Morning Linkage – Nov 7

Raptors Sting the Hornets – The Rap, Eric Smith Thumbs Up: – Andrea Bargnani had a game-high 9 rebounds (1 shy of back to back double-doubles) Thumbs Down: – Quite honestly, it’s hard to find anything wrong with this game. Yes, Chris Paul WENT OFF … but that was part of the plan for Toronto:…

Raptors Sting the Hornets – The Rap, Eric Smith

Thumbs Up:
– Andrea Bargnani had a game-high 9 rebounds (1 shy of back to back double-doubles)

Thumbs Down:
– Quite honestly, it’s hard to find anything wrong with this game. Yes, Chris Paul WENT OFF … but that was part of the plan for Toronto: Let CP3 “get his” and keep everyone else off the score sheet. Toronto did just that. Plus, the Raps didn’t turn the ball over much (11), they out-rebounded the Hornets, shoot 50+ per cent, and won on the road by 17! I guess if you wanna get picky, you could said the Raps looked a little sluggish to start the game and they can’t afford to do that in Dallas tomorrow night.

Raptors @ Hornets – Live Blog Nov 16 – RR Forums

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.

Calderon leads the charge – Toronto Sun

"He hasn't been playing great and he knows it," Triano said. "It's not like we're going to bench him. He knows the best way to play out of (a funk) is to just give a solid effort. It's going to come around. He has been very good at working hard and he was bound and determined tonight. He doesn't like a lot of the things that have been written about him and he takes it to heart. He came out today and I thought he did an outstanding job."

Calderon finished the night with 16 points, eight assists and not a single turnover.

A team-first guy if ever there was one in the NBA, he was thrilled with the win, but seemed less so with his own personal evening.

Raptors’ fiery Jose Calderon silences critics –

"He doesn't like a lot of the things that have been written about him … he takes it to heart and I thought he came out and did an excellent job."

As did the entire team in a third quarter that was as good a stretch as they've played at both ends of the court this young season.

The Raptors made eight three-pointers in the decisive third – a single-quarter franchise record – and held New Orleans to 5-for-17 shooting from the field. In all, the Raptors were 14-for-29 from beyond the arc, with Hedo Turkoglu (four) and Andrea Bargnani (three) leading the way.

Millz Raptors Rant – mitc

Furthermore, I have tried to understand our team’s “identity” over the years as well. I mean, what exactly are we known for? Orlando is known as being a threat from beyond the arc, the Lakers are known for their triangle offense, Utah is known for its tendency to operate through half-court sets, etc….. AND Toronto is known for being a “freestyle” team who has no specific sets that they run? Pass and screen away does not qualify as a play either, and neither do spontaneous cuts from the offensive players. Although it is exciting to watch the “9-second” rule that Marc Iavorni brought to our team from Mike D’Antoni’s Phoenix Suns tactics, this strategy does not qualify as a set play either. I am extremely disappointed with the decision to bring yet another inexperienced coach to start a Raptors season.

Raptors vs Hornets – Game Flow

Visual image of the game

Dino Nation Blog: Raptors Make It Rain In Big Easy

A final word on Chris Bosh. It is hard not to think about the uncertain future for him and staying with the Raptors. However that will not be decided anytime soon. What is happening now is you are seeing a very motivated and determined CB4. Regardless of if it is for the final season or for many more to come Bosh is getting it done and showing you why he has become a fixture on Team U.S.A and a regular at the NBA All-Star game. Try not to let any paranoid feels you may have about 2010 get in the way of enjoying what this guy is doing. Bosh for the second straight season has started the season with a bang. We can only hope that he remains healthy and does not have the off-court distractions he faced last season. If Bosh is able to keep at it and not have those issues, I believe you are going to see the best season of this kid's career.

Post Game Thought: Hornets vs Raptors « New Leisure Blog

– Byron Scott could be the first coach fired in the current NBA season. His team was disinterested on defense, their body language was horrible and they are off to a slow start. The Hornets did lose to the Nuggets at home in an embarrassing fashion in the playoffs last season. Not too many coaches can survive that and Scott looks like he is losing his players. If things don’t improve soon, he is gone.

– Did you know Chris Paul could have been a Raptor? Paul was the 4th pick overall in the 2005 draft. Portland had the #3 pick but was looking to trade down to get Martell Webster. Apparently there is an offer made the Blazers to the Raptors for the 7th and 16th pick, but Rob Babcock refused. Instead, the Blazers took Utah’s offer which is 6th, 27th and a late first round pick in the 2006 draft. Obviously, the 7th and 16th picks would be a much better package for the Blazers. Really if Babcock knows what he is doing, we could have CP3 playing with CB4. Damn it!

For the Toronto Raptors Jose Calderon, The Big Easy is New Orleans « Brothersteve’s Green & Red Raptor Blog

Over the past four trips to New Orleans, Jose Calderon has averaged 15.5 points, 8.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals. And he did this shooting 55% from the field and 42% from three. Jose must have been really looking forward to Friday night’s game!

To say Jose Calderon had gotten off to a slow start in the current season would be an understatement. Calderon was shooting just 38% from the field and 20% from three before the game in New Orleans. A 9.8 point, 5.3 assist, 2 rebound, and 0.8 steal line over four games was well below the standard expected from Jose Calderon.

Bosh and Raptors sting Hornets – The Globe and Mail

“Our focus tonight was on Chris Paul,” Toronto coach Jay Triano said. “Any time he gave it up for the most part our guys had a hand in his face. He had to work for everything he got.”

Bobby Brown added 16 points and David West had 14 for New Orleans.

The Hornets (2-4), who are below .500 after six games for the first time since 2005-06, trailed 83-65 at the end of the third quarter and heard some boos as they walked to the bench.

