Good old Heat, you can always count on them for a win. The Raptors have absolutely OWNED them over the last few seasons, winning 8 of the last 10. Arse hit the nail on the head when he said that a win was more a signal of the continued resurgence than a feather in the cap. However, 5th is better than 6th, and the things that usually drive me crazy about Raptor games, didn’t even bother me one bit.
Who else didn’t give rats ass that Bargnani only grabbed 3 rebounds? I bring this up beacause you know how I feel about my centers (I prefer the Kendrick Perkins types), but this is 2010, and things change. Bargnani played like a beast, scoring 27 on 13-19 shooting from the floor, that’s ridiculous. That rebound with 40 or so seconds to go was where I found peace with Bargnani. Just like the Raptors defense stepped up at key times to power the Raptors over the Lakers; Bargnani’s rebounding showed up to snatch a sure fire offensive rebound away from the Heat.
Who doesn’t care about what Turkoglu contributes anymore? 6pts 4rebs 3ast for $109,756.01. Yes, he makes $110k a game, but God bless him, he hits his free throws when the game is on the line; cementing the win last night. At some point, teams are going to realize he can’t hit jumpers anymore, and not play him tightly on the perimeter, but until then, we get to ride his coat-tails as a closer which opens up the game for other Raptors to step in.
Weems? You have to love love the kid for his energy and tenacity. First career start, and he didn’t disappoint, getting to the rack and finishing off the dribble. That’s all we want our shooting guards to do in Toronto. Be active on defense and drive to the rim. He was a spark-plug in the 1st quarter when the Raptors were dragging their feet and in danger of being blown out of the game. So what if he moved away from the drive and started to pop (and miss jumpers). The kids young and seems to be coachable, and took advantage of the start and extended minutes.
Calderon and Belinelli as the Raptors best back-court? Raise your hands if you agree. I think they are a perfect compliment to each other off the bench. Calderon with his calculated approach coupled with Belinelli’s kamikaze ways; like the waitress and dancer hitting you up at the same time at The Rail. The more Calderon does his thing off the bench, the less I Want to trade him. I know I’m the guy who led the charge, but I forgot how effective he can be as the backup point (if only TJ didn’t rock the boat, things may have been different).
With Wade on the bench to start the 2nd, Calderon and Belinelli accounted for 19 (21 if you count Bosh’s tip-back) of the first 25 points the Raptors scored to give them a 48-47 lead. For the quarter, Calderon dropped 3pts 5ast while Belinelli put up 9pts 1reb 1ast 1stl.
The 3rd was where the game was won, and again, it was the Raptors defense that stepped up. In two-3min stretches, the perimeter defense was flawless. Jack, Weems and Turkoglu took away penetration from Alston, Wade and Richardson. Better yet, they contested the desperation shot that came late in the shot clock each time.
Antoine Wright was a significant piece, again. His 4th quarter play maintained the Raptors lead, as well as not allowing Wade to bully his way into the flow of the game. His defense on Wade, was the same as his defense on Kobe on Sunday: he stayed with him, didn’t try to do too much, but also didn’t give Wade a chance to draw a foul, stop the clock and get to the line. And for good measure, he hits a crucial 3 that extended a 4 point lead to 7 and sealed the game. This is his niche on this team, don’t trade him for a 2nd rounder, lets try to make a run.
Oh yea…Bosh, he played elite: 24pts 18rebs 4ast.