Read from bottom up for this to make sense.
West’s FTs made it a two-possession game and that was about it. 85-81 is your final. Raps lose.
Gaines, Bargnani, DeRozan, Johnson and Calderon (out of bounds passing it in). Play is an AJ post-up, clearly gets fouled. No call. Foul time.
DD’s turnover is under review and the refs overturn it. Raps ball with 19 secs left. Down 2.
West nails the jumper in the zone in front of Bargnani. Triano chooses not to call the timeout and DD loses it off his thigh on a strip. 83-81 19 secs left. Foul time. Raps appear to have blown it.
Raps have one 20 second timeout remaining. NOH has one full, two 20s and a foul to give. Bargs, DD, Gaines, Johnson, Calderon in. Decent play with DeRozan slashing from the corner to get fouled. Makes both, tie game. Davis for Gaines. Offense/Defense sub. 40 seconds left.
Raps force another miss but can’t get the offensive rebound. Bargnani again nowhere to be found leaving Johnson to pick up his fifth foul. Brutal. Raps with a big lineup that’s not helping (Davis, Bargs, Johnson). Raps catch another break as NOH turns it over but Bargnani misses twice on the same possession. Luckily for the Raps, Davis dives for the offensive board. 81-79 NOH with 50 ticks left. Raps ball.
Jose bails Bargnani out by getting the defensive board after Paul misses. Jose then misses a three, Raps offense static.80-79 1:45 left.
Ariza misses another wide open three as Bargnani fails to rotate. He’s got to be more awayre. Raps can’t get offensive rebound, Okafor again with the offensive rebound.
Raps catch a massive break. Jack sets up Ariza for a wiiiide open three who misses. Davis has the rebound taken away from his hands by Okafor. Looked like it went out of bounds off Okafor but the officials don’t really review it. Still 80-79 with 2:58 left.
Two jump-balls in a row. Game getting touchy. 80-79 NOH 3:30 left. Davis loses a jumpball to Paul. Unacceptable.
DD passing it to Amir for a 20 footer? Not the offense you’d like to have. Jack scores again on the drive. Jose – step it up. The good news is that Jose/AJ run a pick ‘n roll for a foul, Amir’s finishing impeccable again.
Jack torching Calderon off the bounce. Jose creates a look for Gaines but he airballs a three. Tired legs? Thornton again drives and gets fouled, I have no idea why the Raptors are not going under three screens against him. Seems common sense, no? 76-76, 12 point lead gone.
Hey, Thornton missed a jumper (big shock) and JW comes off the curl to knock down a good looking jumper. Wright having himself a compact game: 11pts/6reb. 76-72 Raps. Raptors effort cannot be questioned.
Bargnani scores on a baseline J after the timeout but West does the same. Great two-man game between Gaines and Wright, who scores on the layup. Raptors running a good set of a timeout. Thornton is looking to drive every time, lay off him, the guy hasn’t make a jumper all game. Johnson picks up his fourth foul. Gaines/Calderon need to test Thornton’s jumper, he is breaking them down too easily off the bounce. 74-72 Raps. 6:53 left.
Triano calls timeout. Raps catching a lot of breaks here on D as NOH can’t make a layup. Bargnani isn’t rebounding or scorer, he’s got to stay in the game and pick up his offense BUT he MUST put a body on Okafor who is going for the offensive glass every time. 2pt game. Raps ball.
Jack torching Gaines now. Drives and finds Okafor for a layup, 70-66 Raps. It’s going to be tight. Jose comes in for DD for a 2-PG lineup, don’t understand this one. Bargnani hits backboard on a three, just pass it up man. On the other end Thronton drives and help D is nowhere to be found. Get AJ in there!!! 70-68 Raps. Bargnani turns it over by Raps catch a break as NOH ruins the fastbreak.
West comes back in for NOH as Bargnani gets called for an offensive foul that is completely BS.
Gaines goes up the floor to DeMar DeRozan who makes a brilliant move, side-stepping the defender for the And1 – Raps up 70-62. Good start.
Aaah…O from D. Gaines with the steal at mid-court, leads to a DD jumper. JJ carries the ball. Raps win the first 40 seconds of the 4th. Bargnani (3-12, 0 pts in 2nd half) misfiring in the post-up, doesn’t look very confident.
