Pape Sow celebrates his first
points of the seasonIf anybody gives up 53 points in a half to the Bobcats at home, things aren’t going great even if the final score is a blowout and the fans go home with pizza. The first half saw many bad things happen to the Raptors including Bosh picking up two early fouls and soon a third sending him to the bench and forcing Sam Mitchell to dust off Fred Jones’ uniform. The 3-happy Andrea Bargnani was getting constantly schooled by Gerald Wallace in the post and was eventually sanctioned to the bench in favor of Joey Graham. Graham also gave Wallace too much credit for a jumper he bluffed he had and played into the physical forward’s game by not giving him space to shoot.
The Raptors did have an early 10 point lead but it was one of those leads that will never last (somewhat like the Dallas lead) and I was just waiting for the game to be tied. Sure enough, Bobcats tied it and even went ahead; things weren’t looking promising and it looked like the team was still lingering from the Utah game.
Great part about Chuck Swirsky is that when things are going mildly well, he’ll make you think your team’s up by 20. Example: Bargnani hits a three and Chuck starts yelling it’s raining threes and all that Il Mago stuff. You know what Chuck, it’s a four point game. Calm down and let’s focus on the Raptors defense which was nowhere to be found in the first half. They kept showing the stats between Adam Morisson and Andrea Bargnani and kept saying how Bargnani was outplaying Morrison in the matchup. CHUCK, THEY WEREN’T GUARDING EACH OTHER. Eventually Leo Rautins pointed that minor detail out to restore some sanity.
After Bosh (20, 5) had a good rest in the first half, he came back with a purpose in the second and scored 8 points in the 17-2 run to start the third which put the game out of reach from the Bobcats for good. The Bobcats scored 8 points in the quarter to the Raptors 21 which left the fourth quarter a mere formality. Charlotte lacked the depth to stay with the Raps who can score on any opposition when said opposition is of the quality of the Bobcats or any other team that lacks defensive fundamentals and attempts to use athleticism as a form of defense. Once the Raptors switched to a zone defense in the second half, the Bobcats were forced to take jumpers they couldn’t make. That was their ultimate demise.
No TJ Ford in this game due to an ankle injury which was a cause for celebration after his recent couple performances which made me nostalgic about Mike James. Despite how good Jose Calderon (19pts, 11asts) is playing, we should all keep in mind that he’s a backup point guard and the position suits him well. If he’s elevated into a starting PG’s role, unfair expectations will be made and his productivity will suffer under both the demand and pressure of a starting PG job. So anytime he has a good game, the “Start Calderon” chants don’t make much sense.
Another interesting note is how the Raptors website decided to promote the game using tempting verbiage such as “come see the moustache…” referring to Adam Morisson’s facial hair. The announced attendance of 13,997 were treated to Morisson scoring 3 points of 1-6 FG, but on the brighter side they did see the Raptors get an expected win. We as Raptor fans should show some maturity and not celebrate these expected wins at all. This game also saw the highly anticipated return of Pape Sow who contributed a three point play in his three minutes making Fred Jones look even worse. It must be noted that Sow’s hoop took the Raptors from 99 to 101 to the delight of starving fans craving for free pizza.
New Jersey and New York lost tonight which means the Raptors are tied with the Nets in the win column but still trail by a game. They hold a 2.5 game lead over the Knicks who are showing a pulse of late. All signs point to a furious finish in the Atlantic.
Next up it’s the Hornets on Wednesday. Another winnable game.
Some good fellow posted highlights from NBA TV on YouTube: