'Just too big for us'

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:06 AM ET

MILWAUKEE -- The Wayne Embry era began last night the same way the Rob Babcock era ended -- with an ugly loss against a team from the Midwest.

With interim GM Embry watching the Raptors for the first time as top commander, Toronto remained horrible on defence in a 108-87 loss against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.

The roster assembled by Babcock -- who was fired Thursday after a 104-88 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday -- is too small, weak and young. The Raptors, outmatched size-wise and skill-wise by a large margin against the Bucks, extended their losing streak to four games.

"We couldn't guard them on the post. They're just too big for us," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "You try to trap them and they've got shooters out there. How do you leave Michael Redd and Mo Williams for wide-open shots? Then when they didn't get it, they just pounded it on the glass."

That's going to happen when you have the energetic but undersized Pape Sow, who might be 6-foot-8, starting at centre. His counterpart, first overall pick Andrew Bogut, is seven feet.

Mitchell refused to let the players use the GM change as a reason for defeat.

"All those are are excuses," he said. "You can't make them. Whether they (were distracted) or not, I don't know. Things happen in professional sports and you've just got to play through it."

The players were surprised by the Babcock firing, but it's nothing new for a guy such as Morris Peterson, who has had four coaches and three general managers in his six seasons with the Raptors.

"That's the nature of this game, you can be here today, gone tomorrow," he said. "As a player, I've been around this organization six years. Nothing surprises me. You have to prepare like maybe it can be your last day."

Trailing 54-44 at halftime, the Raptors allowed the Bucks to go on an 11-0 run to start the second half and that was all she wrote. The Bucks had their way inside, with Toronto native Jamaal Magloire and Bogut doing the dominating. Magloire had 13 points and 11 rebounds. The Bucks shot a hefty 58.4% from the field.

The Bucks led by as many as 25 in the third quarter and coasted home. They outscored the Raptors 25-12 in the third, tying a Toronto season low for points in the third.

Bobby Simmons was the Bucks' top scorer with 18 points.

Bosh led the Raptors with 21 points and looks to be a shoo-in for the all-star game now that Indiana Pacers forward Jermaine O'Neal is out with a groin injury. Bosh kept playing hard even when the game turned into a blowout in the third quarter.

The Raptors begin a season-long five-game homestand against Ron Artest and the Sacramento Kings tomorrow night at the Air Canada Centre.

REPORT CARD

D Offence: Apart from Jalen Rose and Chris Bosh no one on the Raps performed up to standard. Morris Peterson, on a 5-for-22 streak heading into last night, continued his slump with a 3-for-11 evening.

D- Defence: What did you expect, an A? Not going to happen with this team, which can't make consistent stops on a night to night basis.


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