Tag:Chris Bosh
Posted on: December 3, 2008 12:00 pm
 

Raptors - Nuggets - a post mortum

There is very little that can be added to the result of last night’s game in Denver. The Nuggets were lead by Chauncey Billups with 24 points and 14 assists and Carmelo Anthony with 23 points and 6 rebounds. Nene added 19 points and 11 rebounds and Kenyon Martin added 11 points and 4 rebounds. Linus Kleiza and J.R. Smith were able to add 12 and 14 points to the mix. In and of itself, these totals seem to be average game totals and don’t reveal a few things that the Raptors didn’t want exposed.

First, some good things I saw for the Raptors last night, and yes, there were a few. First, Chris Bosh was able to score 24 points and 12 rebounds, though he had 10 rebounds in the first half. Roko Ukic scored 13 and offered a glimmer of hope that this team might have a backup point guard soon and rest Jose Calderon who struggled again on both ends of the floor, but mainly on defense as he was just clearly out hustled all night long as the Nuggets back court ran at will on him scoring many easy lay ups in transition or on penetration from the top of the arc. Joey Graham looked to herald the return of bad Joey again but ended up with 10 points and 5 rebounds. Kris Humphries grabbed 8 rebounds to make up for Jermaine O’Neal who looked lost most of the night and only grabbed 2. Somehow, the Raptors were able to grab 12 offensive boards to the Nuggets 5, yet were unable to convert most of them into buckets as the Nuggets were much quicker to recover inside and we seem unable to hit a 3 foot or shorter shot last night, well, most nights for that matter. After a first half with 8 turnovers, they finished with 10 as well as 6 steals, but we are still unwilling to run the ball and convert those opportunities into layups which has been a problem all year. Did anyone else notice that the Nuggets made their runs when Andrea Bargnani was not guarding Carmelo? A very solid defensive effort by the big man again as he continues to grow in confidence and show the talent he has for the game.

Some of the ugly things I saw before I turned it off and watched Amadeus with my girl friend. Jermaine O’Neal looked awful on defense and very slow. I suspect he is not ready to play at 100% as Jose Calderon isn’t at this point either. Chris Bosh and Jose both have not played well defensively and that continues to be a huge problem for us. Anytime a team can shoot 59% against you, you have serious issues with defense. A team can get hot outside and kill you there as the Nuggets were 54% from outside hitting 13 of 24 shots from downtown, but the Raptors were beaten in the paint again as the Nuggets continued to attack the lane at will. The Nuggets scored 50 points in the paint to the Raptors 28. They scored 27 fast break points to the Raptors 17. As well, the Nuggets score 16 points off of turnovers to the Raptors 8. There is your 40 point loss in a nutshell. The Raptors were out-hustled and out-played and out coached all night long, again. The team looked disillusioned and bewildered all night long and had no answer to any challenge laid before them. I am not sure any of it can be blamed on the elevation as they continued to shoot and at one point early in the game they were around 28% from the field with NO intention of moving the ball inside. Jamario Moon and Jason Kapono are just not able to provide this team with that level of outside scoring, yet they were not willing to go inside as both Andrea Bargnani and Jermaine O’Neal were in foul trouble early, again.

Overall, it was a horrible game to watch and must not have been very much fun to play. With the Jazz up next on Friday and Deron Williams and Mehmet Okur at home where they don’t lose very often, the Raptors will have to work much harder than they did last night. Carlos Boozer is listed as out right now and Andrei Kirilenko is listed as questionable leaving them vulnerable to a solid performance from out front line. Are they willing to step up and play? We shall see.

Posted on: December 1, 2008 1:29 pm
 

Raptors - Week 6 Preview

This week sees the Raptors continue their western trek after a loss to the Lakers in L.A. Sunday night. From there, they head to Denver to take on the rejuvenated Chauncey Billups lead Nuggets. With Carmelo Anthony injured and questionable for the game, the Nuggets come into the game riding a 2 game winning streak with 4 wins in the last 5 games with a loss to the Hornets last week and victories over the Bulls, the Rockets, the Clippers and the Timberwolves. At 12 – 6, they trail only the Lakers in the west and are 5th over all in victories this season in the league with the Trail Blazers. Since trading Allen Iverson to the Pistons for Chauncey Billups, the Nuggets are 8 – 3 having lost only to the Lakers, the Hornets and the Cavaliers in that period.

