Does anyone remember when the Bucks vs. the Raptors felt like a real rivalry. Now, I know this will be the second time in as many pre game blogs, but again I remember when Ray Allen and Vince Carter led their teams and always seemed to be in the same conversation. There was the controversy over the Olympic selection and you had two teams that seemed to be battling for one of the top 4 spots in the East. The games were chippy and hard fought. It really felt like a true rivalry and not forced and I was always curious to see how it’d play out in the playoffs if we ever met.
Really, these two teams recent histories are somewhat similar. The Bucks got the number 1 pick in the 2005 draft and didn’t see the need to draft a guard (Paul and D. Williams are chosen later) or a forward in the highly touted (then) Marvin Williams. They choose Andrew Bogut, a centre with some raw skills but something to build around. Toronto, in 2006, choose a centre as well, Andrea Bargnani. A guy who we were told had the skill set of Dirk and would be just as impactful. Interesting debate…who’d you rather have? Bogut, a guy who can defend, rebound but is somewhat limited offensively or Bargnani a guy who can’t defend and rebound but has offensive upside.
The Bucks come in injured with Brandon Jennings still injured but, they got a Corey Maggette back as they beat the Hawks a few nights earlier. They play with a lot of grit. You really can’t dislike players like Mbah a Moute, Ilyasova and Bogut. Tough players, who work hard. I’m also really liking Larry Sanders (no, not the comedian). He’s got a nice pick and pop game and while he isn’t a great perimeter scorer if we leave him open and let him shoot he could do some damage. Also, he’s proven to be a blocking threat this year averaging just under a block and a half per game.
With the Raptors, well, the injuries aren’t really a surprise to anyone. Sonny is still hurt, Reggie still not back and Barbosa is still day to day with his hamstring. Bargnani hopefully is recovered fully from the flu and flu like symptoms. DeRozan could have a tough night tonight. The Bucks, under Skiles, have become a very solid defensive team and considering our lack of offensive weapons, or well, being reliant upon two weapons, I could see it being a long night.
In the end, I see a pretty boring game taking place, which is rare for a Friday game. Personally, I love Friday games, at least in person. They’re fun times. The crowd is usually relaxed. After the game, it’s nice to go out into the town and enjoy all that’s around you. But, I can’t help but feel that with the Raptors losing streak and well a game that has a good chance of being somewhat boring and maybe even a big loss, could take the steam out of the crowd.
Have a happy Friday everyone!