NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 5th (All times Eastern)
Toronto Raptors (44-32) at Milwaukee Bucks (14-62), 8:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors hope to move closer to an Atlantic Division title and the third seed in the Eastern Conference when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday at the Bradley Center.
The Raptors are 2 1/2 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets in the division standings with six to go and sit even with the Chicago Bulls for the No. 3 spot in the East.
Toronto defeated one of the NBA's finest, the Indiana Pacers, Friday night by a 102-94 score at Air Canada Centre thanks to Terrence Ross' 24 points. Jonas Valanciunas had 22 and DeMar DeRozan chipped in 20 points and nine assists for the Raptors, winners in two straight and five of six games.
The Raptors played without point guard Kyle Lowry, who missed his second straight game with a bruised left kneecap. Forward Amir Johnson was also out with a sore ankle that forced him to leave Wednesday's win over Houston after just three minutes.
"We have to prepare like they're not going to be there," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "We have to prepare to make plans with the people that are healthy and are going to be available. That's the NBA. ...
"We've been lucky not to have major injuries, knock on wood."
Toronto has a 20-18 road record this season and lost its last away game at Miami on March 31.
Milwaukee has the worst record in the NBA at 14-62 and has lost four straight and 12 of the last 13 games. It will begin a three-game homestand Saturday versus Toronto, Indiana and Cleveland, and is 9-28 as the host.
The Bucks are coming off Friday's 102-90 setback to Chicago in the finale of a three-game road trip (0-3) and received 22 points from Brandon Knight and 21 out of Jeff Adrien. Ramon Sessions and Zaza Pachulia scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, for the Bucks, who shot a decent 46 percent and trailed 27-15 after the first quarter. Chicago scored 31 points in the third stanza.
"Getting down to a team like that is tough to come back because they continue to play hard and don't let up," Knight said. "They don't make many mistakes."
Milwaukee is 0-2 against Toronto this season after winning the previous 10 matchups between the teams. The Raptors have struggled recently at the Bradley Center, losing 11 of the past 15 visits there.
04/05 10:32:51 ET