Calderon and Gaines get called for the charge on successive possessions and Jack makes a floater after splitting the D. Bad finish to the quarter, Raps looked very tired there. NOH ends on a 6-0 run, all scored by Jarrett Jack 65-62 Raps. Barely hanging on. Raps shooting 47%, NOH 39%, rebounding was -7 in the third quarter.
NOH missing a lot of chances to nail that dagger three that gets the crows back into it. They had three orebs on this possession and got very good looks. Raps need to hold it together here, momentum could be shifting. Jack forces a shot against Calderon, defended well.
Davis and Johnson are using their up-fakes very effectively, especially Johnson. Calderon is looking for those two on every possession, Gaines comes in and banks a three in! Lifts a bit of the pressure off the Raptors who look a little winded in these late stages. 65-58 Raps as DD forces an ill-advised leaner that gets blocked by Ariza.
Turnovers a problem. JC forces a pass and DD misses on a post-up J against Thornton. Triano calls a quick timeout to get a hold on the team. Hornets have slashed it to five. 61-56, Paul becoming more involved. For some reason, Davis did not play the third at all, Triano finally brings him back.
Raps let off the hook by some misses from three by NOH, DD runs a great curl and JC is right on track with the pass for an impressive finish at the rim. Raps D getting a little porous as NOH seems to get penetration a bit too easily. DD should look for his shot more against the shorter Jack. Chris Paul finally makes a move to the rim, he’s been too quiet for his talents. 61-51 Raps. 4:20 3rd
Raps bench going nuts after Calderon finds Julian Wright coming from the weakside for a dunk. It’s Dallas all over again? 57-45 Raps, mid third.
Absolutely great second effort by Amir Johnson off his own miss (which got blocked by Okafor). Activity level of Raptors’ bigs is what’s keeping the Raptors going. How stupid is a +/- stat? Ed Davis is -1 despite arguably being the best player in the game. Turnover leads to points for NOH. 52-45 NOH, they’re pressuring the Raptors a lot more coming out of this timeout. Johnson breaks the pressure with a jumper. 12/7 for him. Raps up 54-45 with 7:15 left in third.
Calderon and Paul 1/2 in AST/TO with 4.55 and 4.14.
Hornets come out of halftime looking to assert themselves off the bounce and getting deep post-ups. Julian Wright answers with a great drive for an And1 and Calderon finds a streaking Johnson in transition (after a JW steal). Not enough? Two-man game between Calderon/AJ yields a spin move for the latter for a gorgeous finish. NOH defense lacking. Beli finally makes one of those stupid fadeaways. Raps up 50-43 with 9:25 left.
Halftime 44-37 Raptors. Raptors up 27-17 on the glass, Ed Davis with a phenomenal game. 11pts, 5-8 FG, 8reb (4oreb) and 2 blocks. DeRozan has 10 on 3-8 shooting and Bargnani is 3-10 for 9 points. For the Hornets, David West is doing the damage and Okafor’s 6 offensive rebounds are keeping them in it. Sundiata Gaines has a nice showing, worked well with Davis and has three assists to go along with Calderon’s 4. Raps zone worked well again, and NOH is being hurt by Belinelli and Jack trying to do a bit much. Can the Raps keep Paul under check? Will Davis’ strong showing continue? Will Bargnani find his game? Answers in the second half.
Ed Davis again presenting himself nicely, Calderon fins him for a nice contested finish in the paint. West is 6-9 and scores with a jumper, he’s got 12, I imagine NOH will milk him a lot more in the second half. 44-37 Raps. Late second.
Paul hasn’t gotten himself going, some fairly makeable missed jumpers – 0-3. DD blows a dunk but makes up for it with a jumper,he’s 3-7, fairly quiet game but at least his man hasn’t exploded. Belinelli doing some very stupid shit on the court, like behind the back passes to people who aren’t expecting it. Of note, he requested to play in this game despite injury, hasn’t played the last two games. Okafor gets another OREB off Bargnani for two. He’s got 11/7. Ed Davis shows how it’s done, goes right at Okafor in the post. 9 pts for him. 42-35 Raps Under a minute left.
David West finally asserts himself, backs down Johnson for an easy two. Kinda surprised why NOH is so guard-oriented when West is being guarded by two unproven PFs in Johnson and Davis. 36-33 Raps, 3min left. Raps 13-5 FTA advantage.
