Even in emphatic victory, at the lofty heights of third place in the Eastern Conference, with a record the franchise hasn’t had in nearly four years, Dwane Casey remains cautious and careful.

It’s what coaches do and he’s doing it perfectly.

The Raptors had just routed the woeful Milwaukee Bucks 116-94 at the Air Canada, hardly the most impressive performance of the season but one in which they simply took care of business and Casey was asked if all his worrying through the day had been necessary.

He had warned all and sundry from Monday morning to night that the Raptors had no right being cocky, that they needed to work for everything they got and it would be shameful if they took the now 7-30 Bucks for granted.

And even if they had a blip or two in a miserable second quarter, they did just that in running their record to 19-17, decimating the Bucks early and running away from them late for their third successive victory.


He was still a bit worried after the game had ended because that’s how coaches roll.

“I’ll say this again: We don’t have any right, yet, to overlook anyone in this league,” he said. “This is a tough league, we’re still building, we’re still getting there. I can’t allow our guys to have that in their thought process.”

As if to prove their coach a worrywart, the Raptors seemingly toyed with the Bucks most of the night, showing superiority with their play at both ends.

They were businesslike in assuming a 38-24 first-quarter lead (the most points they’d scored in any quarter this season) and pulled away with a 58-44 second-half run.

They moved the ball and shot it well, held the Bucks to 42 per cent shooting and were never really threatened. The Raptors were not great, but they were more than good enough.

That’s how it’s been for weeks with a team that is now 13-5 since trading away Rudy Gay and percentage points ahead of the Atlanta Hawks for third place in their conference. They are two games over .500 for the first time in a January since 2010 and play their next three games against sub-.500 teams.