After soaring through February, the Toronto Raptors look to win a season series from the Milwaukee Bucks for the first time when the teams meet at the Air Canada Centre on Friday.

The surprising Raptors (32-26) lead the Atlantic Division by four games over second-place New Jersey, and at 19-8, have the best record in the Eastern Conference since the start of the year.

Toronto won nine of 12 games to post the best February record in franchise history, closing out the month by defeating Houston 106-90 on Wednesday behind another outstanding shooting performance.

The Raptors hit 57.1 percent from the field to improve to 14-0 when shooting 50.0 percent or better this season.

"Some days you hit the shots. Some days you don't," rookie forward Andrea Bargnani said. "Today was a good day for shots.''

Most days have been good ones shooting-wise for the Raptors at home, as they lead the East at 47.9 percent from the field. They've shot 50.0 percent or better in 11 home games, and have won nine of their last 10 at the Air Canada Centre, shooting 50.9 percent in those contests.

That's not good news for the Bucks (21-37), who have the second-worst road field-goal percentage defense at 48.4.

Toronto shot 53.4 percent in their 109-92 home win over Milwaukee on Nov. 3, and also defeated the Bucks 90-77 at the Bradley Center on Jan. 10. The Raptors have never won more than twice in a season against the Bucks, but can take the series for the first time in the franchise's 12-year history Friday.

Bargnani scored 20 points and went 4-of-5 from 3-point range against the Rockets to continue a solid stretch of his rookie season.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft is averaging 15.8 points in his last nine games, connecting on 50.9 percent (27-of-53) of his 3-pointers during that span.

"Andrea is playing very comfortably," coach Sam Mitchell said. "He has a good idea of what to do with the basketball and keeps improving every game."

Chris Bosh had just 13 points and nine rebounds Wednesday, two days after scoring 14 points and grabbing nine boards against San Antonio.

Bosh, averaging 22.9 points and 10.7 rebounds in 46 games this season, looks to bounce back against a Milwaukee team that has struggled to stop him. The All-Star forward has 56 points on 23-of-32 shooting (72 percent) and 23 rebounds in the two matchups, and tied a career high with six blocks in the January meeting.

Point guard T.J. Ford, traded from the Bucks to the Raptors for forward Charlie Villanueva before the season, is averaging 14.0 points and 10.5 assists against his former team in 2006-07.

Milwaukee beat Golden State 122-101 on Tuesday to win consecutive games for the first time since a season-high six-game run from Dec. 16-27.

"To win our last two games really helped our psyche, really helped our confidence out,'' said Michael Redd, who scored 31 points and hit six 3-pointers.

Redd, who missed 20 games with a left patellar tendon strain, played in his fifth game since returning from the injury. The Bucks won just three times without him.

"We're not mathematically out of (the playoff race)," said Redd, who's averaging 24.8 points since coming back. "We're in the Eastern Conference and have the opportunity to make a move.''

Milwaukee plays two of its next three games on the road before returning home for a season-high seven-game homestand.


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