Raps really dominating the glass – 25-15, Raps with 11 second chance points. 35-32 Raps 3:27 left second. If you like defense, you’ll like this game.
Belinelli blows a layup. Deja vu. Gaines gets the offensive rebound and then does a Jordanesque circus-shot for the And1. This guy’s tough, he pisses steel.
Andrea Bargnani blows a box-out. Put-back dunk for Okafor. DD forced to launch one with shot-clock running down but Davis’ activity leads to the offensive rebound.
Another great lob from Gaines, this time to Davis for the And1 against Quincy P. That was right after Gaines hits a three off of great ball movement. Raps up 32-26 midway through second. Bargnani with 9, DD with 7 and Davis with 6. Raps +8 22-14 on the glass.
Bargnani strokes a three after more great help D on Thornton’s drives. Raps up 5 – 27-22.
Ed Davis with a spectacular block from the weak-side on David West. Bargnani with a hard-dribble, pull-up and ties the game at 22. Davis even playing help D on the drives from Jack. Gaines with a great lob to Johnson who had his man sealed – Raps up by two.
LOL at Jack. Tries a hook-shot. Midgets don’t take hook shots. NOH can’t seem to handle the Raps thre bigs – Bargnani, Dorsey and Davis. NOH calls timeout to sort things out. 22-20 NOH, Raps hanging in there. Slow game, high friction, impetus on defense. Leo and Devlin stuffing their faces with shrimp, it has something to do with oil spill if you can believe it.
Raps in a zone on D having little trouble figuring out who has to rebound. Jack guarding Gaines. Mirror image. Bargnani runs the floor and gets in on the offensive rebound party with an And1. Davis having an impressive game on the glass – he’s got 5 rebs, very active.
Raps shoot 35% in 1st, NOH 39%. Bargnani is 0-4, DD with 7 and Davis with 4 off the bench. He just pulled down a nice offensive rebound in traffic. Dorsey gets fouled, Dorsey makes one of two. 20-17 NOH. Early 2nd.
David Andersen is in the game. I miss him a little. He’s checking Dorsey, also in is Jarrett Jack who clangs a jumper. I’m going to wait Leo to rip him…oh…here it goes, he says, “No offense to Jarrett Jack, he’s a backup PG in this league”. Typical Leo, now that the player is gone, time to speak the truth. Douche. Ed Davis showing nice hands inside, working nicely inside and seems to have good chemistry with Gaines. End of 1 – 20-16 NOH. Sam Jackson is here.
Gains and Dorsey are now in the game. Willie Green takes Gaines off to school off the bounce. Dorsey commits a turnover and Willie Green knocks another jumper down. NOH up 20-14, Paul with 6asts. Raps bench getting mauled right now.
Belinelli’s 0-3. Johnson picks up his second foul with 7 minutes to go. NOH not getting to the rim at all. Jose setting Bargnani up nicely, can’t capitalize. West/Paul hooking up now. 9-9.
DeRozan with a nice fade over Belinelli, Bargnani finds Wright nicely to beat the zone. Hornets constricted on offense, Paul not really testing Calderon’s (not 100%). Raps up 9-5, Belinelli playing like he’s wanting to prove something but it’s not really working for him.
Hornets D is locked in, Raptors not moving without the ball. Bargnani 0-2, NOH showing zone, Okafor laying off Bargnani. Leo is ripping Belinelli for his lack of defense, harder than he’s ripped DeRozan EVER. Play of the game: Amir Johnson rebounds the ball and goes all the way through the Hornets D for a hoop. Nice. 5-2 Raps.
Stat from Devlin: DD leads all second-year players in FT and FTA. Here he takes it to the rim and gets fouled. Amir Johnson playing good D on Okafor, forces a jumpball out of a post-up situation.
West guarding Bargnani, our man uses his fake-shot-and-lean-in to draw the foul. Goes 1-2 from the line. 2-1 NOH.
Raptors: Wright, Bargnani, Calderon, DeRozan and Johnson. Hornets: Paul, West, Belinelli (yayy!), Okafor, Ariza
Linas Kleiza is out with a sore right knee, Bayless is also out.
“Sharing the ball and moving it from one side to another”, is what Jay Triano says are the keys to this game. Love the generic talk. Love it.
Stuck at work? Fear not. I got ya. Starts at 3PM.
Judge not this team by the number of the their wins, but by the effort of their play.