Who are we to look down on the fortunes of another franchise? After all, we haven’t made the playoffs in some time, we’re 2-6 over an 8-game stretch I called our “best” run of the season (and nobody argued), and all of our hopes are pinned to a teenager on the other side of the world.

But still…

At least we’re not the Bobcats, right?

Is this even considered an NBA game? The league’s worst and 6th worst teams in terms of record and Hollinger’s Power Ranking go toe-to-toe in Toronto, in what will surely be an entertaining affair. And by entertaining, I’m not necessarily referring to entertainment derived from captivating and well-executed basketball.

The real draw for this game will be for those who are live at the ACC. Not to pump MLSE’s tires or pad their wallets, but tonight’s game a) is a cheap ticket, b) is DeMar DeRozan bobblehead night, c) features Naughty by Nature performing at halftime, and d) has most Raptors merchandise marked down to 40% off (and I believe this includes jerseys and hats). Really, it’s a great night to go check out the game, with a free bobblehead, discounts, a musical performance, an almost certain victory, and, of course, a high likelihood of free pizza, as the Bobcats are the league’s 2nd worst defensive outfit.

Friday, February 17, 2012
Bobcats @ Raptors
Record 3-26 9-22
Road/Home 1-15 4-10
Point Diff -14.3 -5.5
Off Rating 30th 27th
Def Rating 29th 18th
Power Rating 30 (85.09) 25 (94.08)
  *PR Predict Raptors -12
Reb Rate 30th 17th
Ast Rate 13th 23rd
TO Rate 22nd 13th
Pace 17th 23rd

The Raptors hold an edge in every relevant category except for assist rate, although on a player-by-player basis the match-up doesn’t look quite as dominant.

Point Guard: Kemba Walker will give Jose Calderon trouble defensively, but Jose is smart enough to force him into low-percentage shots, something Casey’s match-up zone might help with if Kemba gets hot. Jerryd Bayless is also expected to be back tonight, which should ease the minutes burden on Jose while also providing another attacker to make the Bobcats work defensively. D.J. Augustin is a capable back-up with similar game to Kemba’s, so the same thoughts hold.

Shooting Guard: Gerald Henderson is emerging as a strong defender, and has the lateral quicks to keep DeMar from attacking effectively while also making him work to some degree on defense. This will be a good test to see if DeMar’s most recent hot streak (20+ points in 4 of the last 7) is sustainable. That said, Henderson is still questionable to return, so it’s possible DeMar will be matched up with Reggie Williams. This could make the night easier for DeMar while also allowing the Raps to run their two-guard offense, as Williams isn’t as large a threat to attack the basket and exploit a defensive mismatch.

Small Forward: Linas Kleiza’s status is still to be determined after he missed Wednesday’s game. I’m hoping that this doesn’t mean more of Rasual Butler’s Corpse, and instead means more Silky Johnson and small-ball with DeMar at the three. Johnson seems the best fit, as his athleticism will be needed to contain Corey Maggette, a flawed player who is the perfect fit on Charlotte as the ultimate “good stats, bad team” player.

Bigs: I’m lumping power forwards and centers together here because, based on how I see the playing time shaking out, the difference is neglible in this one. Charlotte primarily rolls with best-name-in-the-business Bismack Biyombo and former Colangelo-mancrush Boris Diaw and his gigantic ass. Given the offensive limitations of Biyombo and the athletic limitations of Diaw, plus the relative lack of size of the pair, the Raptors should be able to thrive with plenty of minutes for Amir Johnson and Ed Davis. You can critize this thought, since I’d be playing them both heavy minutes in just about any match-up, but in this case in particular they should be able to exploit Diaw’s relative lack of quickness and Biyombo’s lack of offensive polish. I’d mention Ty Thomas here, but he’s pretty firmly in the doghouse right now and hasn’t played well in some time….so there’s a 70% chance he’ll pop off for 20+10.