Without Carmelo Anthony, this Nuggets team will start the following lineup:

C- Nene
PF – Kenyon Martin
SF – Linus Kleiza
SG – Dahntay Jones
PG – Chauncey Billups

While the Raptors will continue with the same lineup until Jermaine O’Neal returns, which we do not know at this time.

C – Andrea Bargnani
PF – Chris Bosh
SF – Jamario Moon
SG – Anthony Parker
PG – Jose Calderon

With some of the defensive strides the Raptors have made this past week, I see this game as very winnable at this point. I like the matchups in the front court and feel we have the rotation to attack at all three positions all night. With Anthony Parker not having a top 10 player to guard all night, I look to him to build on his 19 point game against Kobe Bryant and perhaps be the difference in the game at both ends of the floor as he should be able to help in rotation much easier not having a 30 point threat as a check all night. Up front, I look for Andrea to keep Nene busy all night both inside and out. He is a very good defender both on the block and quite able to guard Andrea outside as well. Another double double from Andrea would go a long way to make Chris Bosh have the room he didn’t have against Andrew Bynum. I am not sure that Kenyon Martin can keep up with Chris and I look for Chris to attack the hoop and make K-Mart stop him. I can see CB4 going to the line 15 times or more.

Chauncey Billups will be the biggest problem for us as Jose Calderon will have a lot of trouble with the bigger guard as he seems to always do. With Chauncey playing at a very high level right now, I see this as our biggest problem to deal with. It will require all of the defensive improvements we have seen the Raptors make to keep this team out of transition and make them work the half court game as much as possible. I look forward to a very good game by both teams but I think that we match up well against this Nuggets lineup and have a solid shot at picking up a victory, but it will require some solid rebounding and transition defense for that to happen.

From here we travel to meet the Utah Jazz who come into the week 11 – 7 over all after going 2 – 2 last week defeating the Kings and the Grizzlies but losing to the Bulls and the Nets as Devin Harris went off for 34 points. They will play games against the Kings and the Heat back to back Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting the Raptors on Friday. With Carlos Boozer missing the last 6 games, the Jazz have struggled to a 3 – 3 record having lost to the Bulls, the Spurs and the Nets over that period. Having Deron Williams back has been a huge lift for them at a time when they needed a boost.

After this game, the Raptors are home to the Trail Blazers who are sitting at 12 – 6 having beaten the Pistons on Sunday night. They bring a 4 game win streak into this week and are tied for second over all in the west as of Monday’s writing. This game will be a huge test for the Raptors as they return home from a road trip against the other 3 top 4 teams in the west! The Trail Blazers have games against the Knicks, the Wizards and the Celtics before the visit Toronto as the fifth game of a five game swing through the eastern conference. With Brandon Roy averaging 21 points and LeMarcus Aldridge averaging 16, this team is young and very much on the rise in the west. Let’s hope by Sunday, they will have been worn out by the Celtics and Jermaine O’Neal has returned healthy.

So this week we play teams with a combined 35 – 19 record. 49 – 20 if you add the Lakers. Let’s just say that if we can keep getting better as the team looks like it has, then this road trip will have helped us achieve that goal. Can we win them all? Of course, most games are not won or lost on the floor, but before the game in the locker room. These games will test the heart of the Raptors and Sam Mitchell. Let’s hope we see the team continue to challenge and grow as a team.

Posted on: December 1, 2008 11:16 am
Edited on: December 1, 2008 11:32 am
 

Raptors Week in Review - Week 5

The last 7 days for the Raptors have been difficult to say the least. Physically and mentally they have been taken to both extremes. In a week where they played both of the top 2 teams in the league, the Raptors were looking to find out if they were ready to acquit themselves at the highest level of play in the league. Here is how I saw those games.

Sunday, November 23rd – Boston Celtics in Toronto.

The game started fast for the Celtics as they opened up with a 10 – 0 run from which they never recovered. Jermaine O’Neal tried to play but hobbled off the floor in obvious pain. Chris Bosh scored 24, Jose Calderon, Anthony Parker Kris Humphries and Andrea Bargnani were all in double digits. The Celtic scored 59 points in the first half and were never really threatened as Rajon Rondo ran the floor in transition as well as a solid half court game lead by Ray Allen with 21, Kevin Garnett with 15, Kendrick Perkins, Paul Pierce, Eddy House, Tony Allen and Rondo himself all scoring 10 or more. Overall, the Raptors looked slow and out of sync on offense and could do nothing to stop the Celtics ball movement at all.

