MILWAUKEE - Neither Rudy Gay nor DeMar Rozan were particularly sharp shooters Saturday night but both found other ways to contribute, especially on the defensive end, as the Raptors held off the Bucks for a 97-90 victory at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Gay finished with 18 points thanks in large part to an 8-for-10 effort at the free throw line. Rozan, too, was good at the stripe, making six of his eight attempts.
"They did so many other things for us," Toronto head coach Dwane Casey said. "For us to win, [Rudy] and DeMar have to continue to be playmakers as well as scorers."
Kyle Lowry finished with 14 points, Landry Fields added 13 and Amir Johnson had 11 but rebounds were the Raptors' biggest weapon Saturday, as the team combined to pull down 60 to just 38 for Milwaukee. They were especially dominant on the offensive glass, finishing with an 18-6 advantage and outscoring the Bucks 21-4 on second-chance points.
"Especially when the ball is not going through the hoop, we need second chance points," said Gay, who finished with a game-high 15 rebounds. "We need those hustle plays. Also, we moved the ball around awesome. It didn't look good but we got points."
The lackluster performance left a sour taste in the mouth of Bucks head coach Larry Drew, who was making his home debut.
"We gave them too many second opportunities," Drew said. "You can't win like that. I don't think we played well enough to win a game. We didn't deserve to win this game."
After rallying back from double-digit deficits in their first two games, the Bucks made a late charge again Saturday, but ultimately couldn't finish the job due to cold shooting.
The Raptors led 77-65 to start the fourth quarter, but Milwaukee stormed back and tied the score on back-to-back three-pointers from O.J. Mayo with six minutes to play.
The Bucks missed their next six shots from the field and three of four free throws before Caron Butler's layup with 2:09 remaining made it 91-88. But Milwaukee couldn't get any closer as the Raptors finished on a 6-2 run.
"We missed five of six at the line the last four minutes, missed a couple of fast-break opportunities that we have to convert," Mayo said. "Defensively, we have to help our bigs and get rebounds, especially against athletes like Toronto has. They really tore us up on the glass."
Playing without point guards Brandon Knight and Luke Ridnour, the Bucks again got off to a slow start and struggled from the field, shooting 44 percent and going 6-of-17 on 3-point attempts.
Mayo led Milwaukee with 16 points, Ersan Ilyasova added 14 with 6-of-12 shooting from the field and making both of his 3-point attempts.
John Henson scored 13 off the bench and Butler added 12 for Milwaukee (1-2).
"It was a rough game," Henson said. "It's a tough way to lose but we'll be back Wednesday and we'll get better."
Second-round draft choice Nate Wolters, making his second straight start due to injuries to Ridnour (back) and Knight (hamstring), played 36 minutes and finished with seven points and ten assists.
Toronto scored the last six points of the first quarter to take a 25-19 lead. After Milwaukee tied the score three times in the second quarter, the Raptors went into the break leading by five, 51-46.
Milwaukee got within two in the third quarter, but the Raptors followed with a 14-4 run and outscored the Bucks 20-10 in the quarter and led by 12 heading into the fourth.
NOTES: Raptors G Steve Novak was inactive because of tightness in his back. Novak, a native of nearby Brown Deer, Wis., played collegiately at Marquette University in Milwaukee. ... Mayo was held out of the starting lineup after arriving late for the team's shoot-around. Gary Neal started in place of Mayo, who apologized and said his tardiness was due to a miscommunication. ... The Raptors snapped an eight-game losing streak in Milwaukee. Their last road victory against the Bucks came on Nov. 1, 2008. ... Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo matched his season total with 17 minutes Saturday and was on the floor down the stretch despite head coach Larry Drew saying before the game that the 18-year-old rookie would see between 10 and 12 minutes per night as he gets acclimated to the NBA game.