In a game with no Tyson Chandler, no MP3 downloads, CB4, no CP3, no C3PO, no R2D2, or CLR, no CCR, and thanks to Rogers, no HDTV or PVR, the Raptors lose 92-101 to the Hornets. The Raps allowed the home team to hang around and get open, until they got confident, got hot, and went on a run late to take the game and flush any Raptor hopes.
The most deflating thing is that they really need to get these to make up for all of the other opportunities they’ve blown. Quite frankly, (SAS voice) we are running out of opportunities to blow. We are running out of smoke, mirrors and optimism. We’ve seen all the tricks in this book, and none have worked consistently.
In a game featuring two wounded teams riding four game losing streaks, we turn the wheel first. Posey was riding in on a 3 point shooting slump and I knew we were going to let him break out of it. In my mind, the slump just made it all the more likely that he would pwn us. I just had this mental image of him leaving his house for the arena and his wife is all, “James, why are you all dressed up? Are you wearing cologne? Is that a box of condoms in your jacket! This is home game, James! How you gonna go through a box of rubbers at a home game, you aint even going on the road James Posey!”
“We’re playin’ the Raptors”.
“Oh, Okay. Try not to hurt them too bad, they look like nice boys”
On to the game…..
In the first we fed the post and didn’t look bad offensively. JO scored 8 of our first 10 points and Bargs was aggressive drawing three fouls and blocking two shots in the quarter. Bargs hung two early fouls on surprise starter Ryan Bowen; however that turned into a bad break for the Raptors as it got Posey in the game and resulted in Bargs on Peja, who proceeded to put on a clinic. You only hope Bargs learned something tonight about how to get open on the perimeter. I swear, Peja faked a flash and went back to the corner for a three one time that left Andrea spinning around like a top. Pejas three’s, David West’s jumpers from the top of the key, and our turnovers resulted in the Raps being stuck 10 at the end of the quarter.
In the second we switched to zone and were able to limit the Hornets to a single three in the quarter. We were creating turnovers off of our defence and getting fast break points. José returned to game and began pushing it like a man possessed. If José hadn’t been looking off Bargnani I wouldn’t have recognized him. He was pushing the ball, getting after loose balls, creating turnovers, and taking it to the tin and missing free throws. José scored 13 points in the quarter and we took a six point lead into half time.
The second quarter also witnessed a nasty jam by Moon and many Bargnani look- off’s from José. Jake even got back to back looks over Andrea with Andrea asking for the ball. Jake picked up two assists just being the middle man because José wouldn’t pass to Andrea directly. I’d love to know what’s up with that. At times I think maybe it just seems like that because Andrea’s either looking for the ball or shooting it. I don’t know. I can’t wait until the Raptors tell all book comes out, so I can find out what is up with that.
In the third we came out strong with Andrea posting up and getting the hoop and the harm. Early it was Andrea and JO doing the bulk of the damage, until a late close out to the corner on Antonio Daniel that lead to a big dunk that seemed to inspire the Hornets. Especially Paul who could be seen cheering and coaching his team from the Bench. When the hornets were closing the gap the whole bench stood and cheered the team on, you could tell that team has chemistry that flows from its leader, and you can tell we don’t have the same thing on the Raptors. As funny as it sounds, good play by Moon allowed us to answer the run and take a five point lead into the fourth.
Into the final frame Peja hit a bucket that brought it to a three point game. The Hornets were able to climb back in off a bad alley oop pass to Moon and a couple of denials on JO by Sean Marks. Sean must have been inspired by Bowen starting ahead of him. JO answered back and went on a tear, beasting it in the post and scoring seven straight points to build the lead back up. However after a time out and a sub of Butler for Marks, raps got scorched from behind the arc and the raptors couldn’t adjust. It was 83-75 before the time out, the Hornets go on a 13 point run to take a 3 point lead and it never got closer than that again. Raptor were out scored 37 – 23 in the final frame. We shot 50% but couldn’t defend, and that cost us the game.
We win 3, we lose 5. We can’t close out games with or without CB and Sam. Interesting times ahead.
I apologize to Arsenalist’s faithful readers as he asked me to do the recap on his behalf. I feel your pain as I’m sure you’ve noticed, as I have that, Arse has turned into not only one of the best bloggers, but best sport writers in Toronto. That said, thanks to Arse and Raptors Republic for allowing me to contribute.
Peace from the East.