Prediction: This is a very winnable game for the Raps, who truthfully are playing their best ball of the season so far. Coach Casey will likely have a gameplan to force the Bobcats to be a shooting team, which is sound strategy, and the game then hinges on the team’s focus. They can’t look ahead to the All-Star break just yet, and I don’t think Casey will lose them after the run of competitive games they’ve been playing. The occasional win, while tough on the lottery odds, is necessary as a confirmation that the hard work is paying off and not for naught. Raptors come out on fire, allow the Bobcats to come back in the third quarter, and then pull away for good in the fourth. Jose and Davis provide double-doubles, Biyombo blocks Amir at least three times, and Boris Diaw attacks a popcorn vendor. Raptors 101, Bobcats 89.

  • 2damkule

    good test of the ‘curse of blake’ tonight.

    this’ll also be an interesting gauge of which team plays to the level of their competition more…they SHOULD win (and fairly handily), but…

    • http://theondeckcircle.net/ Blake murphy

      Not exactly…they’re 1-18 in games I do post-game coverage for. I don’t believe the curse extends to my pre-game coverage, although I’m really not sure.

  • 511

    These guys swept us last year. Beat us three times. And I’ve never liked the Bobcats for some reason. I hope the Raps take the gloves off and beat them senseless. Do us all some good. 

    • 511

      I said ‘beat them senseless’ — metaphorically of course (notbigonhockey#) — because in recent years, I’ve had the feeling that the Bobcats, deep down, KNOW they have our number. Annnd, last night didn’t change that much. 

      One more crack at them this year, in Charlotte, on St. Patricks Day–Saturday night. And no, I don’t know why it matters to me but somehow, it does. I don’t like ‘em. 

  • Nilanka15

    Check out this juicy nugget from the Charlotte Observer:

    “Calderon is turnover-prone…”


    Stick to NCAA ball Charlotte.  You’re clearly in over your head with the NBA game.

    • Theswirsky

      I’ve heard this from Toronto fans though to.    Not to mention the ‘he can’t throw alley-oops’ statements, and ‘he’s not a good passer he only gets assists because guys hit jumpshots comments’

      • Nilanka15

        It’s true.  We have such incredible shooters on this team (DeRozan, JJ, Davis, Magloire, Butler) that Marv Albert could average 9 assists feeding these guys the rock!

      • Rub

         But he actually can’t throw alley-oops, that’s just a fact. 

        He’s among the best guards in the league for 46 minutes, you just better not be relying on him to win you the game in the last 2.

    • cesco

       He must have been confused with what the AST/TO ratio means .


    Today is MJ’s birthday and Coach Oak hates the Raptors. I don’t think the Bobcats are about lay down and catch a beating in the locker room like they owe Oak money, at least not today. 

    Like TJ Ford and Spurs, they are coming to get the last laugh.

    • Nilanka15

      This is the 1st time I’ve heard of Oak hating the Raps.

      • arsenalist

        Same here.  I know that Oak doesn’t like big men shooting threes, he made that evident last time he was interviewed during a game.  I’d say “hate” is a strong word, I don’t think he likes our style of play.  But even that was under Triano, which he can be forgiven for.

        • FLUXLAND

          Valid, but it was more than just “big men shooting threes” or “You ain’t going nowhere with 7-footers shooting three-pointers.”

          “You can’t build a team with five scorers on the floor.”  (the BC method, applicable today)  Sure, guys are actually showing initiative on D, but we are still watching the “which Raptor will have his night tonight while the rest of the team watches” and..

          “Somebody’s got to stop somebody”  – I don’t think anyone is talking about any of them as “stoppers”.

          [“They’re going to pay him $20 million
          to shoot jump shots?” – on Bosh (and it still took Riles how long to convince him to just rebound, something he would have never done here.)]

          I agree, I don’t think he appreciates any of the players or style of play, regardless of what he may say in the media as a paid coach.

