I don’t think anybody had the Raps winning that game tonight so easily. Other than withstanding that mini-push that Houston made (and Chuck was right, that 3 TJ hit was big, because the Raps needed something to get the bleeding to stop), there really wasn’t any big competition tonight.
So why not? Was it that the Raptors were on fire shooting? Yeah, that had something to do with it. When you come out hitting your shots after getting good looks, it puts your opposition in a situation where they feel they have to score every time down the court, so shots get forced. Jeff Van Gundy had to take a few time outs because the Rockets were just coming down the floor and chucking up shots without even trying to penetrate or move the ball.
When I talked about how I thought the Raptors would be able to beat the Rockets, one thing I said was that they had to use their speed and they did a good job of this early, pushing the ball upcourt and catching Houston asleep. They exposed Mutumbo early and often, to the point that even Hump started making him look bad. Note to Mutumbo: When you’re tackling Hump because he’s beating you to the basket, you have SERIOUS issues with your game. SERIOUS issues. Not to take anything away from Hump, he showed that when he doesn’t try to dribble the ball, goes up hard for rebounds and uses some of that size inside, he can be an effective player. No, we don’t think he is going to put up points on a nightly occasion, but he doesn’t have to be the guy who just comes in and goes foul crazy before calling it a night.
We said it earlier, Joey Graham, get used to the bench. You’ve had more than enough opportunity to show that you can be a consistent contributor to the Raptors and haven’t had that much success. Juan Dixon has shown up and looked like a guy who wants to play and wants to make a difference and as long as he keeps doing that, it’ll be Juan and MoPete. I mean, AP wasn’t even playing tonight and you couldn’t get any PT. That should pretty much spell it out.
It’s nice to see Andrea playing down low a little bit more, he’s learning how to use his body and is because of his speed, he is able to quickly slip out and hit a jumper if there’s nothing inside. If you saw that turnaround jumper he hit after the pass was deflected, you saw something special. You can’t defend that. Too quick and the stroke is too natural. Looked like he has been doing that his whole life.
Overall, a nice game by the Raptors. We even got to see some TJ/Jose/Juan at the end of the game and although that leaves them pretty small, good Lord that’s a fast lineup. Good times.