Raptors spoil Bucks’ home opener with 97-90 win

Rudy Gay finally put the Toronto Raptors on sure footing against

the Milwaukee Bucks.

Gay had 18 points and 15 rebounds, and DeMar DeRozan added 17

points and a few key baskets down the stretch to spoil Milwaukee’s

home opener, 97-90 on Saturday night.

”With Rudy rebounding the way he did, his length, his

athleticism – he did an excellent job with that tonight,” Raptors

coach Dwane Casey said.

Gay had another poor game from the field, going 4 of 14 to

follow an ugly 6-of-23 performance Friday night in a loss to

Atlanta.

He found other ways to contribute, like hitting 8 of 10 from the

free throw line and having his big game on the glass.

”I’m just trying not to be one-dimensional,” Gay said. ”I

still wanted to make an effort on defense and the glass … just

make myself be part of the game.”

Toronto snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Bucks, which was

the longest winning streak Milwaukee held over any opponent.

Toronto’s last win was 91-87 on Nov. 1, 2008.

The teams reunited just over a week after an exhibition game

between the teams was called off in the first quarter because of

slick court conditions.

The Raptors nearly let this win slip away after leading by 12

points to start the fourth quarter.

O.J. Mayo had 16 points off the bench for the Bucks, including a

3-pointer that tied the game at 85 with 5:53 left.

They just couldn’t convert on late opportunities, however,

including a stretch of 1-of-6 shooting from the free throw line in

a 4-minute stretch after tying the game. They also missed two 3s in

that span.

”I really felt if we just hung around hopefully we could

probably try to steal it, but we just didn’t make the plays down

the stretch,” coach Larry Drew said.

But the Raptors did, including a step-back jumper by DeRozan to

make it 89-85 with 4 minutes left.

Then after missing two free throws, DeRozan was fouled again

after corralling the rebound, making both this time with 2:09 left

for a five-point lead.

The Raptors controlled the paint early and outrebounded the

Bucks 60-38, and 18-6 on the offensive end. They had a 21-4 edge in

second-chance points.

And time and time again, Toronto made it a point to drive the

lane and get good ball movement.

”Everybody made a concerted effort to try to get the ball from

side-to-side and get everybody involved early,” said guard Kyle

Lowry, who finished with 14 points.

After the ball whipped around the perimeter, DeRozan hit an open

3 from the corner to help build a 77-65 to start the fourth.

But that deficit is nothing for the Bucks, who fell behind by 20

points in each of their first two games on the road, including a

rousing 105-98 win earlier in the week in Boston.

True to early season form, Milwaukee stormed back behind

frontcourt reserves John Henson (13 points) and Khris Middleton

(six), and a 3 from Mayo that tied it at 85 with 5:53 to go.

The buckets stopped falling from there and the defense trailed

off.

”Tonight, I thought defensively we weren’t tied into together

that last four minutes,” said Mayo, who said he didn’t start after

arriving late for practice, and apologized for his tardiness.

Caron Butler, a Wisconsin native playing his first home game

since being traded to Milwaukee in the offseason, added 12 points

and six rebounds.

The game featured all the typical theatrics of a home opener,

with a pulsing bass rattling the arena stands and the Bucks walking

individually out of the tunnel with the lights dimmed. The team

introduced its new coach and 11 new players.

But all that fun was spoiled by the Raptors.

Nate Wolters, a second-round draft pick, made his first career

start at the point because of a hamstring injury to Brandon Knight.

He finished with seven points and 10 assists.

NOTES: Besides Knight, the Bucks were also without PG Luke

Ridnour (back spasms). … Raptors G Steve Novak missed his

homecoming with a sore back. The seventh-year sharpshooter from the

Milwaukee suburb of Brown Deer went to Marquette. He was a freshman

on the 2003 team that went to the Final Four.

Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP