One hoarse throat, a Raptor Bobblehead and a nice, full, energetic arena later, the Toronto Raptors found themselves on the favorable end of a complete routing of the Washington Wizards. It wasn’t even close, and it makes you just wonder how the Raptors played so poorly only 24 hours ago? Was it the crowd consistently shouting “d-fence” (while I shouted “Re-bound” off beat) from the get go? Was it really just better shooting from a team that usually shoots great? Or was it just destiny that a depleted Wizards team was going to lose the tail end of a back to back?
Turns out the Raptors were just plain angry.
While there’s still no excuse for Tuesday’s let down, the complete team win on Wednesday, I’m sure, cleansed the palette for some. For the second time in a week, the Raptors managed to hit for above 70% from beyond the arc, which is a ridiculous number for sure. AP, Bargs, Juan Dixon, Jose, and Delfino all found the bottom of the basket from beyond. Notice, though, that Jason Kapono didn’t make a single three last night. That’s not to say he didn’t play well, but it’s pretty surprising that he didn’t even attempt one. Nevertheless, it was easy to say that the entire team was extremely productive, but there are a few things to point out. For one, Bosh didn’t seem aggressive during the game. Yes, his shot was falling fairly consistently, and Rasho came in and gave lots of energy and help, but it was a matter of fortunate circumstance. Bosh got to the line twice during the game and pulled down only four rebounds in just under 20 minutes of play, and to be honest took the night off. Jamario, while it looked like he had a pretty efficient night, also had difficulties as he wasn’t putting a body on a man or going and attacking the rim with any consistency.
Still, it’s really just nitpicking at the details. Juan Dixon showed for one night that he could be a pretty good point guard, which will be important as TJ Ford is slated to make his return soon, but not immediately. With four very good steals, Juan showed that he could be active on the defensive end as well as make some good decisions on the offensive side of things. Bargnani managed to get fouled consistently and drive to the basket before shooting the lights out from beyond the arc. Finally, every Raptor managed to pick up a rebound except for Juan Dixon, so there was at least some kind of effort to crash the glass for the entire game.
Was this a “statement game” as that guy Paul Johnson said on the air? Sure, but the statement seems to be “We can beat up a depleted team that beat us up the day before.” It’s a bare minimum to expect from our Raptors team, but it still hasn’t washed the bad taste from our mouths from the effort in Washington. This is a team that we’re chasing in the conference and to split a a pair of easily winnable games due to unfortunate injuries on the Wizard’s end could come back to haunt the Raptors. Nevertheless, this win allows the Raptors to go into Friday’s game with some confidence and momentum and may have even given some GMs a look at the end-of-the-bench players on the squad that Bryan Colangelo is looking to parlay into a rebounding back up. At the end of the day, that’s all you can really ask for.
Next Game: Los Angeles (Lakers) @ Toronto