Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee – Dec 31

Raptors keep it going | Toronto Sun

"Everyone was scrambling on defence," Banks said, describing the play. "Me and (Wallace) got tangled up under the basket.

"Basically, I was trying to box him out. He threw a little punch and I just said (to myself): 'You know what? I have to set the tone, so I just drove him into the (stanchion). It got my guys up off the bench and we just kept it going from there."

Now, Banks has been a Raptor for a little less than a full season, but even he is aware of the soft reputation this team has had and decided last night was a good time to do something about it.

"They look at us like nice guys," Banks said of the rest of the league. "We no longer can have that if we want to keep winning games. It was a big-time turning point."

A late passing fancy | Toronto Sun

Holding a two-point lead with about six seconds left in the game, Belinelli took an inbound pass but, instead of wrapping up and waiting to be fouled, he flung a high-risk, cross-court pass toward Chris Bosh.

The pass did get through, but Bosh had to leap to keep it from landing in the first row of press seating. He was promptly fouled and converted both free throws to put away the game.

Belinelli saw nothing wrong with any of it.

"It was a good pass," Belinelli said. "I don't know why everyone wants to talk about that. It was in the court so it was a good pass."

Asked if, given the chance, he would throw the same pass, Belinelli said he would.

Doug Smith’s Toronto Raptors blog

I know very few of you are wondering but we chatted with Reggie Evans before the game and got this update, which I will mention once now and probably about 1,000 times over the next four or five days.

He’s better.

He had an MRI on Monday, it came back clean and he’s hoping to start some serious on-court work soon.

Given his level of conditioning and the fact he hasn’t played a minute of basketball for two months, he’s probably a month away from putting on a uniform and contributing.

As for his work during this hiatus, he told us he can work on the elliptical trainer now to keep his cardio up, he’s getting in some light, shooting, can dunk, make cuts on his sore foot without any discomfort and is generally in pretty good shape.

Erratic Belinelli energizes Raps –

Belinelli missed five of the six three-pointers he tried, but he had a series of oddly effective drives that ended with layups and helped him get to the free-throw line seven times.

"(He was) really slow and methodical at first, but I think he realized that he needed to do something to make something happen," Triano said. "This team switched a lot on us, we had mismatches inside and I think we did a pretty good job. You look at Bosh with 33 (points) and (Andrea) Bargnani with 28, but you can't have guys stagnant on the other side.

"Even though some of his drives were erratic at the end of the game, if you don't do that, they're going to sit in there. We had to swing it and he had to make some plays for us, especially with Hedo being out."

Bosh remains Raptors’ man in the clutch – National Post

"I thought Andrea was equally as good [as Bosh.]. They went small right off the bat," Triano said. "We got them in foul trouble early and they went small, and they had success with it. They stayed with it. Our goal was to keep pounding it inside: Andrea at one time, [Bosh] at another time."

The Raptors, 9-4 in their last 13 games, delivered far from a perfect effort. Charlotte, not close to spectacular offensively, shot 54% from the field. There were plenty of breakdowns on the perimeter, particularly in the second quarter, which Charlotte won 30-24.

However, the results just keep coming for the Raptors.

Kings Should Remember Webber and Trade for Bosh | Bleacher Report

Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo knows that Bosh is leaving following this season and there is nothing he can do to prevent that. Losing Bosh with no compensation to free agency is a worst-case scenario so Colangelo should deal Bosh now to maximize his value. If Colangelo wants to save his job he has to deal Bosh this season to minimize the bleeding.

Petrie has accumulated the ammo for a Bosh deal by drafting well and retaining those players to reasonable contracts. The reason why Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi and Jason Thompson are not included in any potential deal is because Petrie has probably marked them as untouchable franchise cornerstones. This should not be a deal breaker though.

Kevin Martin would be the main attraction to the deal from the Raptors perspective. Martin is an offensive dynamo; capable of averaging 30+ points per game in a fast tempo offensive system like the one the Raptors run. Martin is only 26 and has yet to reach the ceiling of his potential.

