Based on The Score’s three minute intro to the game which consisted entirely of Gilbert Arenas hitting game winners, throwing down jams and hitting fadeaways, I thought the Raps were in for a let down. But the NBA’s second leading scorer didn’t seem to rattle anybody in a Raptors uniform this afternoon, and if anything, it might have been he who got rattled by Jose “No Way” Calderon. The 116-111 final really doesn’t do much justice to the actual events of the afternoon as the Raptors were up by 22 at one point in the fourth quarter. After that the Wizards made a big run using the half-court press to make the score respectable and maybe get a moral victory out of a dull afternoon.
Perhaps it was the early afternoon start time or his 25th birthday bash that contributed to Washington’s demise, but let’s give the majority of the credit to the Raptors, especially Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon and my favorite Raptor, Anthony Parker (6-8 FG’s for 16 points) who is simply unable to miss an open jumper and has yet to take a bad shot in his life. Calderon made life miserable for Arenas on offense and on defense, restricting Agent Zero to 7-19 FG’s and scoring 13 points to give him something to think about on the defensive end. The other early scare for the Raps was Jarvis Hayes who started of 5-5 and knocked down a couple threes to keep it close early. Too bad for the Wiz that he only took seven shots in the game.
Much like the Hawks game, the Raps set the tone early and the Wizards despite making many mini-runs, never got over the hump. Good teams always prevent the opposition from going on big runs and the last two games, the Raptors have managed to do that. Having TJ Ford and Jorge Garbajosa didn’t hurt either. Ford, whose jumper is becoming more and more reliable, had a sweet little game and outplayed Arenas for the majority of the game.
After TJ Ford turned the ball over with three seconds left in the half and Arenas hitting a buzzer-beating trey which cut the lead from nine to six, it appeared that momentum and entirely swung Washington’s way. After the break, the Raps scored the first four points and restored the ten point advantaged which they pretty much toyed with for the rest of the game.
Raptors needed to win this one before hitting the road and Chris Bosh (24, 15, 5) did a great job of recognizing when to drive to the rim and when to test out the jumper. Anytime the Raptors looked like they were ready to settle for jumpers on offense, Bosh changed their mentality by either drawing a foul or scoring on a drive. Nice to see that from a franchise player. His highlights included a high put-back jam off a TJ Ford miss and a strong two-handed dunk/3pt play over Brendon Haywood.
Even Leo Rautins is making a strong effort to look foolish on TV trading drinking jokes and insults with Chuck Swirsky. The quality of the Raptors broadcasts really suffers without Jack Armstring. Pretty soon we’ll be looking at Paul Romanuk for help.
Game in a Flash