Wednesday, November 26th – Charlotte Bobcats in Toronto.

The Raptors needed a win to stop a slump both mentally and as a group. With Jermaine on the bench, Chris Bosh put up 39 points on a night that he had little help. With Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani struggling on offense, Joey Graham came off the bench and scored 17 points as well as provided some much needed energy at both ends of the floor. With Jason Richardson still out of the lineup, Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor combined for 39 points and forced the Raptors to adjust several times on defense to contain them both in the lane and on the glass. A good win for the struggling Raptors, but should not have been as close as it was.

Friday, November 28th – Atlanta Hawks in Toronto.

After getting stuck in his condo’s elevator and arriving less than an hour before game time, Chris Bosh seemed on his game early and ended the night with 30 points as the Hawks and the Raptors played an exciting game with Jason Kapono nailing 2 free throws late to seal the win to finish with 16 points on the night. Jamario Moon added 10 as well as the bench provided the kind of support both offensively and defensively all night. Anthony Parker made Joe Johnson work very hard as he scored most of his 18 points in the second half, while Mike Bibby scored most of his 25 points in the first. He was very much a non-factor in the second half. A much needed 2nd win in a row by the Raptors as they prepared to hit the road west to visit the Lakers, the Nuggets and the Jazz.

Overall, a decent week for the Raptors as they nudged above .500% at 8 – 7 by weeks end, but then they played the Lakers

Sunday, November 30th – Los Angeles Lakers in L.A.

14 – 1. The Lakers are for real. Not that I was a doubter, but that team is so much more than Kobe Bryant and some other guys this season. From Phil Jackson on down, this Lakers team looks focused on winning and has depth at every position on the floor. I knew that Andrew Bynum would have made last year’s final against the Celtics very different, but watching him shut down Chris Bosh at almost every facet of his game shows me how good he is, and how much work the Raptors have left to do to make the playoffs this season. Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, Vladimir Radmanovic added to the starting 5 make this team strong up front and very active at both ends of the floor. But then, you bring in a very talented bench of Trevor Ariza, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton who is a very good passer in the low post, and this Lakers team will beat most teams as far as 10 deep most nights. I wonder if the Pistons feel fortunate to have caught them on an off night for their only loss.

The Raptors played hard for 3 quarters until Sam Mitchell surrendered and took his starters out, perhaps wanting the game to be over and looking to the Nuggets on Tuesday, he pulled them early in the 4th as Kobe didn’t play a minute in the 4th again. The Raptors several times pulled this game to within 4 points with solid ball movement and some well taken shots, but then the Lakers would grab a board and turn it into a transition bucket and be up 10 within 3 possessions. Jose Calderon and Derek Fisher went head to head and played hard nosed ball all night. It was good to see him play solid defense against a pretty good guard as he held Derek to 5 points and 4 assists while collecting 12 points and 12 assists himself. Andrea Bargnani, starting in place of still injured Jermaine O’Neal played a very good game on both ends of the floor with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but it was his play on defense that caught my attention. I counted 5 blocks for him though he only has 4 on record, but he was altering shots and rotating well all night. A very good game indeed by Andrea has given me some more to watch as he continues to grow at both ends of the floor. Anthony Parker looked much better last night as well scoring 19 points and not letting Kobe run free. Yes, Kobe scored 24 in 3 quarters, but Anthony actually did a good job making him take tough shots, but he is still Kobe and can make those shots. Parker had a nice rhythm on his stroke and hit a few critical 3’s. Chris Bosh was held in check all night as Andrew Bynum shut down any inside game the Raptors tried to establish forcing him outside where he is not as consistent. Bosh ended up with 12 points but was 4 – 13 on a night where near perfection would have been required for a victory. Yes, we miss Jermaine, but Chris at times looked like he was forcing his game too much and with no real consistent offensive rebounding, those misses usually resulted in transition baskets. The Lakers had 58 points in the paint to the Raptors 32. That, coupled with our poor rebounding game where we were -18 on the glass and – 4 on the offensive glass. That is just too much of an advantage to overcome shooting only 38% from the field.

