Calling it here, Raps by 8. It has to be, after this it's @DAL, @SAS, vs CHI, @LAC, @PHO, @DEN, @UTA. Yikes!
Raps in their black jerseys for the first time this year.
Turkoglu, Bargnani, Bosh, Calderon, DeRozan
Wright, Okafor, West, Paul, Peterson
14-8 NO, 6:22 1st: Both team's feeling each other out, the Hornets are going at our big men with Okafor and West for a couple scores. They've gone into the post on virtually every possession, even Paul took Calderon into the post for a couple. Some suspect transition defense by the Raps led to an easy basket and Bargnani's shot so far is flat, 0-2 on jumpers. DeMar DeRozan's got two hoops for the Raps, one on a nice alley-oop from Jose and the other on a good screened jumper against Mo Pete. Raps defense looking a little slow. Gotta go back to Bosh in the post against the smaller and slower Okafor.
15-14 Raps 4:27: Peja off the bench goes at Calderon inciting a double. Calderon comes right back at Peja to draw the foul. Hedo hits a three after missing a couple jumpers early, he's looking for his shot, that's good. Wright and Rasho check-in for Bosh and DeRozan. Raps on a 7-0 run as Bargnani also hits a jumper coming off a low screen. Jack comes in for Calderon.
17-15 NO 2:48: Hornets going under the screen is costing them but the Raptors aren't able to make them pay with Jack and Hedo missing open (but deep) jumpers. Bargnani's being aggressive against Okafor but no dice. Gives up a bad rebound to Armstrong. Raps unable to take advantage of Paul being on the bench. Bosh is on the bench too, we need to use him more, it's clear Okafor and West are at a quickness disadvantage.
End of 1st 23-19 NO: Ugly stretch of play there. Rasho blows a layup, a jumball for some reason, a Hedo travel and then Peja burning Jack for 3 who left him for some reason. Bosh gets a generous call on the pump-fake from 17 feet - he goes 1-2. Bosh leads NBA in FT attempted. Some props to Johnson and Bosh for playing decent defense and taking care of the glass here. Brown beats Jack for two late and Jack's last second shot rolls out.
29-26 NO 8:55 2nd: After a long rest CP3 comes in to get an assist, steal and a three (wide open, Jack lost him). Raps are getting open looks but can't knock them down - Wright and Belinelli missing good looks. Bosh paid Armstrong for cheating in the post and Johnson's providing some good minutes off the bench for the ineffective Rasho. We haven't seen much Jose v Paul so far.
37-32 NO 5:56 2nd: CP3 hits two Js against Jack after losing him on two screens. This Jose-Jack lineup is not working, even though they're checking two PGs in Paul and Brown. Bargnani has to take Darius Songaila to school. Paul is taking the game over, he's breaking down and finding people, Songaila just scored and Bargnani tried to answer with a three which didn't fall. Bosh's second effort leads to a Bargnani hoop. Songaila answers though as Bargnani switches to help Jack with Paul. Paul has changed the feel of the game. Superstar. Raps even showing some backcourt trapping - nice!
46-43 Raps 2:52 2nd. Bosh has 13 so far in the quarter, at least he's making Sonagila pay for existing. Calderon burned Paul for going under bit Paul trumps him on the next possession by splitting the high double. Julian Wright blows by Bargnani for two but the Raps answer with a good play - Jose drive on the right wing leading to Jack 3 on the left corner. Good ball movement. Bosh picks up the charge on West and then on the pick 'n roll throws it down over Julian Wright. See what happens when you roll. Bargnani picks up an absolutely bullshit foul on Paul in the backcourt. Incidental contact - total bullshit. Bosh picks up the Raptors.
51-49 NO halftime: Jack, Jose, Bosh, Bargnani and Turkoglu lineup was going well, the pinnacle was Calderon hitting a wing three after good DP by the Raptors. Bargnani missed two open J's, he's only 2-9 so far. NO not going into the post anymore but Paul is acting like a magnet and finding people for good looks. We're paying far too much attention to him. Raptors close the half terribly, Paul finds Wright for two and then a bad pass by Jose leads to a two right at the end.
62-56 8:05 3rd: Helter Skelter start. Mo Pete hits a three on DeRozan after he cheats to help on Paul v Calderon. Bosh with a tough fade over Okafor who comes right back with a dunk after a PNR. Raps move the ball around and Calderon drills a deeep three after begging for the ball - good recognition by DeRozan to find him. Intensity picking up a just a bit here, Raps still missing open threes though, Hedo's the latest one to bomb an open look but fear not, he comes back with a step-back three - I guess it needs to be a hard shot for him. Chris Bosh hits his fourth three of the season, he's 4-4 from there. This one with Okafor's hand in his face. The Raps end an 11-0 run with Hedo setting up Jose for a clean look for two.
73-60 Raps 2:58 3rd: Bargnani hits two threes as the Raps keep on rolling. Calderon does a great job of surprising Paul in the backcourt to cause a turnover and then Hedo bombs away for three on the left wing. The Hornets not helping their cause by taking quick jumpers without any rebounders under there. Raps taking full advantage of sloppy NO ball. Paul's trying his best but the help is there and nobody on NO is moving. Calderon was great in that stretch pushing the ball and making Paul make quick decisions by applying good pressure with the help ready behind him. Hedo in the post is working out well, he's attracting help and it's creating good looks. Bosh is owning Okafor, too quick for him, that shoud've been happening from the opening tip.
83-65 Raps End 3rd. Hedo with another three, this one would be considered a bad shot if he weren't so hot. The energy even rubs off on Johnson who comes with a steal and a breakaway dunk. Active hands...active hands. Just as the rims are settling down, Bargnani bombs another three. When the going's good..it's good? Darius Songaila's shots aren't falling, the little turd. Hedo and Bosh running two-man game, same with Jack/Bosh which results in a layup for Jack. Hornets looks flat, Raps look energized. Bobby Brown's the only Hornet who's getting DP now but his mates aren't knocking it down. Raptors outscore Hornets 34-14 in the quarter. Raps hit 8 threes in that quarter, breaking the franchise record of 7.
5:52 left, Raps up by 20. This one's over. Calderon's taken off. Take a bow. Hornets missing too many contested jumpers to make anything of this one.
BTW, I called it.
3:45 left, 99-77 Raptors. Bargnani, Bosh, Calderon, Turkoglu all on the bench.
Game Over, Raptors win. 107-90.