Win number 4 will not be as easy with no Jose Calderon who did not take the trip and Andrea Bargnani a no go with his bad ankle. Jack and Rasho the two former Pacers enter the line-up. The task becomes a little tougher in terms of depth. However I actually like both match-ups better on the defensive end for the Raptors. Jack should be able to stay in front of Jennings and Rasho can bang with Bogut. Bucks have an impressive home record of 7-3. Should be fun.
Or...maybe not. That is unless you were tuning in to check out Brendon Jennings who was just fantastic. He would catch fire at the end of the first quarter and really that would be it. We could go through the entire blow by blow of things but the short answer is the Raptors regressed back to the team they were prior to that meeting in Washington. Chris Bosh had his league leading 20th double double but he was about the only Raptor on his game at all offensively. The defense was back to being offensive. Ex-Raptor Roko Ukic would end up out scoring everyone not named Bosh on the Raps roster. He had 17 points in the game and that was his season high for the Bucks this year. The Bucks rolled and it was never in doubt after that end of the first quarter surge by Jennings as he had 22 points before leaving the game late with an injury at the end of the 3rd. The Bucks who struggle to reach 90 most nights would pour in 117 and that was more than enough for the 117-95 win.
It was a clear regression on behalf of the Raptors. True they did play without Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani. However not to many people have been praising Jose or Andrea for their defense of late have they? That being said anytime Marcus Banks hits the floor should be a red alert that things are not good. Banks was slightly improved with 2 points or 3 assists. But that is no where close to the production that you need from your back up point guard. He was 0-3 from the field and took 2 three pointers in his 3 shots missing both.
Even Demar DeRozan who started this game looking like he would be off to another good night he fizzled out early scoring just 8 points snapping a streak of games with double digit points. Jack was decent on offense but is D was lacking. They now keep +/- in the NBA and Jack was a minus 19 which topped the team. Not suggesting it was all his fault but he sure wasn't part of the solution. In fact on the defensive end there was not anyone that jumps off the page as part of that solution.
Cue the impending doom like music...Next up for the Raptors....The Atlanta Hawks. That team that put up 146 points not so long ago. At least it is not in Atlanta that may help slightly. If you think the Hawks have cooled off any...not so much. They played last night as well and kicked around the Bulls 118-83. So the question will become was this like having a slip on a diet for the Raptors? Eating a Ice Cream Sundae and then getting back on the straight and narrow in terms of playing defense. The game against the Hawks should give us a strong indication win or lose.
The only other point I want to make is once again Hedo Turkoglu was no where close to playing at the level his contract suggests. I was reading yesterday that according to Forbes the Bucks as a franchise are the cheapest in terms of value in the NBA. The empty seats last night showed you why. The number for the Bucks was like 252 Million I think and we are going to pay Hedo 53 million which is roughly a 5th of what it would cost to buy the Bucks. At this point the Bucks seem like the investment with upside. Hedo has been a shadow of himself and really has been one of the bigger disappointments of this season.