Over all, the Raptors showed a lot of heart and played very good defense for most of the game. The fact is, this Lakers team is very good at all facets of the game and very deep on the bench. Although the Raptors shot 44% from outside on 11/25 shots, they had no ability to sustain any inside game to help the shooters. With 6 players in double digits, it was a well balanced offense as the ball movement looked great at times and good choices were made by the shooters most of the night. When Chris Bosh is taking that many shots from just inside the arc, you know it has been a long night for him. I hope that Jermaine returns 100% as this team needs to have him inside and Andrea starting on the wing. Jamario Moon and Jason Kapono played well, but I think this team is much better with 3 big front men, and I think Andrea has proven that his game is very close to what was anticipated.
 

Posted on: December 1, 2008 10:06 am
 

Raptors - Lakers - A Game in Review

14 – 1. The Lakers are for real. Not that I was a doubter, but that team is so much more than Kobe Bryant and some other guys this season. From Phil Jackson on down, this Lakers team looks focused on winning and has depth at every position on the floor. I knew that Andrew Bynum would have made last year’s final against the Celtics very different, but watching him shut down Chris Bosh at almost every facet of his game shows me how good he is, and how much work the Raptors have left to do to make the playoffs this season. Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, Vladimir Radmanovic added to the starting 5 make this team strong up front and very active at both ends of the floor. But then, you bring in a very talented bench of Trevor Ariza, Jordan Farmar, Sasha Vujacic, Lamar Odom and Luke Walton who is a very good passer in the low post, and this Lakers team will beat most teams as far as 10 deep most nights. I wonder if the Pistons feel fortunate to have caught them on an off night for their only loss.

The Raptors played hard for 3 quarters until Sam Mitchell surrendered and took his starters out, perhaps wanting the game to be over and looking to the Nuggets on Tuesday, he pulled them early in the 4th as Kobe didn’t play a minute in the 4th again. The Raptors several times pulled this game to within 4 points with solid ball movement and some well taken shots, but then the Lakers would grab a board and turn it into a transition bucket and be up 10 within 3 possessions. Jose Calderon and Derek Fisher went head to head and played hard nosed ball all night. It was good to see him play solid defense against a pretty good guard as he held Derek to 5 points and 4 assists while collecting 12 points and 12 assists himself. Andrea Bargnani, starting in place of still injured Jermaine O’Neal played a very good game on both ends of the floor with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but it was his play on defense that caught my attention. I counted 5 blocks for him though he only has 4 on record, but he was altering shots and rotating well all night. A very good game indeed by Andrea has given me some more to watch as he continues to grow at both ends of the floor. Anthony Parker looked much better last night as well scoring 19 points and not letting Kobe run free. Yes, Kobe scored 24 in 3 quarters, but Anthony actually did a good job making him take tough shots, but he is still Kobe and can make those shots. Parker had a nice rhythm on his stroke and hit a few critical 3’s. Chris Bosh was held in check all night as Andrew Bynum shut down any inside game the Raptors tried to establish forcing him outside where he is not as consistent. Bosh ended up with 12 points but was 4 – 13 on a night where near perfection would have been required for a victory. Yes, we miss Jermaine, but Chris at times looked like he was forcing his game too much and with no real consistent offensive rebounding, those misses usually resulted in transition baskets. The Lakers had 58 points in the paint to the Raptors 32. That, coupled with our poor rebounding game where we were -18 on the glass and – 4 on the offensive glass. That is just too much of an advantage to overcome shooting only 38% from the field.

Over all, the Raptors showed a lot of heart and played very good defense for most of the game. The fact is, this Lakers team is very good at all facets of the game and very deep on the bench. Although the Raptors shot 44% from outside on 11/25 shots, they had no ability to sustain any inside game to help the shooters. With 6 players in double digits, it was a well balanced offense as the ball movement looked great at times and good choices were made by the shooters most of the night. When Chris Bosh is taking that many shots from just inside the arc, you know it has been a long night for him. I hope that Jermaine returns 100% as this team needs to have him inside and Andrea starting on the wing. Jamario Moon and Jason Kapono played well, but I think this team is much better with 3 big front men, and I think Andrea has proven that his game is very close to what was anticipated.

Coming up next are the Chauncey Billups led Denver Nuggets then on to Utah to take on Deron Williams and the Jazz. Let’s hope the team can take this game as a positive learning experience and play better as the week unfurls.