      • FLUXLAND

        just about knowing that, once you get into season, basketball is something we
        need to be thinking about. I’m not saying we need to eat and sleep basketball,
        but guys don’t seem to think basketball anymore . They come to practice and
        leave practice and that’s it. And they don’t even know when to come to practice
        and when to leave practice. How can they get better? They’re not going to get
        better. That’s why you’re not going to see guys playing 10, 15 years anymore in
        this new generation. They’ll probably just play seven, eight, 10 years. Their
        mind ain’t right for it. Teams are going to start getting tired of guys doing
        the same thing when the effort’s not there. It’s just going to be one of those
        things, growing up. The NBA is on a down to me. It’s all about marketing. The
        fans coming out and watching, it’s not there. They’d rather stay at home and
        watch on DirecTV. The talent is just not on these teams. You can see guys going
        through the motions. They just want to shoot the ball. It’s not good to watch.”

        wouldn’t want to play with a young team. Especially a young team that doesn’t
        want to work to get better, that doesn’t understand or doesn’t have a clue. One
        that’s just young and talented. That’s not for me. There are a lot of teams
        like that, with young guys that just don’t understand. They just like to dunk,
        dribble the ball between their legs”
        That’s from his playing days, I doubt
        things have changed. And when he says: 

        are going to start getting tired of guys doing the same thing when the effort’s
        not there.”  That’s your Spaghetti heads and JBs and Butlars coming from real teams and coaches to the Raptors where they can “learn”,  alongside DC learning, BC learning….


  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Welcome to tonite’s D League All Star game at the ACC staring the Bobcats & Raptors…………………

    This is a serious trap game as the Bobcats come into the TDot on a 16 game losing streak- and the Raptors are seemingly- STREAKBUSTERS……

    Kemba Walker (Brandon Knight who is on a pubicly stated mission against teams that passed him over is up next on the 22nd) who the Raptors bypassed on in the draft is whom I wanted the Raptors to draft at #5 so it’ll be interesting to see how he plays against Jose & JB tonite.

    Charlotte has the kind of quick shifty pgs that give Jose fits in both Kemba & DJ Augustin.

    Also, reportedly Bismack (aka Bustmack) is whom BC would have drafted if Val was off the board.

    I see it as Bobcats 106 Raptors 100 call it the curse of the bobbleheads…….

  • Bendit

    Jose to give MJ the proverbial finger tonite for dissing him last year (nixing the trade)…on the other hand…..

    • cesco

       It is good  for everybody that that trade didn’t happen except for Miami . Now we will have JV , probably a better , younger version of Chandler and Jose for the pick and roll .

  • Jack Armstrong


    FREE one night 350$ fantasy basketball contest… I`m using James Johnson tonight as no one else will have him… Show your raptors pride and basketball knowledge and join the free one night contest!!!

    • Nilanka15

      Looks like Jack’s finally making use of his Blackberry…

  • mobchester

    Wolves looking to trade beasley at the deadline , Blake do you think raptors should trade for Beasley ?

    • Lorenzo


      But that’s just my opinion.

  • j bean

    The talk about defense that was so prevalent at the start of the year has subsided and we seem to be back talking about scoring and how good or crappy somebody is offensively. Lately I’ve noticed some guys trying to make up for poor defense at the offensive end of the court. If it’s not a priority and guys like Bayless, Davis, DeRosen and the Johnsons aren’t showing consistent improvement on D this hasn’t been a successful year no matter how low or high they end up in the standings.

    • Theswirsky

      Amir Johnson – 102 drtg  – career 106 – last year 110
      James Johnson – 99 drtg – career 104 – last year 111 (with Toronto)
      Ed Davis – 100 drtg  – last year 110
      Derozan – 106 drtg – career 113 – last year 114
      Bayless – 108 drtg – career 112 – last year 115

  • RapsM

    A win on the horizon?  The Raptors gave the wizards their first win. The Raptors like teasing fans with good games against good teams and pissing fans off with their worst games against bad teams.

    • KaioKev

      Right now the Raptors are the type of team to play another teams game. That is part of the reason why they play well against good teams and poor against bad ones. Player quality is probably the biggest reason though. Nevertheless there is still a LOT of work that needs to be done in order the change the so called ‘culture’ of this team

  • FAQ

    Third quarter and the game is still a toss-up …. go figure ….LOL

    Rautins just said “the Hornets don’t know how to win”!!!!

    Let’s see ………….