Things have not been easy for the Toronto Raptors this season but they certainly have gone a lot smoother at the familiar confines of the Air Canada Centre.
Their current two-game winning streak will be put to the test on Sunday afternoon against a Milwaukee Bucks squad which has been (8-8) better than many on the road.
Here are a few things to consider ahead of tonight’s game:
The new Bucks boss
The Bucks changed coaches earlier in the week as they agreed to part ways with Scott Skiles.
Word on the street is, it was definitely mutual as Skiles was unhappy with his players and the team was beginning to slump after a strong start to the season.
Skiles top assistant, Jim Boylan has stepped in to take charge and will likely lead the charge for the rest of the season.
The Bucks received a Boylan bump as they won their first two games with Boylan in charge but faltered for the first time on Friday in Detroit.
Speed kills – most of the time
Raptors point guard Jose Calderon has always struggled to contain speedy point guards but over the team’s past three wins – Portland (Damian Lillard), Philly (Damian Lillard) and Charlotte (Kemba Walker), they have prevailed.
The Raptors backcourt will once again have to deal with high-powered backcourt as Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis provide a one-two punch that few can match.
The Bucks backcourt struggles with shot selection as they have the green light most of the time but if they get hot — it could be trouble.
The Larry Sanders Show
The Raptors are going to have to be wary of the Larry Sanders effect.
The Bucks big man has been averaging just under 25 minutes and is now blocking 3.3 shots per game.
The Raptors counter will be a similar strategy most teams employ against shotblockers: attack them.
“He goes after everything. We’ve got to be ready for that, we can’t go in there weak, can’t stand and watch him. Have to be ready to move the ball,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told the Toronto Sun’s Ryan Wolstat after practice on Saturday.
“You have to go in there with the intent of drawing a foul, drawing contact. Go in there with authority, go for his body, have action behind you to make him pay for coming to block shots, you can’t just stand there and say: ‘I’m watching the Larry Sanders Show,’ I’ve got to make a move and cut to the basket to counter that.”