It’s kinda nice. I make predictions, the Raptors follow them. It makes me look like some kind of weird Asian basketball prophet. Of course, I’d rather the Raptors prove me wrong and get their offense together, make some baskets, and shoot better than the horrible 37% they did yesterday. Afterall, they faced a Rockets team that was without McGrady, and got the Rockets to shoot a pretty ugly 40%. So where does the blame really fall?
I will not say that the blame goes with Bargnani, even though his 0-5 shooting night didn’t help matters. He did try to go to the inside several times, made a conscious effort to play some pretty good defense on one of the best centers in the entire league, and picked up six rebounds for the night. For a guy that hasn’t performed, I can’t expect much from him. Calderon, Nesterovic, Dixon, and Hump made suitable contributions to their roles. Dixon, in particular, has given some really strong play as a backup de facto point guard who is unafraid of taking a shot. His quickness makes him a good matchup against other PGs, and his size doesn’t become such an issue, especially when you consider that he’s taking Ford’s minutes. Nesterovic gave us the same solid play that we saw in Toronto the last time these two teams met, and Hump, while taking too many shots, was often the only guy that was attempting to be an inside presence for Toronto.
Of course, I’m laying the blame on Chris Bosh this night. Shooting a horrible first half percentage should have woken him up to the fact that he had to change his game. Yes, fans will look at the stats sheet and see guys like Delfino shoot 2-10 on the night, and say that he should have done some more. But it’s really Bosh that let his opportunities slip away by missing open jumpers and not driving to draw fouls when he’s not shooting a high percentage. Role players to play without using their head is one thing, but your star has to be just that. He has to be able to look at his own game and see what’s missing, and show his own teammates the way when they are lost as well. It’s times like last night that you wish you had a guy like TJ Ford (looking really sharply dressed from the sidelines, I might add) who sometimes plays with that kick-starting emotion that the team needs. He’s also one of the few guys that really gets into Bosh’s face during the course of a game. Then maybe, just maybe, guys like Jamario Moon won’t be taking a ton of outside shots.
So looking ahead, we’ve got a nice New Year’s Eve present in the form of Morris Peterson and the Hornets. Hopefully, the Raptors can grab a win and come home with some momentum for this road trip. Wow, home. It’s been a really long time since we’ve seen the Raptors back at the ACC, so let’s hope the Raptors can show Mo Pete the great team that he left behind.
Next Game: Raptors @ New Orleans