Raptors Find The Motivation to Beat Bobcats

There are days when you just have to get up and find a way to get through. The Raptors did that.

I fell asleep in the second quarter and just when I was settling into my dream where I was playing a tight game of chess with a unicorn, I was awoken to Matt Devlin and Jack Armstrong strongly suggesting what a great player Leo Rautins would make in “today’s NBA”. Before that dream had started, there was the first quarter which saw Josh McRoberts play point guard, Rudy Gay throw down a massive dunk (and score 11 of the Raps’ 22 points), Kemba Walker torch a disinterested Lowry, Henderson cross DeRozan over hard, the Raptors shoot 53%, and the Bobcats shoot 29%. The amount of effort exerted in writing that first paragraph was greater than the combined effort of both teams all night.

[Related: Reaction: Bobcats 78, Raptors 92]

Rudy Gay had a fine offensive game where his jumper, due to nobody on the Bobcats being tall enough to defend him, had a clear sight of the rim. I still maintain that he gave about 60% offensive effort and 50% defensive. The Raptors had a five point lead after the first quarter, and would have extended it in the second if it weren’t for Charlotte getting 8 offensive rebounds in the second to the Raptors’ zero (11-2 second-chance points for the Bobcats). This amounted to only a six-point halftime lead for the Raptors. I suppose we should talk about some key points in the half.

DeMar DeRozan had Gerald Henderson on him and could neither defend him nor score against him. Same old story, a guard plays DeRozan tight and he can’t dribble his way out of it. On the defensive end, it was all about effort of which DeRozan gave none. Disappointing. I realize these are utterly meaningless games but I expect him to play till the end. Amir Johnson was the story again, specifically on the glass. There were plenty of rebounds to be had with Charlotte shooting 32%, and Johnson collected 21 on the night, including 8 in the first. Bismack Biyombo has absolutely no discipline on the glass, and Johnson was just too wiry for McRoberts.

If you were following this game till halftime, you are either a big time Raptors fan or run a blog about the Raptors, or do both. You might be wondering why the 58% shooting Raptors were only up by 6, and the answer would be 11 turnovers at the half: strips going down the lane, getting tied up because the ball wasn’t protected, dribbling off one’s foot, and this one time an eagle swooped in and took the ball right out of Kyle Lowry’s hand. Amazing. Lowry could not be bothered to fight through a screen in the first, nor did he exert any sort of defensive pressure on a the dribble-challenged Bobcat guards.

So the third started, and the halftime talk had the effect of momentarily waking the Raptors up. The defensive intensity was ever so slightly raised, partially due to DeRozan being evicted by Casey in favor of Anderson just so we had somebody who could stay in front of Henderson (he had 11 in the third). The Raptors had taken a 14-point lead during the third quarter, but Charlotte came storming back as the pressure on the pedal was eased. Why this Raptors team feels entitled to play down to the level of their competition is concerning, and it’s due to the individuals like Gay and DeRozan who are simply not consistent in their throughput, and the sharp drops in collective team defense.

Terrence Ross, who had played almost 12 minutes in the first half and gone 2-2 by showing a drive-first attitude, played zero minutes in the third. No idea why. I really don’t get it and I can’t even be bothered to decipher this pattern. This was the only quarter the Raptors lost, and they went into the fourth up only 1, with the crowd getting a little restless but having complete faith in the Bobcats’ crapiness.

In the fourth, the Raptors got some good play from Telfair, and decided to utilize Gay in the low block for the first time in the game. He either scored or drew the double. Ross went 2-3 including a nice dish and drive, and a key three which extended the lead. The Raptors defensive effort with Ross in there was better and Telfair did well to up the defense as well. The stat of the night is this: the Bobcats went 1-13 in the fourth quarter. They had one field goal. One.

There you have it, guy. The post-game report for a game that bares no meaning and was as barren as the two teams playing it. Raptors win. What this win means, I’m not sure. Make no mistake about the positives from this one, it’s not the win but, 1) Amir’s continued great play, and 2) that Terrence Ross is finally getting some meaningful run and producing. As suggested by Blake on the Rapcast, next year’s potential lineup of Gay-DeRozan-Ross-Lowry could be exciting….oh man, I need to stop. Try to take some pleasure out of the win and even though all these games are pointless, the one on Sunday isn’t. If we win that, this season would actually have some sort of meaning. Like a trivia question and I’ll settle for that, and for breaking The Streak.

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