Trailing, then sailing

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

MILWAUKEE -- Raptors coach Sam Mitchell might consider letting off fire crackers in the locker room to get his team ready for games.

For the second consecutive game, the Raptors waded on to the court as if they were sleep-walking. In a 101-86 loss to the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday, the Raptors started the game shooting 0-for-9 from the field to fall behind 15-0.

Last night in Milwaukee, Toronto started by shooting 1-for-12 and trailed 15-5.

However, on the strength of Chris Bosh's 12 points in the opening quarter, the Raptors were able to hang around despite the slow start and managed to snap out of their little dream world to defeat the injury riddled Bucks 90-77.

Toronto moved back into first place in the Atlantic Division, a few percentage points ahead of the idle Nets.

The Raptors' starting five combined for a measly 29 points in Jersey, with Bosh getting nine and starting point guard T.J. Ford, zero. The tables were turned last night, however, as Bosh fired on all cylinders, recording 30 points, eight rebounds and a career-high six blocked shots.

"Every time I have a bad game the night before, especially on a back-to-back, I'm going to try to make a statement the next night," Bosh said. "I wanted to show my maturity and show that we put (Jersey) behind us."

Ford, who was making his first return to Milwaukee since being traded to Toronto, said he was embarrassed by Tuesday's showing. He also stepped up, picking up a double-double, with 15 points and 10 assists.

"We knew it was up to Chris and I. Both of us can't struggle on the same night if we want to win," Ford said. "Chris and I got together (before the game) and talked and said that we have to come out and be aggressive. We carry the team, so we can't let people shut us down."

The Bucks, who have lost four in a row, were without three starters: Guards Michael Redd (knee) and Mo Williams (shoulder), and forwards Bobby Simmons (heel), and Charlie Villanueva (shoulder).

The Raptors traded in a fast-paced game that they normally prefer, for a strong defensive effort and ultimately wore down the Bucks. It was slow-paced and methodical, but the perfect road game for Toronto.

"I'd rather have an ugly win, and then look at the tape and teach from that, than a beautiful loss," Mitchell said.

The game featured a matchup of two first overall draft picks: Andrea Bargnani from 2006, and the 2005 top choice, Andrew Bogut. Bogut had 18 rebounds and 17 points. Bargnani had 11 points off the bench for Toronto.


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