CBC News – Toronto – Bargnani’s key 3 gives Raptors 5th straight win

Marco Belinelli picked up 13 points off the bench for the Raptors, who were without Hedo Turkoglu who has what the club called a contusion of the right knee.

Triano said the injury came during practice on Tuesday and that he was questionable for Wednesday's game. He lasted 14 minutes and scored two points and had five assists.

"He went upstairs, warmed it up, got it ready, but we knew that he might have to pull the plug at some point," Triano said. "Sure enough it tightened up."

Toronto Raptors and the stat sheet | Toronto Raptors

Notice we are in the top 10 in points per game and field goal percentage 16th in assists and 24th in offensive rebounds let me remind you there are 30 teams in the NBA,so as i have been saying all season i think my raptors can put the points on the board as easy as any of the top teams in the NBA right now so thats not a problem but i would think for a team that averages 103 points per game that we would be higher in the assists category but 16th is only average,Jarrett Jack i think is doing a great job with calderon out.. the raptors can improve in that category and i will be looking for that improvement in the new year.

It’s a Matter of Defense « Basketball Outsider

Against Charlotte, Toronto played once again without Jose Calderon and Reggie Evans and the entire 2nd half without Hedo Turkoglu and yet they had a very decent lineup in clutch time (Jack, Belineli, Wright, Bosh and Bargnani) which comes to show the depth of the roster.

If the playoffs started today, the Raptors would be the 6th seed, even with a record below .500, which shows how terribly weak the East is this season. The Raptors do have a couple of pieces to cause some matchup nightmares and make some noise when they get there but on this pace, playing no defense at all, not even showing some effort on the defensive end, Toronto could not only be one and done but maybe even get embarrassed on the playoffs.

Tip-In: Toronto Raptors Post Game Report – BitingBack – Raptors HQ

After getting their lunch served to them the last time they faced the Bobcats, the Raptors brought a new intensity level to last night's game and in a hard fought battle made it five wins in a row.

Leading the charge? The Raptors front court who brought their A game.

HIP HOOP JUNKIES – A Toronto Raptors/NBA Blog: Killer B’s On The Swarm – RAPTORS 107, BOBCATS 103

The Raptors showed some real emotion and hustle last night. I don't know if I've ever seen Andrea Bargnani skip up the court screaming but last night everyone finally witnessed some emotion from the big man. Il Mago hit a clutch three with 10.9 to play to put the Raptors up four points in what was a very close game all the way through. It was a playoff-type of atmosphere at the ACC as the Raps put on an impressive effort to string together a season-high five game winning streak.

Mediocre Forever – A Toronto Raptors Blog: Bargnani’s emotion epitomizes the win streak

So to beat the Bobcats, who absolutely destroyed and embarrassed us back in Charlotte earlier, is huge. And that's a huge understatement. In that way, this game was much more important and tougher than it looked on paper. It's officially a legitimate win-streak now – take that as you may. Now I can smile instead of gulp if I read on ESPN NBA's headline somewhere "streaking Raptors" or "surging Raptors".
Losing Turkoglu in the first half evened things out a bit as the Bobcats are missing Chandler, and other players had to step up, and step up they did – from the quirky, mind boggling plays of, all the way up to Marcus Banks, whose confrontation with Gerald Wallace had to, HAD TO have had an effect on the Raps. It definitely rose the tension up a few notches and got things more heated.

FAN590 – Blogs – The Rap » High Five For T.O.

Smith Says:
– “They came, they saw, they conquered. Five wins in a row for the Raptors to close out 2009. Now the team must match this intensity and attention to detail when the calendar flips to 2010 and Toronto faces Boston, San Antonio, and Orlando right out of the gate.”

Jones Says:
– “Good intensity and hustle plays led to this win for Toronto.”

