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Bucks finish with worst mark in nine seasons

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- One coach was happy, the other was uncertain --
even though he has a contract for next season.

"Our guys, I'll say it again, they compete. We may not always
play like we should, but you can't fault their effort," Toronto
coach Sam Mitchell said Tuesday night after his Raptors handed the
Bucks a 127-109 loss in Milwaukee's season finale.

Jalen Rose scored 29 points, Morris Peterson added 24 and Rafer
Alston 22 as the Raptors won a game between two teams far out of
the playoff race. Toronto's total was four points higher than the
previous high by a Milwaukee opponent -- 123 by Dallas on Jan. 2.

The loss was a dismal finish to a disappointing season for the
Bucks, who lost seven of their final nine games to finish 30-52 --
eleven victories fewer than last year in coach Terry Porter's
inaugural season. It was their worst mark since they went 25-57 in
1995-96 under Mike Dunleavy.

"I'm just disappointed we couldn't get a set team of starters
like last year and have a constant rotation. It was a revolving
door of guys getting hurt," Porter said.

There's no guarantee Porter will be back for the third and final
season on his contract. Bucks management has said it would review
everything once the season is over.

"That's something you have to take up with management," Porter
said when asked about his future. "You have to ask the powers that
be, I'm not one of them. I have a contract and I'm expecting to be
here until they tell me not to."

Desmond Mason had 25 points to lead Milwaukee.

The Raptors (33-48) have one game left against Cleveland on
Wednesday night. With a win, they would better their 33-49 record
from last season and knock the Cavaliers from postseason
contention.

"We just want to finish strong. Hopefully, we can play spoiler
to Cleveland," Rose said.

The Raptors scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter to
lead 103-90. Peterson started the decisive run with a basket and
3-pointer, and Rose ended it with another 3-pointer with 9:55
remaining.

The Bucks were without two starters as Michael Redd sat out his
third straight game (left Achilles tendon) and Smith (left pinky
laceration) missed his second straight contest. Top Toronto reserve
Donyell Marshall (strained right Achilles) missed his sixth
consecutive game.

The absence of Redd, the Bucks top scorer with 23 points, hurt
the most. Losing him to free agency would be even worse, and Porter
said re-signing Redd is a top priority for the Bucks.

Keeping Redd may not be so easy, as he issued mixed signals
after the game.

"I would like to. That's my goal," Redd said when asked if he
would be back. However, he then hedged on his future. "That's hard
to answer now. I'll consult with my agent and family," Redd
continued.

But Redd said he was not disappointed in his teammates.

"We played hard every night, we gave effort," he said.
"Injuries hurt us. We never clicked, we didn't jell."<
^Notes@: Of the Bucks' seven road victories, two came against
Toronto ... The Raptors finished the season with 11 road wins. ...
Toronto's senior basketball adviser, Wayne Embry, played for
Milwaukee in its inaugural season in 1978-79, and assistant coach
Alex English once starred for the Bucks. ... The Bucks also closed
out last season against Toronto, losing 89-87.