At the beginning of the season, most of us thought tanking would be the best option.
And all without Demar DeRozan, who was given the night off by coach Dwane Casey.
At the start of the game, the Atlantic Division champs banner was raised and it seemed to inspire the troops, especially Greivis Vasquez and Kyle Lowry. The Raps tightened the defense, only allowing the Bucks to limited shot opportunities. Toronto came out strong and led the first quarter 32- 19 and Vasquez was five of five from three-point land.
Toronto maintained their lead throughout the second quarter. Lowry constantly drove to the net and kicked it out to open players such as Vasquez and Terrance Ross. It was one of the main strategies to break down the Bucks defense and it worked like a charm. Jonas Valanciunas played like a beast once again tonight as well. He went up strong against the Bucks' interior players, and never shied away from contact, even though it might have cost him a couple offensive fouls.
The first half finished with the Raptors leading the game 59-46. Vasquez led all scorers with 17 points, and 6 assists. Lowry pitched in with 8 points. Overall, Toronto shot 48%, and knocked down 30 points from the long-range compared to Milwaukee's mere 3 points.
To begin the third quarter, Vasquez and Lowry really showed the beauty of having two guards on the floor. The passes were sharp, and the Raptors were playing great team offense, which led to easy baskets. The Bucks did mount a bit of a push but for every basket they scored, the Dinos seemed to answer.
Unfortunately the Raps let their guard down a bit in the fourth quarter and Milwaukee managed to get Toronto's lead down to six. But that's as close as things got and Kyle Lowry took the bull by the horns to push the Raptors lead back up to double-digits. Lowry was constantly making contact every time he drove to the net, something Jack Armstrong noted would be extremely necessary come playoff time.
And therefore when the final horn sounded, Lowry finished with 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists and Vasquez finished with 25 points, 7 assists, and 2 rebounds.
And more importantly, the Dinos got a much-needed win, not only for the franchise record mark, but also to keep pace with the Chicago Bulls, who bumped off the Orlando Magic tonight.
Jonas Valanciunas made his 25th double double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Nando de Colo: please never again pick up the ball right after you pass the centerline. Let's not have any trap issues thank you.
The best sequence of the night, Lowry hitting Vasquez on the run, and Vasquez making the extra pass to Amir Johnsonfor the dunk.
Sarah's eye: Nando de Colo looks a bit like a mini Valanciunas