
18 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Jan 10