Raptors Skin the Cats for Five Wins in a Row

Raptors 107, Bobcats 103 – Boxscore

That’s how you play basketball. That’s how you bounce back from getting your salad tossed the last time around. That’s how your two best players mesh together and carry this team with Jose and Hedo out. It was electric, it was intense, it was exciting and it was gritty, it was the type of game you wish you spent your lunch money on to go.

We can be happy with the 5th win in a row, it’s actually at a level where it doesn’t matter who we beat to get here, we won games we should have, plain and simple. Last night against the Bobcats was no cake-walk, they were motivated to get out of their recent funk, and with the taste of that beating they laid down the last time, they hit the ground running from the tip. Nazr Mohammed was like Olajuwon in the post, Jackson/Wallace/Felton all got into the paint at will and finished at the rim. It’s no surprise that they shot 73.3% from the field. Everything to start was in the paint, then when the Raptors collapsed to help at the rim, the Bobcats kicked out for open jumpers that they nailed (shot chart).

Had it not been for the copious amount of turnovers, the Bobcats may have put this bad boy away early. They committed 9 sloppy ones in the 1st quarter that paced 17 fast break points (13 were off of turnovers) for the Raptors – the Raps ran back every Bobcat turnover down their throats. It was the classic case of taking what was available. We couldn’t stop them from scoring, but we made them pay for not protecting the ball. DeMar was a beast early. He attacked the rim, slashed to the rim, took aggressive cuts, and made himself available. 8pts in the first, all in rhythm, and all in the natural flow of the offense. It’s all about being complimentary with this team. If you can get yours without disrupting Bosh and Bargnani on offense, you’re a keeper.

I don’t know about y’all, but Weems was killing me in the first half. He took too many jumpers (2-7 from the field) and wasn’t attacking the rim. I lost a slice of pizza because I was cursing him out after his 4th bad one. I don’t mind folks taking J’s, but when they come at the expense of Bosh or Bargnani shooting the rock, it irks me something fierce. At least when Belinelli was missing his shots, he was getting to the line, and being a spark-plug off the bench. I would have personally threw Weems under the bus, but I got death threats last time I did Roll-Call, so I’ll leave it to the experts.

Why didn’t DeMar get much burn after the 1st quarter given how well he was playing? He left a bit to be desired defensively, but so did the rest of the Raptors. 11mins in the 1st quarter, and 9mins for the rest of the game. It was almost like Triano forgot about him, he didn’t even do anything to warrant it, unless I missed that, anyone? It didn’t come back to haunt the Raptors, however, the kid is playing well, so why give his minutes to Wright in the 4th?

The play of Bosh and Bargnani deserves some ink since it was the best I’ve seen to date. Bosh lived inside 10 feet, and Bargnani did most of his damage outside of it. There was some overlap where Bargnani would take his man off the dribble, or post-up on a mismatch, but you could almost see where one would pick up where the other left off. It didn’t even hurt that Andrea only grabbed 4 rebounds because of the clutch shooting down the stretch. On three occasions, Bosh drew the double-team, and kicked out to Andrea for an open shot. Their play was so good, it left us (I assume I speak for everyone here) all asking why this doesn’t happen more? Forget trying to get Turkoglu integrated, spend more time trying to recreate the chemistry from last night.

I’m still pissed I wasn’t at the ACC for this one. The Bobcats shot the crap out of the ball, but the Raptors won this by protecting the ball, big post play that led to second chance points and open shots on the perimeter, getting to the foul line and hitting free throws. This was the most impressive win of this stretch because of how hard the Raptors were tested from start to finish. The Bobcats took a 1 point lead with 1:43 to go in the game, but the Raptors buckled down. They forced a miss on a Jackson jumper, then Jack steals the ball from Felton on the next possession. Defensive stops down the stretch won this game, when’s the last time we have ever said that?

Quick Thoughts:

  • While the bench provided a spark, they were brutal from the field shooting a combined 7-27 (27pts 13rebs 8ast)
  • Turkoglu dished out 5 dimes in the first half before shutting it down in the 2nd with a knee contusion
  • Calderon is clearly reading RR, he was sporting a fitted suit last night, looked good
  • Glad to see O’Bryant got to the game on time
  • Can’t stop gushing about the complimentary play of Bosh/Bargnani, Triano needs to bottle that, analyze it and duplicate it for the rest of the year
  • Amir with a second game weak game in a row, hopefully it’s all that Christmas food he’s been putting down
  • I’d make that trade from Steve’s podcast yesterday (Caldeorn for Farmar, Morrison and a 1st rounder)

On behalf of us all here at RR, I wish each and everyone one of you a happy new year. The TTC is free till 4am so be safe and enjoy your night. Go Raptors (Free Amir).

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