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Toronto Raptors 80, LA Clippers 77

I love these West coast games, no better way to spend a late night watching the Raptors, drinking tea and eating almonds until blisters start popping on the roof of your mouth. Who cares if it’s 1:30AM and that you have a FT job to go to, I might even have to kill off another uncle and sleep this one out. But enough about that, we have a real problem on our hands: Chris Kaman is on suicide watch after being annoyed to extreme levels by the defensive wall that is Rasho Nesterovic. Yes, Rasho the much-maligned soft-Euro that begs to be judged by the “little things he does on the floor” frustrated the petulant Chris Kaman into a total of two second half points as the Raptors started off their 7-game West coast swing off with a must-win win against a depleted Clippers side that put up a fight that most of us didn’t see coming.

The story of the game was the Raptors second half defense which looked similar to the one deployed in Indiana – crowd the paint and scramble back to the perimeter players if the pass out of the double-team is made (a weak zone almost). It wasn’t until the second half that the Raptors realized that save Richie Frahm the Clippers don’t have a single player that can be counted on to knock down an open jumper. Once you get Corey Maggette and Al Thornton taking perimeter shots (contested or not), the game is half won. Now you might look at the scoreboard and say, “Hey Arsenalist, we only won by 3 points so stop ripping on the Clips” and I’d say that even though this was a three point game, this game was ours to be had midway through the third when said defensive adjustments were made. If it weren’t for our reeking offense and Anthony Parker trying to do everything wrong and succeeding we’d end up winning this game by 15-20 points. The luxury of PVR is that you can rewind and investigate just exactly how that shooter was left so wide open. Turns out Anthony Parker’s often late getting back to his man and gets caught up in screens way too easily (Aaah! Ray Allen flashback!).

Aside to Chris Bosh: You can blow by Kaman anytime you want. You can post-up and lean into Tim Thomas at will. There is no reason for you to be taking jumpers let alone fadeaways and bailing the Clippers out. Thank the lucky star Procyon that Bosh drove to the rim just enough times to get himself 16 FT attempts of which he converted 12 and thus bailed out the 37.5% shooting Raptors. Against a better team we lose this game because they’d convert more offensive opportunities, the paper clips scored 28 points in the entire second half and all the credit can’t go to our defense, they are decimated by injuries.

No Raptor fan wants Andrea Bargnani to succeed more than me so I almost choked on an almond when he hit his first three, I took it as a sign of him coming out of the pitiable slump that he’s in. But the only highlights that followed after that was a nice pass to a cutting Humphries and a block on the 48-year old Tim Thomas. Sandwiched in there were about 5 ill-advised shots and a rejection at the hands of CK35 (fragrance for white men with thinning hair). At least he hit a shot and wasn’t a complete embarrassment, it’s a step up and I’ll gladly take it. Hopefully tomorrow he can make say three shots and not get rejected. Fingers crossed. Aside to Bargnani: The pump fake doesn’t work if the man is already in your face, he’s not going to bite because he wants you to take that contested shot from 22ft. You pump fake when you want the defender to come closer to you or you want him to jump in the air so you can drive by him. In your case the defender is challenging you to drive thus your pump fake redundant.


chuck swirsky cheerleader chimney la clippers raptors
I can’t blame Chuck Swirsky

What do you guys think of this? I agree with Chuck Swirsky and his wish of something like that popping down my chimney. But Leo Rautins couldn’t just let a joke be a joke and kept harping on it for the rest of the broadcast. Leo, we know you’d tap that ass in a heartbeat so stop giving the Swirsk a hard time about a harmless comment you abrasive prick. But don’t say this blog is all about bile because Leo did call it early that if Bosh went to the line 15 times we’d win this game, he was right. Not a tough call to make by any means but at least he made it.

Jamario Moon won his matchup with Corey Maggette and got a block for the Xth game in a row (the only thing more impressive than this stat is DiMaggio’s hitting streak). After playing Maggette tight early and realizing that it wouldn’t work since Maggette is more attracted to the rim that I am to almonds, Moon backed off later on in the game and went under the screens thus conceding the jumper resulting in success. Scouting report stuff really, nothing more. Jose Calderon’s quiet 12/6/9 were punctuated with the game-icing drive on Dan Dickau who I was shocked to see on defense with the game on the line.

There’s a fine line between being a chucker and having confidence and Carlos Delfino crosses over that one about 3 times a game. CD should realize that making a jump shot does not give you a green light to shoot a 24 footer on the next possession. But one can’t criticize him too much because he’s the second hardest working Raptor (Hump43 wins that award – another solid game BTW with an in-traffic rebound that would put Moses Malone to shame) and deserves some leeway when it comes to shot selection. He is the heart of the bench. Surprisingly enough he’s been playing PG and has been very good of late, he can easily spell Calderon about 5-7 minutes.

One-Liners

* We need a better performance against Portland, 37.5% will get us blown out of the Rose Garden.

* I don’t make many predictions but here’s one: Bargnani will have 15+ points tomorrow. He is simply due.

* Without Chris Bosh we are doomed, despite his springers the man is providing key scoring during important stretches in the game.

* Can we do a Quinton Ross for Juan Dixon trade?

* Props to the “Let’s go Clippers, let’s go!” fan.

* I know exactly when D-Mart is about to launch a 20 footer, it’s almost like a sixth sense. He had a nice block and a score on Dickau but as I said I’d rather have Delfino playing the point than him.

* Didn’t see a single celebrity.

* I SWEAR THERE WILL BE A PODCAST COMING OUT SOON. LOOK FOR IT.

Till tomorrow. Get the feed.