Posted on: November 29, 2008 11:53 am
Edited on: November 30, 2008 11:02 am
 

Raptors - Lakers - A Game Preview

Next up for the Raptors on Sunday are the high-flying Los Angeles Lakers who bring a 13 – 1 record to the Staples Center. The Raptors are starting a short 3 game road trip and look to carry the momentum of two straight victories against the Bobcats and the Hawks to close out a home stand. The other games are against the Chauncey Billups led Nuggets in Denver and then against Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams and the Jazz at in Utah. Sunday night will be a very difficult game against one of the top 2 teams in the league. After a loss to the Pistons, the Lakers have won 6 in a row with wins over the Nuggets, the Mavericks, the Suns, the Kings, the Bulls and the Nets. After the game Sunday, the Lakers start their first road tour of the East with stops at the Pacers, the 76ers, and the Wizards, so they will look to roll on and keep the momentum and the pressure on any team they play right now to stop them.

Probable Lineups:

Lakers:

Kobe Bryant – SG
Derek Fisher – PG
Pau Gasol – PF
Vladimir Radmanovic – SF
Andrew Bynum – PF

Raptors :

Jose Calderon – PG
Anthony Parker – SG
Jermaine O’Neal – C
Andrea Bargnani – SF - With Jeramine declared as playing, i have moved Jamario off the starting 5
Chris Bosh – PF

With Jermaine O’Neal slated to start as of this writing, I think that Jamario Moon will get the start as opposed to Andrea Bargnani as he will be needed more inside to deal with Gasol and Bynum.

As I see this game, unless the Raptors continue the improvements made on defense, they will have a difficult time containing the Lakers starters let alone the solid bench play they get from Lamar Odom, Jordan Farmar and Trevor Ariza. Our bench will have to continue their improvement and step up their defensive contributions on the glass and on the wing as Kobe would love to drop another 81 on us, this time at home and not in Toronto. Anthony Parker and Joey Graham will have a long night if they can’t keep a lid on Kobe to some extent and the team defense will be critical as the Lakers bring a very balanced offense to every game. Chris Bosh and Jermaine or Andrea will need to try to out play and contain Bynum and Gasol. If JO plays and is healthy, his presence on the glass will be greatly needed.

I believe that Sam Mitchell is on the right track and the guys seem to be understanding how critical every play can be with so many games coming down to one or two possessions in the past couple of weeks. With Chris Bosh bringing 27.7 points every night right now, the team will look to him to continue his tear being second in scoring behind Dwyane Wade and just ahead of LeBron James right now. The game Sunday will require the bench to approach the 31 points it provided against the Hawks to give them the opportunity to win. I look for a very good game on both sides of the ball and I would love to see the Raptors knock this team off. It can be done, but will require ball control and ball movement on offense, some above average rebounding and a good shooting day by Jason Kapono or Jose Calderon.

Enjoy the game.

Posted on: November 28, 2008 10:33 pm
 

Raptors - Hawks - A Game in Review

The Raptors came into Friday’s game against the Hawks needing a win to close out a 4 game home stand at 2 – 2 after losing to the Celtics and the Nets. A victory over the Bobcats on Wednesday gave them a better frame of mind against a team that had beaten them once this season. With Jermaine O’Neal on the bench, the Raptors needed to find a way to contain the Hawks on the boards and control the perimeter after being torched by Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson. The Hawks were looking to return to the form that had gotten them off to a 6 – 0 start before losing to the Celtics. Since that loss they were 3 – 5 bringing a 9 – 5 record to Toronto and looking to turn the momentum early in the season.

Averaging 27.6 points per game coming in, Chris Bosh has been hot lately with 2 40+ point games and a 39 in the past week. He has been one of the top players in the league so far being 2nd in scoring behind LeBron James and just ahead of Dwyane Wade so far this season. After being stuck in his apartment’s elevator for about an hour, he arrived late to the game and missed the warm up. That is probably a very good thing for the Hawks as he opened a bit cold shooting but had 5 assists in the first half before he scored 20 in the second half ending up with 30 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks for a solid all around game providing yet another example of why he should be considered an elite player in this league.

