Alright – so everyone ready?
With what seemed like a much-needed break in the action, Toronto now looks to close out its season with five games in eight nights. The line-up isn’t exactly the Western Conference, but it’s a grind nonetheless for a team that’s been so inconsistent this year. And with playoff seeding still on the line, it’s imperative to stack up some wins starting tonight with Milwaukee.
So what’ll it take to get a win?
A whole new team? Sam Mitchell lacing them up?
How about the same things we’ve been talking about for what seems like a month now, starting with some desperation.
1) One and Done. Milwaukee is coming off an overtime loss to a Boston team that rested all of its big guns. Yep, that means the fatigue factor comes into play for the Bucks tonight and there should be no excuse for the Raptors not to jump on this team early. More importantly, it’s time to see this Toronto team playing with a sense of urgency. That doesn’t just mean urgency in each of the final games, but drilling down to making each possession count.
2) Bench Play. Some of the current Bucks starters would be bench players on good teams which means that a bench with the likes of Michael Ruffin and Royal Ivey doesn’t exactly instil fear in opponents. Toronto’s bench has really struggled of late and tonight the Raptors need them to be sharp and give the team a boost. This is an area in which Toronto should have a distinct advantage and the team can’t afford to have players like Delfino and Kapono combine for 0 points.
3) Rebound, rebound, rebound. This is the one area that really concerns me tonight. Andrew Bogut, Charlie V, even Yi, Simmons and Mason can all rebound the ball. The Raps can’t allow these guys to get offensive rebounds tonight as waiting on the perimeter players like Michael Redd will make Toronto pay for giving them extra possessions. Even in their recent losses the Raptors have actually held their own on the glass, and that needs to continue this evening.
There’s not much more to say is there? The team needs to simply go out and get the job done and I think they will tonight.
I’m expecting a win, and maybe nothing to keep permanently in your PVR, but a win nonetheless over a Milwaukee team that has had yet another disappointing season. If Toronto can notch a W tonight, then maybe they get a little momentum going down the home stretch. And this is the perfect game to get that momentum going as the combination of 3 days rest, home court, and the Bucks playing a back-to-back should be all the ingredients necessary for a Raptors' victory.
Let’s put it this way. If Toronto with all of its starters playing, can’t beat a Bucks’ team that lost to essentially the Celtics’ bench last night, then we’ve got big problems come playoff time.