The Toronto Raptors (26-45) appeared to relish their role as spoiler in the NBA playoff race, dominating the Milwaukee Bucks on both ends of the floor in a 115-106 win Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre.
Centre Andrea Bargnani led the Raptors with 23 points, making his return to the lineup after missing Sunday's game with a foot injury. Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon both recorded double-doubles. Bosh had 18 points and 14 rebounds; Calderon chipped in with 19 points and 11 assists.
The Raptors played tough defence and found the open man all game long, Bargnani said.
"I think we've been playing good defence for the past two games now, and we have to keep it up."
Unlike the Raptors, the Bucks are still very much alive in the Eastern Conference playoff hunt. They entered the night just 2 games out of eighth place. But the Bucks have been dealing with injury problems lately, playing without centre Andrew Bogut and guard Michael Redd.
Richard Jefferson had 22 points and Charlie Bell added 20 to lead the Bucks (31-41), who were opening a four-game road trip.
Milwaukee has now dropped 12 of its last 16 games.
For the Raptors, it's the first time they've won back-to-back games since Feb. 13, before the NBA all-star break.
The Raptors pulled away in the second quarter and led by 23 points, at 94-71, after the third, which was dominated by Bargnani.
Forward and ex-Raptor Charlie Villanueva usually plays well against his former club, averaging 22.3 points and eight rebounds in three previous meetings this season.
But Villanueva struggled Wednesday night, scoring just eight points. He couldn't get anything going offensively against Toronto's Shawn Marion, who kept a close watch on him all game long.
The Bucks couldn't overcome the Raptors' strength in the paint, and they couldn't stop the Raptors from hitting timely outside shots.
The Raptors host the Oklahoma City Thunder in their next game, on Friday (7 p.m. ET).