Game Day: Raptors vs. Bucks

NBA.com Preview | Game Notes

Probable Starters

TOR – Jerryd Bayless (G), DeMar DeRozan (G), James Johnson (F), Andrea Bargnani (F), Aaron Gray (C).
MIL–
BrandonJennings (G), Carlos Delfino (G), Tobias Harris (F), Ersan Ilyasova (F), Drew Gooden (C)

Key Injuries

TOR – Jose Calderon (right ankle sprain) out
MIL
Stephen Jackson (sore right hamstring) – day-to-day, Shaun Livingston (left ankle sprain), Luc Mbah a Moute (right knee soreness) – day-to-day, Andrew Bogut (left ankle fracture) – out.

A Costly Loss

Jose Calderon suffered a nasty ankle sprain against the Pistons on Saturday night and while the point guard tried to downplay the extent of his injury post-game, he has been ruled out for tonight’s game.

The Raptors just welcomed back their leading scorer in Andrea Bargnani, but how will they fare without their season’s most consistent performer?

If Calderon misses any significant period of time, that gives Jerryd Bayless a prime opportunity to show what he can do with extended minutes as the team’s starting floor general. With Anthony Carter reportedly no longer with the team, Gary Forbes will also likely be the beneficiary of more minutes at point guard. He offered an interesting glimpse towards the end of Saturday’s blowout loss with 12 points and two assists in 16 minutes of work.

Shaking Off The Rust

Saturday certainly didn’t provide a fair gauge of Bargnani in his latest return from a left calf strain. After missing 26 of the last 28 games because of the injury, the big man understandably showed some rust and looked somewhat out of rhythm with his offence before head coach Dwane Casey shut him down after the game got out of reach in the third quarter.

But there were undoubtedly some flashes of the wizardry that the forward displayed in 13 games earlier this season, so keep an eye on how he builds on that performance this evening — particularly on the second night of a back-to-back.

Defending the perimeter

The Pistons didn’t strike often against the Raptors from long range on Saturday, but they struck early with six first-quarter 3-pointers that buried Toronto in the first quarter.

Given that the Bucks connected on 12 makes from beyond the arc in the first meeting on February 8th — with six alone from form Raptor Carlos Delfino — tightening up the perimeter defence has to be a priority.

Give It Away Now

Turnovers once again proved to be costly for the Raptors, who saw the Pistons score 17 points off 14 giveaways on Saturday. The Raptors are tied with the Magic for the ninth-highest turnover rate in the league at 14.6 per contest and that’s with the presence of Calderon — the league’s leader in assist-to-turnover ratio.

Taking care of the basketball becomes even more important against a Bucks team that makes you pay for giveaways. Milwaukee averages 18.73 points off turnovers per game (good for fourth in the league) and has burned opponents for 25 points off turnovers in each of the last two games.

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