MILWAUKEE -- After every game, Jim LaBumbard, the Raptors director of media relations, hands out the final stats sheets to each player inside the locker room.
When he went to give one to Chris Bosh last night following Toronto's 112-85 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, the two-time NBA all-star growled: "I don't want one of those."
You might as well have tried to give him a live rattle snake.
Generally, as Bosh goes, so do the Raptors. And last night at the Bradley Center, Bosh was a few notches below sub-par, scoring a grand total of one point, on 0-for-4 shooting from the floor, with two rebounds and three turnovers.
Bosh claims that the sore left knee suffered at training camp is fine, but his conditioning still seems to be lagging. The last time the two-time NBA all-star was held to less than four points in a game was March, 26, 2006, in Milwaukee, although he injured his left thumb after only seven minutes in that game.
"It has nothing to do with conditioning," Bosh said, when asked about his performance. "I'm healthy enough to play basketball. If I'm on the court, there's no excuse."
Blame last night's loss also on a complete lack of defence and a poor performance by Toronto's starters. Milwaukee's starting five, featuring heralded rookie Yi Jianlian, all scored in double digits and outscored Toronto's starting five 75-28.
Toronto, 2-2, now has lost two games in a row after opening the season with a win over Philadelphia and a huge 106-69 victory over the Nets in New Jersey. The Raptors are playing like they have split personalities.
"We proved two things. We're good enough to win by 30 and we're also good enough to lose by 30," coach Sam Mitchell said. "So you have to come out ready to play. Hopefully, it was just one of those nights."
Mitchell was unimpressed with his team's toughness.
"We have to get a little more aggressive," said Mitchell, pointing out that Milwaukee small forward Desmond Mason, who shot 10-for-10 from the field, had his way all night without anyone getting even a bit physical. "At some point when a guy's rolling on you, and you're getting touch fouls anyway, you might as well get a good one and at least let them know that it's not going to be that easy all night."
Starting centre Andrea Bargnani, who has been arguably Toronto's best player so far this season, played only 13 minutes, scoring five with three boards. Forward Kris Humphries did provide a spark off the bench, scoring 16 with nine rebounds. Juan Dixon added 20 off the bench.
Toronto's defence was a rumour, allowing Milwaukee to shoot 60% from the floor. The home side outrebounded the Raptors 45-32 and picked up 10 more assists.
Mason led all scorers with 21 points while centre Andrew Bogut had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
On a positive note, as difficult as it was to find one, Jason Kapono's three-pointer in the first quarter last night established Toronto as the first team in NBA history to go 700 consecutive games with a three-pointer made. The Raptors set the NBA record for most consecutive games with at least one three-point field on March 12, 2006, giving them 595 straight games.
In a span of 91 seconds late in the first quarter, Michael Redd scored five points and assisted on a Andrew Bogut dunk to put the Bucks up by 13, and they did not give up a lead after that.
A LABOUR OF LOVE
Larry Krystkowiak was forced to miss the game because his wife, Jan, went into labour and delivered twin girls just after tipoff. Ex-Raptors assistant Tony Brown filled in.