Monday, January 25, 2010

Raptors edge Lakers

It's been a while since my last blog post. Why? Because the Raptors have been extremely streaky, and have been hovering over that .500 mark for the last few weeks--one win, won loss, two wins, one loss, etc. With the way things have been going, and with my crazy schedule, it's hard to keep the blogging a constant.

But I felt very inclined to do a write-up following last night's win. Last night's win wasn't just any ordinary win--it was a win against the Los Angeles freakin' Lakers. That's right. The 33-10 (now 11) Lakers. The team that has Kobe Bryant, who dropped 81 points on us roughly 4 years ago. You know...the Lakers.

I'll admit it--going into last night's game, I thought the Raptors would get completely blown out. In fact, I tweeted "hope for the best, but expect the worst". I honestly thought the game would be out of reach within the first 24 minutes. But as the game progressed, there was no blowout. In fact, it was a close game the entire 48 minutes. To start out the 2nd half, the Lakers went on a quick 7-0 run and saw their halftime lead of 2 increase to 9. Sure enough, I thought the Lakers would be clear sailing from there, and gradually increase their lead. But sure enough, the Raptors battled back.

Although the Lakers held a small lead, both teams kept exchanging baskets. It wasn't until a the 7:33 mark in the 4th quarter when the Raptors took the lead.

You know the rest--Turkoglu got fouled with 1.2 seconds left, made both free throws to go up by 1, then Kobe misses the game winner. Raptors win. Unbelievable. Un-freakin-believable.

Chris Bosh had just another day at the office--18 points, 13 rebounds. But it was the role players who were the most impressive--Jarrett Jack had 18 points, and Andrea Bargnani dropped 22, hitting some BIG shots down the stretch.

But in my opinion, the player of the game goes to Marco Belinelli. In 23 minutes, Belinelli had 15 points and shot 3 of 3 from downtown. Did I mention how important a bench is? Thanks Colangelo.

A crowd of 20,111 was at the ACC last night, in what was a playoff atmosphere type game. God, I wish I was there.

If this doesn't give the Raptors confidence, I don't know what will. The Lakers are the defending champs and have the best record in the NBA. The Raptors are now 23-22, and are about to hit the easiest part of their schedule. This is a perfect time for the Raptors to do some damage in the East

Before yesterday's game, Chris Bosh said "I haven't been this encouraged in a while". I can only imagine how he feels now.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Previewing the next 3 games

The Toronto Raptors are winners of 5 straight, and now hold a poor-but-I'll-take-it record of 16-17. Granted, the schedule has been on the lighter side, but 5 straight wins is 5 straight wins. The Raptors now hold the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference (what a terrible conference).

The 2010 year is now upon us, and that means a clean slate for the Toronto Raptors. The disappointing 2009 season is a thing of the past, and its time to start fresh. As far as I'm concerned, every team in the NBA has a record of 0-0. So who do the Raptors "open the season" against? The Boston Celtics. Then the San Antonio Spurs. Then the Orlando Magic. Yikes.

Now, your first thought is probably "loss, loss, loss" right?

The combined record of the three teams is 65-27. The Raptors have already played the Spurs and Celtics once and the Magic three times, and have lost all five games by an average margin of 11.2 points. The one time the Raptors played the Spurs, the Spurs put up 131 points without Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.

The Magic and Celtics games will be played on the road (the two best teams). The Raptors are 5-12 away from the ACC.

Hedo Turkoglu is doubtful for tomorrow's game against Boston. Jose Calderon didn't even make the trip.

The Spurs have won 4 straight.

And most importantly--the Raptors are 16-17. The Celtics, Magic and Spurs are 23-8, 23-8, and 19-11 respectively.

Based on this, the Raptors have absolutely no shot, right? Well, I did some more digging, and found some information that may actually change your mind.

The Celtics were winless on their 3 game road trip, losing to the Clippers (at the buzzer), Warriors, and Suns. Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett AND Paul Pierce won't play tomorrow night. That means Chris Bosh will go up against Rasheed Wallace, Brian Scalabrine and Shelden Williams. I sense domination.

The Spurs will be without Matt Bonner and Michael Finely until mid-January. When the two teams met in early November, Bonner and Finely had 18 points and 7 points respectively.

During the 5 game win streak, the Raptors defense has been allowing 89.8 points.

And did I mention the Raptors have won 5 straight?

Look--I'm not saying these next three games are guaranteed wins, but with the recent play, as well as injuries on the counterpart, there's reason to believe the Raptors can win at least two of three games. I can definitely see the Raptors beating Boston. I truly believe the Raptors can turn the season around, and start playing like expected. But if I've learned anything about this team, it's that they can rip my heart out right after giving me hope.

Hopefully, the year 2010 will the Toronto Raptors better days. It all starts tomorrow night against Boston.