Game Recap: Raptors 98, Bobcats 79

Welcome to the YMCA Rec Center. Today, we’ll be seeing the Raptors play the Bobcats, with the star of the Slovenian national team, Rasho Nesterovic leading the way along with Spanish Superstar Jose Calderon. High Flier, Jamario Moon will also be making an appearance!

There was a feeling that I had, that although there was no Bargnani, Ford, or Bosh, we would see a Raptors team that would go through addition by subtraction. Here’s my theory: Although Bargs, TJ and CB4 can all change the outcomes of games, they also have a nasty problem of holding the ball on the offense and trying to make something by themselves. I’ve lamented constantly about how Andrea doesn’t seem to be interested in making the quick, correct pass, but instead is constantly looking for his shot and using the pass to bail himself out of a situation. In many ways, he’s taken on the worst of TJ Ford’s attributes in this early season.

However, without all three players, the Raptors would be forced to create something on their own by playing team basketball. Having 6 players score in double figures, Nesterovic playing great defense on Omeka Okafor and everyone who played managed to get an assist. It’s this kind of Raptors play that would have won the day for them in Washington over the weekend, and it’s this kind of play that saw them take it to teams in February of last year. With Parker, Calderon, Rasho, Delfino and Kapono all giving great efforts, it would have probably still have been difficult for the Raptors to pull out a win.

However, the guys that made it a great game were Humphries and Graham. Both managed to play within themselves without trying to take over the game or show what they can do. The kinds of things that both Hump and Good Joey displayed are the “team concept” plays that made the Raptors such a joy to watch. The most surprising aspect of their game tonight, was that they managed to get to the free throw line 8 times and 4 times respectively. However, it’s just a start. There still hasn’t been enough effort from the team as a whole to get to the line. Can we all honestly expect this team to shoot above 50% for every win? Is our defense good enough to create difficulties for teams on a consistent basis?

Granted, we managed to make Charlotte score an absolutely horrible 33% from the field while also out-rebounding them. Charlotte, with players such as Gerald Wallace, Jason Richardson, Raymond Felton, and Matt Carroll made it close a few times last year, but the Raptors ended up attacking them on the inside with an assortment of drive-and-kicks, dunks as a result of aggressive drives in the lane, and poor defensive spacing from the Bobcats. While some people might say Adam Morrison could have affected the game, I truly doubt it. Last year displayed that he was largely unwilling to share the ball and was a poor defensive stopper at best. One has to wonder where do the Bobcats go from here, especially after signing Gerald Wallace to such a huge contract.

The next game sees the Raptors against the Suns. Possibly without Bosh and Bargnani again, and with Ford still working his way back, most fans will be pleasantly surprised if our Raptors team manages to pull out a win. However, I’d say it’s a bit dangerous to play a Raptors team like ours right now. Who do you focus your team on? It’s not an easy question as without those “big three” on our team, everyone becomes a threat, and with Calderon running the point, he makes sure to find every single hot hand and exploit it as much as possible. If the Raptors manage a similar kind of effort, we may be in for an interesting game on Wednesday.

Next Game: Phoenix @ Toronto

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8 thoughts on “Game Recap: Raptors 98, Bobcats 79

  1. KY,

    I didn’t see the game, I was crammin’ exams, and I’m gonna miss that PHX game for sure for the same reasons. Glad we obliterated the ‘Cats with no “allstars” in the line up…WOW!! You made a great point, and Bargs playin’ after his stinker on Saturday could of made things go wrong for us.

    Imagine if we win PHX.. without our 3 stars!? No way, but that would cause headlines all over the continent!

    I will let you guess who the hype match-up will be focused on all game on Wed. night. hint–>*Upon a whiner who still thinks he can carry another team with his “salad tosser” shot…hmmmm????

  2. Man, what a game! When I first tuned in to see that Smitch had started Joey Graham I thought he had officially lost his mind… but… a starting five of AP/Jose/Moon/Graham/Rasho caused Charlotte to let up mentally and helped us race out to a huge lead.

    Great observation with “everyone who played managed to get an assist.” That is probably one of the main reasons why the Raptors won and I’m curious to see if any of the beat writers picked up on this stat.

    I never thought I’d say this… but Joey Graham was a beast tonight! His shooting % was through the roof and his follow up dunk on Moon’s missed dunk was sick, wicked and nasty (I hope Chuck doesn’t sue me for stealing his line).

    I’m still in shock that the Raps without their three top players won a game. I’m heading to work with a grin from ear-to-ear this morning!

  3. Anthony – It’ll be an interesting game for sure. I just home that our bench doesn’t let the Suns jump out ahead too much. Nevertheless, I think there’s a chance, because the Raptors play better D than the Suns.

    Dread – Haha. It WAS against Charlotte though. But yeah, I’m pretty happy with the win. Just a little worried that we keep relying on high field goal percentage to come out ahead though. I mean honestly, will we see another 8 trips to the line from Hump? Joey’s such a good Free Throw shooter, he should also be getting to the line a lot. I remember complaining last year about how he and Fred Jones were the two best Free Throw shooters, yet they consistently tried to make difficult shots rather than draw fouls.

  4. KY

    We got better Defense? Ya I guess so statisically, but who or what will stop the Brazilian Blur and A-Stoude? The entire bench will be used that day I bet, even Baston too.

    It’s repetitive you keep on mentioning about our lack of FTs, but it is very neccessary to address all the time. It has to be between Delfino, Moon, Graham, and Hump to do that consistently according to their style of offence.

    Answer to my question from b4: “Marion vs. Moon”
    It will look like a trampoline party on both ends of the lanes when those two players want a rebound.

  5. I was wrong! Joey G and company came to play and took it to the Babcats. I thought getting Okafor in early foul-trouble was key to our success last night. I was unhappy with Sam’s quick hook on Graham for one miss assignment. This is no way to reward overall good play.

  6. Anthony – Just for one game. It was really a combination of things. In any case, I think Delfino can clamp down on Barbosa. I dunno about Stoudemire. I’ll tell you from my box seat tomorrow :p

    T Fan – Well, at the end of the day, he still needs to be wacked upside the head. You can’t just do that in Sam Mitchell’s club, and he’s going to get on you constantly.

  7. It’s tough to yank Joey after one mistake because he is a young player. I understand Sam’s frusteration but young guys need to play and not worry about looking over their shoulder for the hook after one mistake. The problem for any young player on the Raptors is the team needs to win games so Sam can’t just give away minutes, players need to earn them… Joey did that on Monday and it will be interesting to see what players continue to get minutes once Ford, Bosh and Bargnani are healthy again. It’s clear Sam’s ideal 9 man rotation is Bosh, Kapono, Delfino, Calderon, Ford, Bargnani, Rasho, AP and Moon. It will be tough for any other player to crack into that rotation at this point of the season.

    Speaking of players cracking into the rotation, what happened to Juan Dixon? When given minutes he performs well but there are stretches where he wont’ see the court. I would prefer to see Dixon playing backup PG with Ford out than D-Mart.

  8. Dread – I sorta agree, but Joey’s a 3rd year player. The kind of mistakes (ie, the out of bounds debacle) are just so out there, that you want to punch the crap out of him. It was fine for a game against the Bobcats, but the fact of the matter is, he just doesn’t use his head sometimes. It’d be interesting to see if Joey responds more to the carrot rather than the stick, but I’m not too sure. I prefer Dixon at the PG too, but he’s gotta be more of a distributor. Sam may be forced to play Dixon cause Nash is a lot faster than Martin, but we’ll see. I’ve got box seats today, so I’ll be there 😉

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