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What a game, after RJ hit that three all signs pointed to an 0-2 hole but Ford hit some big FTs and AP came up with a huge steal to pull the Raptors through. This might be the first ever playoff game which was won without the winning coach ever running a single play in the game. No joke. Sam Mitchell almost ruined the night: With the Raptors down 3 and about 10 seconds left, New Jersey was actually able to get an open three for Nachbar, a shot he had drained a few times during the course of the game. If that shot would’ve gone in, Sam would’ve probably been fired after the game. How Nachbar was allowed to actually attempt a three that wide open with that little time left is perplexing, you would think the Raptors would foul and play the FT game. We got lucky in that regard. Big Time.
The crowd was UNBELIEVABLE. The ACC staff gave away red flags (had to fight for mine, they ran out) and the arena looked awesome at times, especially during a Raptors run. Playoff games are far and away more exciting, more tense and more fun than regular season games. I don’t think I’m going to another Raptors regular season game ever, it’s a waste of money compared to this. The major chants were “VC Sucks”, “Defense, Defense”, “Let’s Go, Raptors” and “Bullshit”. Bullshit was used consistently after the refs blew several calls – all going against the Raptors. That offensive foul they called on Mo Pete was complete garbage and could’ve cost us the game.
Our transition defense was excellent and that scum RJ was trying as hard as he could to cherry pick some points but we completely shut that aspect of the game down for New Jersey. You could tell that New Jersey wanted to duplicate their success from Game 1 in that area and the Raptors made the correct adjustment. For what its worth, kudos to Mitchell on that one. Anthony Parker was looking for his shot much more often tonight and hit some big ones with the defense all over him. If his feet are set he is about as automatic as Allan Houston. His late steal plus the TJ Ford late FTs and huge three were what pulled us through.
TJ didn’t have the same success he had in Game 1 and neither did Calderon but both managed to limit Kidd’s passing to a degree which the Raptors could handle. There were only about two bad TJ moments (out of control, erratic) in this game which is a number I’ll take any day. When Calderon came into the game the Raptors used the pick ‘n roll much more and a couple times he nailed a jumper to keep the NJ lead low. The PGs weren’t spectacular but they played through a tough night and came though on defense and in TJ’s case, late in the game on offense.
Chris Bosh’s stat-line looks impressive but I have to say he looked very tentative early in the game repeating some of the mistakes he was making in Game 1. Even in this game he didn’t make his move quickly but instead took time and allowed the defense to set. On the couple occasions he made his move immediately after catching the ball, he either got fouled or scored. One of these was the huge three-point play dunk. If we would’ve lost this game, I think I would’ve had to hold Bosh responsible for not asserting himself more. Lucky for him Anthony Parker volunteered for that chore.
It looks like the Joey Graham experiment is over. He was sloppy and slow again but this time COY Mitchell actually took him out and put in the Raptor everybody seems to love, Mo Pete. Peterson hit a couple big shots, one of them is what I would call crucial because it came at a time when the Nets looked like they might extend their lead beyond 5+ (I know its not much but in tight playoff games, its huge). Peterson only had one bad moment when he was owned by Carter on a pass/shot rejection, besides that he played good defense on RJ and even on Nachbar when he was matched up with him. I think he might even have earned a starters spot for Game 3.
Before I talk about Carter, here’s a picture of him:
Carter had a Carter game. He was settling for jumpers and if I were a Nets fan I’d be pissed off at him. The guy was shooting deep threes for no reason which I was thankful for because it kept the ball out of RJ’s hands. I think Jefferson is far more dangerous than Carter in this series for us. Vince can be contained because he makes life easy on the defense, Jefferson does not and keeps you guessing on what he’s about to do. IMHO, he’s also the better shooter and swingman. I am scared of Nachbar, I really am. He can hurt the Raptors by putting the ball on the floor and shooting it from outside, he was impressive again today and his highlight came when he took Bargnani (still bumbling around) to school on the baseline. That was epic.
Moral of the story is that even when we don’t play our best game, we can still beat New Jersey. I think the road will do good for us, it puts less pressure on the players and they can play loose and free. We can get a game in New Jersey, no doubt about it.
I’ll add to this blog post more or maybe even create a new one because I really want to talk about what a farce the Mitchell Coach of the Year award is. That’s it for now. I uploaded a couple videos I took on YouTube, check ’em out. I’ll add some more tomorrow.
VC Sucks Free Throw[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfndmrXYqwI]
VC Sucks and More Noise
Late Defensive Possession
Make Some Noise
Anthony Parker shot clock violation – What the hell was that?
Andrea Bargnani gets fouled, for some reason VC Sucks chants continue