Technically this wasn’t a must-win game but if we would’ve lost tonight, massive alarm bells would’ve gone off, after all you can’t allow the Pacers to snap their five game losing streak on your home floor. So the Raps dug deep, did enough good things on the floor to ensure that they won a game that they’re supposed to win. There’s no reason to celebrate too much after a win against a team you’re expected to beat but there were some encouraging signs that might make all Raptors fans feel a little better about the next few games. For a change, Chris Bosh stayed aggressive for all four quarters and anytime he attempted a shot outside of 15 feet he missed so bad (thank God) that he resorted right back to driving to the rim. With Bosh supplying the inside presence needed on both ends, the game opened up for the snipers and Calderon, Kapono, Delfino and Parker nailed enough jumpers to take away a deserved win. Our PGs made good decisions and when given space, nailed the shots the defense conceded. 30 points and 17 assists for Forderon and we’re 5-0 when we score a 100 points which means if our offense isn’t stuck in a rut we have a good chance of winning.
Jorge Garbajosa unexpectedly came out of the doghouse to play 24 minutes and had a couple threes along with six rebounds. It’s good to see Garbo play well the same day Dave Feschuk (who’s actually readable this year) suggested that the Garbo situation couldn’t possibly end happily here in Toronto. What’s inexplicable is figuring out what the difference between today’s game and the Jazz game was that Garbo deserved time today but not on Wednesday. Ideas? I sure have none. Despite starting off the third quarter hitting everything and racking up assists, Sam took out TJ Ford and put in Jose Calderon until the end. I’ll commend Sam for actually sticking with Calderon the entire fourth quarter and not screwing this up by putting back an ice-cold TJ Ford like the Magic game. But if I’m TJ Ford, I’m really confused on why I didn’t play a single meaningful minute after the third quarter. But he’s a team player and he’s saying all the right things in the post-game interview. However, the beauty of winning is that nobody remembers these minor details. These minor details are even easier to forget when the bench has 48 points and the team has 26 assists on 38 made shots, a sure sign of a clicking offense where possessions are being converted in stride.
Raps again had early woes mostly thanks to some insane Indiana offensive rebounding, Jermaine O’Neal playing like an All-Star and some great shooting by Troy Murphy and Travis Diener (diminutive white man who can’t help but remind you of Luke Ridnour). The Raps did enough doubling in the second to make things uncomfortable for O’Neal and make sure that he doesn’t beat them. O’Neal is extremely though in one-on-one situations and there was enough help for Bosh that enabled him to not get in foul trouble and actually play good defense on O’Neal. Despite Bosh’s offensive struggles of late, he has been phenomenal on defense. The defense on Murphy was tightened enough so he had to work harder for his shots and this put the burden on Jamaal Tinsley who did everything he could humanly do to keep Indiana in the game but in the end when the Raps start hitting their jumpers, they’re very hard to beat. Even Jim O’Brien in the post-game tipped his hat to our shooters:
“They made some unbelievable shots…They’re very difficult to guard”
But there is one pretty dark stat on the scoreboard, it’s Andrea Bargnani. He is not a stiff and will end up being a pretty good player but right now he sure looks like a stiff. Less than five minutes played, no rebounds and three fouls. Not a very flattering line for Bargnani who was taken out in the first quarter and never saw the light of day again. So much for Chuck Swirsky predicting he would have a big game tonight. Hopefully getting his only shot embarrassingly blocked and picking up incredibly silly fouls doesn’t turns this two-game slump into a mental thing that might take weeks to cure. I don’t know how but somehow he’s got to get his confidence back to the level of where he can take a confident jumper and even if it doesn’t go in, he’ll continue working hard on the other end.
Excellent point guard play, strong inside presence courtesy of Bosh, very good spacing and good outside shooting pull the Raps through. Bosh isn’t close to being his best offensively but he’s on the right path. He’s shooting 93% from the FT line and that’ll keep him motivated to attack the rim, the jump shot will come sooner or later. Maceo Baston and Jamario Moon had nice enough games where neither was spectacular but did enough little things on the defensive end to help out on a night where their offense was definitely not needed. Anthony Parker’s 3rd quarter 3/4 court buzzer beater reminded me of…………………..yup, Mo Pete. Even though he’s not on this team and we’re probably better off for it, I still miss him. Something about him had Toronto Raptors written all over him and it’ll always be that way.
Some one-liners from the game:
- Kris Humphries does not give up on any possession, the contract has breathed new life into him.
- Jamario Moon has recoverability in his defense.
- Maceo Baston looks like he can’t bend his knees without them making a cracking sound.
- Jorge Garbajosa has extreme confidence in his 3pt shooting ability.
- When Carlos Delfino starts nailing threes, the chances of us winning go up by 250%
- Jose Calderon really doesn’t care who starts.
- If it’s OK to for Jose and TJ to play at the same time in late game situations like tonight, how come it wasn’t against the Jazz, Magic and Celtics?
- There’s a newer Mop Girl out there who might be hotter than the older one.
- Jack Armstrong and Minerva from the Raptors Dance Pak are an item
- Juan Dixon didn’t play for two games in a row now. If he just shows himself on the bench more Sam will remember him and put him in the game.
We’re 1-1 on this home-stand and got Golden State coming here on Sunday, that’s another game we should win. Thanks for reading, grab the feed.Follow @raptorsrepublic