Raptors come up short

Milwaukee's Dan Gadzuric (50) and Desmond Mason team up on Raptors' Rafer Alston last night at the...

Milwaukee's Dan Gadzuric (50) and Desmond Mason team up on Raptors' Rafer Alston last night at the ACC. Alston says he wants an apology from the Raptors for being banished from Tuesday's game in Cleveland. (Toronto Sun/Fred Thornhill)

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

Rafer Alston was not escorted out of the arena by security guards last night.

What's more, the Raptors point guard led the team to a rare good start.

But in the end, it didn't matter. The Raptors, uncharacteristically, unravelled in the fourth quarter and lost 110-107 against the Milwaukee Bucks before 14,269 at the Air Canada Centre last night.

Jalen Rose missed a potential game-tying three pointer in the dying seconds, sending the Raptors (20-30) to their third consecutive loss.

"I felt great," said Alston, who recorded a double-double (16 points, 12 assists) last night, 24 hours after he was sent packing at halftime in Cleveland following a dispute with Raptors coach Sam Mitchell.

"I was able to get guys going early. We had three or four guys hot early. I was able to get the game going at the tempo we wanted and I was hitting some shots early.

"(But) second half, you go cold and that's tough."

The entire team went cold in the fourth as the Bucks outscored the Raptors 29-19 to overcome a nine-point deficit earlier in the quarter. The Raptors had outscored opponents in the fourth quarter the past five games.

Conversely, the Raptors outscored the Bucks 34-32 in the first quarter, snapping their 10-game streak of losing the opening frame. But down the stretch, the Bucks elevated their game, going on a 17-1 run in the fourth quarter to take control. The Raptors hit just 38.1% of their shots in the second half, compared to 50% for the Bucks.

"Our offence has progressed but in pro sports you have to be able to put it all together defensively so that's where the grey area is," said Alston, who scored all his points in the first half. "Are we going to start to come in and become committed to finding a way to be more defensive minded?"

That would help, seeing as the Raptors have allowed more than 100 points in seven of the past eight games.

"We've got to do a better job of closing the game," said Rose, who led the Raptors with 26 points but had only two in the fourth quarter. "We had a pretty good game going through three on our home floor but they outscored us by 10 in the fourth and that was the difference. There's no excuse. We didn't get it done. We felt like we should have won. We felt like we were the better team."

CONFIDENT

Michael Redd scored a game-high 29 points for the Bucks.

The Raptors will not practise today, and will take a much-needed day off after a rough couple of days. They play host to the Philadelphia 76ers tomorrow night.


Videos

Photos