One of the biggest ingredients this team has been missing thus far this season has been bench play on both offense and defense. Tonight, on a night where Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon struggled offensively, combining for only 11 points, Joey Graham, Jason Kapono, Kris Humphries and Will Solomon combined for 31 points and 13 rebounds. Anthony Parker not only provided 7 points and 2 steals, but he kept Joe Johnson quiet in the first half and held him to 18 points overall. Jamario Moon had perhaps his most solid start of the year adding 10 points and trying hard to contain Mike Bibby who finished with 20 points, but had 15 at the half. Our defense looked solid though at times it still gave up easy inside shots or runners in the lane, over all, most shots, even from outside the arc were contested and that was enough to turn the game around as the Raptors had to fight back from a half time deficit.

Overall, the Raptors must be pleased with the ball control they exhibited down the stretch after the Vince Carter debacle with the Nets last week. I am sure most Raptors fans held their breath as the Raptors held on with solid defense and timely offensive boards and some well executed in-bounds plays. The team showed some character coming up with huge stops when they needed them and some outstanding rebounding at both ends. After some goofy shots on about 7 possessions in a row, the guys got it back together and held off the Hawks.

Let’s hope this can build some momentum going into Sunday’s game in Los Angeles and the Lakers. With a lineup of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum,  who is not playing and is questionable for the game, and Vladimir Radmanovic and Dereck Fisher, this team is going into Friday night’s game against the Dirk Nowitzki led Mavericks with a 12 – 1 record. This game will be a challenging game as the Raptors will again have a test of their resolve. The next few games for the Raptors will be played against some of the top teams in the league. With the Jazz and the Nuggets up next, it could be a difficult week for the Raptors.

Posted on: November 27, 2008 12:35 pm
 

Raptors - Hawks - A game Preview

Friday night, the Raptors welcome the Atlanta Hawks to the ACC. A team that has been hot and cold this season with a hot 6 – 0 start only to go 3 – 5 in the next 8. Since injuring his ankle against the Raptors early in the season, Josh Smith has not returned to the lineup. The Hawks are 5 – 5 with him out of the lineup and miss his leadership and his 12 points per game.

What they do bring to the floor is an array of young and old talent with Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson working with Acie Law, Al Horford, Ronald Murray as well as a mix of guys like Marvin Williams and Maurice Evans. Besides Josh Smith, the Hawks have a very balanced offense with 5 other players in double digits nightly with Evans at just over 9 as well, this team will challenge weak defensive teams all over the court. With winning 3 of the last 4 against the Wizards, the Bucks and the Bobcats, the Hawks are coming into Toronto looking for a win to kick start a week of games with the Knicks, the Wizards and the Grizzlies, they look to continue a series of winnable games.

The Raptors are coming off a hard fought win against the Bobcats where Gerald Wallace and Emeka Okafor lead a spirited game against a short lineup with Jermaine sitting for the Raptors. He will also miss this game leaving Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani to start up front with Joey Graham likely to start at the 3 spot. Sam Mitchell will look to Joey to tighten the defense around Joe Johnson who, along with Mike Bibby, torched the Raptors the last game. With Jose Calderon looking much better, the offense is starting to look more consistent again, but taking only 72 shots against the Bobcats is barely what I would call purring along. When the Raptors decide to watch Chris Bosh score as they did last night until Joey stepped up and scored 17 off the bench, it was hard to watch as they stagnated several times and kept the Bobcats in the game with poor shots.

The keys for the game against the Hawks will be a combination of ball control and ball movement. 12 turnovers last night allowed the Raptors to keep the pace where they wanted and keep the ball moving on offense. Aside from Jason Kapono and his pump fake travel, the Raptors made much better decisions with the ball. I seem to recall most of the turnovers were having the ball ripped out of the hands by more aggressive defenders. Jamario Moon has got to become more involved defensively as he has not done much on either end of the floor. Should Joey have another good game both offensively and defensively, we may not see Jamario for awhile. Roko Ukic will be called upon to spell Jose off and if he continues to progress in his ability to maintain the ball and keep the offense running both in the open court and in the half court, this team will succeed. Defensively, we still have work to do as a team as more than a few times someone would make a great play only to have the ball return to a Bobcat as no one rotated to help on the ball. That will have to change against a much better front court that the Hawks will bring. One good thing that I did notice was how many times the Bobcats made a very tough shot with :00 on the shot clock. It was good to see guys jumping lanes and rotating on defense to limit the open looks.

