Taking control in the fourth quarter, the Raptors are now 5-1 in the preseason after a 104-95 win against Milwaukee in a completely empty arena in Toronto. They might go the whole year without winning five of six games that actually matter, but this preseason is still a silver lining for Canadian hoop fans. The Raptors will be better, showing last night they can protect the rim now. The Bucks shot 40 percent from the floor – in large part thanks to Brandon Jennings‘ 3-for-15 output, one of his customary “Brandon, stop shooting!” nights – and Toronto completely held down everyone outside of Ersan Ä°lyasova (19 points), Monta Ellis (26 points in the new Motorboat Jones IXs) and Mike Dunleavy (21 points… the rest of the team had 29 points) … On one possession in the second quarter, DeMar DeRozan (21 points) showed just how far (hopefully) he’s come. Isolated on an island against Ellis, DeRozan snuffed Ellis’ jump shot at the peak, took off downcourt, and then on a three-on-two fast break, took one dribble, stopped, pulled-up and canned a jumper. He looks so much more comfortable this season, and had a series of post moves on Beno Udrih that were gorgeous. Finally, after he’d skinned the tiny point guard enough, Milwaukee threw Dunleavy on him, and Straight Outta Compton went right around him with a baseline spin, drawing a foul in the process … At the end of the first quarter, John Lucas III hit a wild, double-pumping triple through a double team. It was a tremendous shot, but it was just a sniff of what the lil’ man provided for Toronto in the first half, taking his “Kobe Lucas” act to another level with consecutive three-point bombs and constant energy after Milwaukee had jumped out to an early lead. How did it take this guy so long out of college to find a spot in the league (first with Chicago, now with Toronto)? … Amir Johnson and Jose Calderon run one of the most underrated pick-n-rolls in the league. Johnson’s spent the entire preseason rolling to the rim and finishing on top of people’s heads, but in the second quarter of this one, he even stepped out and showed off some range. We’d say he’s ready to break out, but there’s some new Lithuanian cat who’s probably going to steal his minutes … Without Andrew “Frederick Douglass” Bynum, Philly still spoiled Carmelo Anthony‘s Syracuse homecoming, drubbing New York 98-90. They rode big nights from Thaddeus Young (22 points, eight rebounds, 10-for-12 from the floor) and Jason Richardson (23 points, seven rebounds, six assists, six triples), while ‘Melo forced up 23 shots for 23 points … And we dropped the 20 best trash talkers of all time yesterday. Take notes for the next YMCA open run … We’re out like all of Lance Armstrong‘s accomplishments.
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