Raptors-Bucks Preview

The Associated Press

With a revamped backcourt, the Milwaukee Bucks entered the season uncertain of where they'd get their offense.

Slow starts and injuries aren't making things much clearer, but the results haven't been all bad as they enter their home opener Saturday night against the Toronto Raptors, a team they've beaten in 10 straight.

The Bucks (1-1) were slow out of the gate in Friday's 105-98 win at Boston, scoring 16 first-quarter points before rallying from a 22-point second-half deficit.

It came two nights after opening the season with a 31-point first half in a 90-83 loss to New York in which they momentarily overcame a 25-point hole.

"We have to figure this out, getting off to such a bad start," first-year Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "I've got to get my finger on it. Two straight games where we just got off to bad starts. It hasn't been great execution. We're just putting too much pressure on ourselves defensively."

With Monta Ellis signing with Dallas and Brandon Jennings traded to Detroit, the Bucks expect Luke Ridnour, Brandon Knight and O.J. Mayo to carry the backcourt load.

But Ridnour has missed both games with a sore back and Knight was out Friday with a strained right hamstring he suffered early in Wednesday's game.

Mayo played 22:46 and scored eight points on 2-of-9 shooting. Gary Neal moved into the starting lineup as the other guard and scored 14 after managing 16 off the bench against the Knicks.

A reserve has led the Bucks in scoring in each game. Zaza Pachulia scored a game-high 20 and grabbed nine rebounds against the Celtics while going 10 for 10 from the free-throw line.

No Bucks player logged 30 minutes while their bench accounted for 66 points two nights after scoring 54.

The Raptors (1-1) lost 102-95 Friday at Atlanta and missed out on their bid to start 2-0 for the first time since 2008-09.

DeMar DeRozan scored 31 on 14-of-23 shooting after going 6 of 19 for 13 points in the opener against the Celtics.

He scored 23 in the second half to help the Raptors cut an 18-point second-half deficit to six in the closing minutes.

"DeMar came in the second half and did a great job," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.

Fellow guard Kyle Lowry rounded out an efficient backcourt night for the Raptors with 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting and 3 of 5 from 3-point range despite working through a finger injury sustained in a preseason game Oct. 23 that is requiring a splint.

Small forward Rudy Gay suffered through a 6-of-23 shooting night and finished with 14 points.

In contrast to the Bucks' bench contributions, the Raptors got 15 points out of their reserves and have been outscored 52-36 in their first two.

They outrebounded the Celtics and Hawks by a 90-70 margin while the Bucks have been outrebounded 86-72.

The Bucks went 3-0 against the Raptors last season, including a 100-83 home win in the last meeting April 6, 2013. They held DeRozan to 35.2 percent from the floor in the three meetings.

Toronto's last win in the series was a 101-96 victory Jan. 22, 2010.

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