Raps defence puts brakes on Paul | Basketball | Sports | Toronto Sun

"We showed him as many bodies as we could," Triano said. "I thought Jose (Calderon) and Jarrett (Jack) did a great job of sharing and taking turns of staying in front of him and making him work for everything he got. He still had great numbers but we wanted to wear him down and make him work." Antoine Wright, who is becoming the defensive conscience of this Raptors club, loved every minute of it, particularly the third quarter.

"It felt good and it normally does when guys are all on the same page," Wright said of the third frame during which the Raptors outscored their opponents 34-14.

It’s Raining In New Orleans! : The Picket Fence

Yes, Jose was able to survive the lynch mobs by Raptor fans, as well as the calls for Triano to park him on the bench, to put together a game that people expected of Jose before the season started. In fact, if he finished the season with the stats he got tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised. 16 points (6-11 fg, 2-4 3fg), 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 0 turnovers. It wasn’t a spectacular game, but I think everyone hopes it means that the real Jose is back. He looked comfortable right from the started, played with confidence and even showed some of that feistiness we’re so used to seeing from him. It was nice to see.

Poor Chris Bosh had an off night against the Hornets, with season lows for rebounds, free throw attempts and field goal attempts. Of course, he also played a season low 30 minutes because the Raptors were so far ahead that he sat much of the fourth quarter, which is good because they play Dallas tomorrow night.

Raptor Addict: The Man With the Plan

That was also the year that Sam Mitchell won his Coach of the Year award, supposedly for being the facilitator of this lightning-quick camaraderie. For weeks we heard praise lauded on him from all corners saying what he lacked as an X’s and O’s guy he made up for by being a “Jimmy’s and Joe’s” kind of guy, in that he knew how to deal with players on a personal level, hence the swift cohesion.

Raptors fire away in third to defeat Hornets |

"For the life of me, I can't understand why we came out with that type of energy, " Scott said. "We just kind of allowed them to run their offense and take the shots that they had."

Andrea Bargnani, the Raptors' 7-foot starting center, stood beyond the 3-point arc, and he made three of six 3-point attempts with Hornets center Emeka Okafor often arriving late to contest. In all, Toronto made 13 of 22 shots to outscore New Orleans 34-14 in the quarter.

While the Raptors were carrying out their shooting clinic, the Hornets made six of 17 shots in the third. They missed five of their seven attempts from behind the 3-point line in the period. And Paul, who led the Hornets with 21 points, went scoreless in the quarter, missing his only two attempts. Coming into the game, Paul had scored 30 or more points in three of the previous four games.

Sharp-shooting Raptors fly past Hornets –

The Raptors made eight three-pointers in the decisive third – a single-quarter franchise record – and held New Orleans to 5-for-17 shooting from the field. In all, the Raptors shot a remarkable 14-for-29 from three-point range.

It was as if all the things coach Jay Triano had been talking about since the season began came together at once.

Jose Calderon, mired in a four-game shooting slump, finished with 16 points and eight assists in his best game of the season, while Chris Bosh was perfect.

Bosh, who has been dominant in all his games so far, made all nine field goals he attempted – including a three-pointer – and finished with 27 points to lead Toronto.

And, most important, when he attracted some extra attention in the third quarter, he calmly took a backseat in the offence, kicking the ball out to shooters who knocked down open looks.

The Raptors beat the Hornets –

Jumping into some bullets:

* When the Raptors weren't lighting it up from deep in the third quarter, they were playing some zone defense that the Hornets had trouble cracking. And when they weren't in that zone, they did a nice job crowding the middle and recovering to challenge the Hornets shooters. There were holes there for our wings to drive off the catch, but alas, most of our wings can't drive.

* The Raps also did a solid job defending the pick and roll, hedging hard with a big and having an extra man help enough to cover West fading or Okafor rolling.

* Chris Bosh: 27 points (9-9 FGs) and 7 rebounds. He showed the entire offensive arsenal tonight. Post moves, fade-aways, hook shots, as well as a three pointer and plenty of hard drives that got him to the free throw line. I was impressed with his intensity and focus on the defensive end, too. Truly a great player.

Toronto Raptors at Dallas Mavericks preview | Dallas Morning News

Scouting the Mavericks

They are 3-2 after Wednesday's 114-107 overtime loss to New Orleans. … The Mavericks swept Toronto last season, winning 96-86 on the road and 109-98 at home. … Forwards Shawn Marion and Kris Humphries played for Toronto last season. … The Mavericks have improved defensively but are shooting only 41.7 percent from the field. … Center Erick Dampier recorded his second double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 rebounds against New Orleans. The Mavs are 34-11 when he records a double-double.

Raptors Make It Look Easy In The Big Easy – Hoop Heads North

Toronto played a solid 48-minute game and used a lights out 3rd quarter to knock out New Orleans early and cruised to a 107-90 win. The Hornets were outscored 34-14 in the third as the Raptors played some solid D to go with their hot shooting. The Raptors had 8 three pointers in the 3rd quarter, finishing 14-29 overall from behind the arc. With the win well in hand, I was able to make use of my NBA League Pass Broadband to watch Kid Canada and the Suns hand the Celtics their first loss of the season.

Chris Bosh was a perfect 9-9 from the field, finishing with 27 points and 7 boards. He also hit a 3 during the 3rd quarter run, putting him at 4-4 from behind the arc this season. If my math is correct, at this rate, he would finish the season a perfect 66-66 from 3-point land. Take THAT Reggie Miller and Larry Bird… and Craig Hodges with your NBA jersey!

Toronto Raptors vs. New Orleans Hornets – Box Score – November 06, 2009 – ESPN

Toronto Raptors vs. New Orleans Hornets – Box Score – November 06, 2009 – ESPN

Inside The Purple Room – Game 4

..with Payal Doshi