With the Lakers due up on Sunday, Jermaine will rest again. The Raptors, as a group, will have to be committed to team play to win this game. Can they do it? I think we can. Who will provide the second and third option this team will need to compliment Chris Bosh? Who will step up and shut down Bibby and Johnson? We have the players who can do it and I think Kris Humphries will factor hugely into this game. Enjoy the game. Comments always welcome.

Posted on: November 27, 2008 10:28 am
 

Raptors - Bobcats - a game review

We can overlook the fact that the Bobcats took us down to the final minute with no Jason Richardson. We can overlook the fact that Gerald Wallace seemed to be unstoppable for the first half of the game. We can even overlook the fact that Emeka Okafor seemed to be able to get any offensive board he wanted and kept the game close pretty much by himself in the fourth quarter.

What we can’t overlook is the fantastic game Chris Bosh played with 39 points and 11 rebounds and 1 steal and 2 blocked shots for his 8th double double of the season. We can’t overlook Andrea Bargnani who played alright on offense though he did have an off night with only 11 points, but with 9 rebounds and 3 blocks, he played a defense that Sam would love to see every night getting in guys faces and causing the Bobcats fits with his arms in the passing lane all night long. We can’t overlook the much maligned Joey Graham and his 17 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench and his much needed energy boost on defense as he pretty much shut Gerald Wallace down in the second half holding him to 6 points in the half. We can’t overlook the solid play of Roko Ukic off the bench in relief of a still hurting Jose Calderon. In 7 minutes Roko gave us 2 points, 3 assists including a sweet behind the back to Bosh on a break and 1 rebound. The biggest thing for Roko was 0 turnovers! He was much more comfortable out there and seemed to be in a much better flow which bodes well for the Raptors down the road. Jose had a bit of an off night on offense, but he held his own defensively which is more than we could ask for as he scored 10 points and added 3 rebounds and 9 assists and 2 turnovers. He is currently 2nd in the league behind Chris Paul in assists per game!

A couple of thoughts that I was pondering last night after the game might provide some more things we can’t overlook, I know from my perspective last nights game offered a good window into this team and the chemistry it carries.

Will Solomon sat on the bench and I suspect his chance to prove himself could be on the downside. An NBA team should be able to control the ball and last night we had 8 turnovers in the first half but only 4 in the second. That kind of ball control allowed us to hold the Bobcats off down the stretch as they committed 14 turnovers. It may sound petty, but in a 6 point game, 2 turnovers could be as much as a 12 point swing either way. Until Solomon can get on the same page and control the ball, I see a lot more minutes for Roko.

Anthony Parker last night was unable to find a jump shot, but was able to grab 5 rebounds and 5 assists and 3 steals as he chased and harassed D.J. Augustin and Raymond Felton all night long. Some nights when his shot is off, he has tended to disappear. It was good to see him add some good support defense while his shot was missing.

Jamario Moon and Kris Humphries both had bad games, but the problem is, Kris will recover and does know what is expected from him when he is in the game. His shot was a bit forced last night as he felt the need to provide Bosh some help. He stuck his nose in the paint and just didn’t have the shots fall. 2 rebounds and a block give us some solid results in 16 minutes. Sure we would have loved 10 points and 5 rebounds, but on a night when no one seemed to be able to score, he was able to give some much needed rest to both Andrea and Chris with Jermaine O’Neal on the mend. Jamario is another issue altogether. Last night we have an example of how little he understands what he can provide this team. 3 points, 1 assist and 0 rebounds. He was guarding Wallace as he went off for 17 in the first half. Jamario needs to get back to his defense and his rebounding game as he has very little confidence on the offensive end at this point and putting Joey on the floor saved the game for the Raptors.

I think Jason Kapono’s season was displayed on the first possession of the second half when he got the ball with a clear shot and did his now famous pump-fake-travelling show and turnover. He needs to shoot the ball and again last night he couldn’t or wouldn’t.

On a night when Chris Bosh displays his heart and his will to win, this team took until the second half to respond and support him with Joey Graham leading the way. 22 assists is not bad, but ball movement was a bit of an issue last night as we stagnated a bit in the 3rd quarter again. Over all, a much needed win for the team and with the Hawks and the Lakers up next, we needed a boost and got it.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com