Raps vs. Bucks…

Games like last night’s are the kind you have to win. When a team like the Bucks has Michael Redd, Maurice Williams and Charlie V out of the lineup, those are the kinds of games where you should only have to play your starters in order to get a lead and then put in your subs to get some minutes. Those are also the kinds of games that are entirely too easy to lose.

The Raptors showed just how easy it would have been to lose that game last night in the first quarter, falling behind and looking sluggish on the ball, like a team that just played the night before sometimes looks. But since they mailed it in against the Nets, they couldn’t use that “back to back” excuse. You know things are off to a rocky start when Rasho fouls only 11 seconds into the game and picks up his second just over a minute in. Nice work. Yogi would be proud.

But let’s look at how this game started offensively for the Raps. Jump shot, layup, jump shot, jump shot, jump shot, jump shot and…(you guessed it) jump shot. ONE, yes ONE of those went in (Garbo’s jumper). Not how you want to start a game against a team missing key players. Here’s a strategy: when a team is missing key players, especially guys who can score and rebound, it may be worth taking it hard to the rack, so you can generate some foul opportunities and get your opponent into some serious bench rotation problems. Get this: the Bucks didn’t make their first substitution until there were 25 seconds left in the first quarter. WHA? Yeah, 25 seconds. That’s hardcore. That says how much a team is hurting, how much they are ready to be taken. This is not a team you want to start shooting jump shots against. It wasn’t surprising that when the Raptors started attacking more in the 2nd quarter and started going to the line, they started to pull away.

The good thing is that once the Raptors got going last night, they kept their foot on the gas or as a coach I had used to say, they stepped on their necks when they were lying on the ground. At least it wasn’t the Raps lying down last night, they got their sleep the night before.