TORONTO — Jonas Valanciunas scored 19 points and Patrick Patterson added 16 as the Raptors downed the Milwaukee Bucks 106-87 Sunday to extend Toronto's perfect start to the NBA season.
It's Toronto's first 3-0 run out of the blocks since 2008-09. Milwaukee, meanwhile, is winless in three.
The win moved Dwane Casey past Sam Mitchell for most victories (157) by a Raptors coach. Mitchell posted 156 in 345 games from 2004 to 2008. Casey has coached 313 games since taking over in 2011.
Toronto piled on late as Terrence Ross and Patterson kept the scoreboard ticking, combining to score the Raptors' first 19 points of the fourth quarter. Ross, whose 11 points all came in the final quarter, made three three-pointers and Patterson two during that stretch.
DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry finished with 15 points apiece for Toronto.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 20 points in a game short of pizzazz — and controlled by the Raptors.
The contest marked the return of guard Greivis Vasquez, traded to Milwaukee in the off-season. He was greeted with cheers when he came into the game midway through the first quarter.
It was a quiet evening for the Venezuelan, who got a hug from Casey when he entered the game. It may have been the high point of a nine-point night.
DeRozan, 12-for-32 in his first two games, made his first five shots and finished 7-for-13.
The Bucks, the second-youngest team in the league this season with an average age of 23.7, lost to the Knicks and Wizards to start the season. It's the first time Milwaukee has lost three in a row to open the campaign since dropping its first five games in 1976-77.
"They present a challenge with their length and their athleticism," Casey said before the game.
But the Bucks were also careless, turning the ball over 11 times in the first half alone — resulting in 15 Toronto points. The final turnover tally was 18 (for 24 points).
Valanciunas provided the early offence for the Raptors with five of their first seven points. Then DeRozan showed some razzle dazzle with a spin move to get past two defenders.
Milwaukee led briefly at 10-7 before, with the game tied at 14 in the first, Toronto went on a 10-0 run. The Bucks posted a five-point run of their own to end the quarter at 24-19. Lowry had five assists, one more than the entire Milwaukee team, in the quarter.
The Raps profited from some good defence to up the lead to 17 in the second quarter, with Cory Joseph providing a spark at both ends of the court off the bench. Toronto led 55-41 at the half, helped by the Bucks' generosity.
Milwaukee's cause was not helped by forward Khris Middleton picking up a fifth foul a little over three minutes into the third. Fellow starter Greg Monroe also found himself in foul trouble.
Still Milwaukee reduced the error rate, with just one turnover in the quarter, and cut the lead to nine before finishing the third quarter down 81-71.
Toronto opened the campaign with victories over Indiana and Boston.
"We've got a lot to work to do, though," Casey said prior to the game.
"Defensively we're doing it on hustle and hard work, more so than being where you're supposed to be and doing the right thing," he added. "I'll take that right now but we've got to start executing on both ends of the floor."
The Bucks were without Canadian guard Tyler Ennis, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury. Coach Jason Kidd said he is close to coming back.
"We have to look at him," he said. "Since the trade (with Phoenix), we haven't had time to see him on the floor," said Kidd.
But the coach likes what little he has seen so far. "His vision, his ability to keep his guys involved. He's a competitor, he's a winner. We need all of those ingredients."
The Raptors kick off a four-game road trip Tuesday in Dallas. Ten of their next 12 games are away.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press