Let's start with Wednesday's game against Cleveland. The home opener. A new start. Everyone's excited about the season starting. Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon make their return to the ACC (which by the way, both got a huge applause). The Raptors played exceptional defense, en route to a 10 point victory. Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani had monsterous games, as CB posts 21 points and 16 boards, and Ill Mago put up 28 points. While LeBron had a triple double, the Raptors defended him well, as he was only able to score 23 points. Great start. Everything and everyone looked great. Raptors 1-0.
The Raptors then went on the road to face Memphis. Supposed to be an easy win, right? Think again. Raptor lose 115-107. Chris Bosh had another great game, posting 35 points and 12 boards. However, the Raptors couldn't contain Zach Randolph, has he scored 30 points.
Back to the ACC on Sunday, the Raptors faced the Orlando Magic. Vince Carter made his return to the Air Canada Centre with another team, but didn't play because of injury (ring a bell, Raptor fans?). Despite being without Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, and Mickael Pietrus, the Magic won 125-116. Raptors close the week 1-2, losing 2 straight. Yikes.
Now, it may just be week 1, but the pro's and con's of the Raptors have definitely been exposed. To be positive, the offense seems unstoppable. The Raptors have posted over 100 points in all three of their contests thus far. Chris Bosh is putting up superstar numbers, as he's averaging 31 PPG and a shy under 15 RPG. Rookie DeMar DeRozan seems to finding his way. He's not playing the minutes I'd hope, but I like what I've seen so far. The bench is dramatically improved from last year--Jay Triano is rotating the bench guy's in nicely.
The obvious problem is the defense, in a major way. While the defense impressed me in game #1, these past 2 games have shown me the defense needs a ton of work. Jose Calderon's poor defense was exposed big time yesterday afternoon--Jameer Nelson dropped 30 points on the Spanish point gaurd, and made him look silly with some of the moves he was making. As a team, the Raptors let the Magic score 51 points from downtown yesterday, and let JJ Reddick drop 27 points. That's gotta be close to his career high. All in all, the perimeter defense looked awful, and was the big reason why the Raptors came out on the short end of the stick in yesterday's affair. Of course, the big issue coming into the season unlimited offense and a limited defense. That issue is definitely prevalent thus far.
In fact, the PG duo of Calderon and Jarrett Jack hasn't met my expectations. Jack's numbers are very low, and for a guy who was supposed to bring immediate defense, hasn't blown me away. While I'm happy with Calderon's assist numbers, he seems to be forgetting to shoot the ball. I'll be looking at the box score and see him with 5 points and 12 assists. He needs to remember he's got a good jump shot, and actually get involved in the offense.
Calderon missed 3 free throws in the 2008-2009 season--he's missed 4 so far.
Now, I realize we're 3 games into an 82 game season, and maybe I should calm down. But at the end of the day, the defense will determine the Raptors fate.