Antoine Wright – December 30, 2009

Antoine Wright talks to the media following the Raptors win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

Game In Six Minutes – Dec. 30, 2009

Watch the Raptors' win over the Bobcats, all in just six minutes!

Jarrett Jack – Dec. 30, 2009

Jarrett Jack speaks with the media following the Raptors' win over the Bobcats.

Andrea Bargnani – Dec. 30, 2009

Andrea Bargnani speaks with the media following his 28-point performance against the Bobcats.

Jay Triano – Dec. 30, 2009

The Raptors head coach speaks with the media following a big win over the Bobcats.

Marco Belinelli – Dec. 30, 2009

Marco Belinelli speaks with the Raptors NBA TV crew following a big win over the Bobcats.

Raptors Game Recap – The FAN 590 Toronto

THE FAN presents all of the highlights (1) and Eric Smith's game recap (2) from the Raptors' 107-103 Wednesday night victory, Toronto's fifth straight to wrap up 2009. The Raps are back on THE FAN on Saturday night at 7:30 as they visit the Boston Celtics!

Bargnani, Bosh take down Bobcats –

So how exactly does a team shoot 54 percent from the field and 91 percent from the foul line and still manage to lose by four?

"It's not hard to figure out how we lost that game. It's right in front of our faces,'' Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace said. "We don't take care of the ball on the road.''

No arguing there. The Bobcats committed twice as many turnovers – (23, to the Toronto Raptors' 11) and grabbed half as many offensive rebounds (six, to Toronto's 17). Give a team all those extra chances to score and you get the Raptors' 107-103 victory at Air Canada Centre.

Bobcats Fall to Raptors107-103 – Rufus on Fire

The Bobcats turned the ball over 22 times to the Raptors, the worst team in the league at creating turnovers. That's the kind of thing that will undo an otherwise solid offensive effort, which is exactly what happened, as the Cats lost, 107-103. It came down to the last few possessions, and Andrea Bargnani hit a clutch three with 11.9 seconds to go to effectively put the game away.

The Canadian Press: Bosh scores 33, Bargnani adds 28 as Raptors beat Bobcats 107-103

"The last time we played these guys – we showed the tape – we were five-feet off guys and let them do whatever they wanted to do," Triano said. "And even though we knew we were going to be blown by a tonight a couple of times tonight, and we did, we just felt that more pressure on the ball would create turnovers, create deflections.

"That's how we've been playing for the last 13 games. We decided to not be positional players. If we're going to get beat let's get beat aggressively."

Bosh and Bargnani came up with the big points down the stretch for the Raptors (16-17) who had 11 turnovers leading to 15 Bobcats points.

Marco Belinelli picked up 13 points off the bench for the Raptors, who were without Hedo Turkoglu who has what the club called a contusion of the right knee.

Red-hot Raptors close in on .500 – The Globe and Mail

Chris Bosh scored the go-ahead basket with slightly more than a minute remaining, the Raptors were able to force one more Charlotte turnover as Antoine Wright dove on a loose ball, and then Andrea Bargnani sealed it with a three-point shot with 10.9 seconds on the clock.

“Our energy was great,” said Raptors head coach Jay Triano, pointing out the 12 steals and countless more deflections among the 22 Bobcats turnovers Toronto forced. “We felt if we were going to get blown-by, at least let’s be aggressive and not be positional players and force some turnovers. That’s the way we’ve been playing the past 13 games.”

The win extended Toronto’s season-high win streak to five and brought it to within a game of .500 at 16-17.

Belinelli energizes Raptors in win over Bobcats –

Marco Belinelli is fun and frenetic when he's on the basketball court. No one can ever be sure what he'll give you.

He misses shots, but makes crazy layups. He loses the ball every now and then, but gets a bunch of deflections with quick hands to make up for the faux pas.

He can be wildly entertaining and the whole gamut of his skills were on display Wednesday night in what had to be his most significant game as a Raptor.

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