Well, after trashing the Raps on their team play (or lack thereof) against the Knicks, it was nice to see them come back and have a team win against the Magic. Sometimes you have to wonder about how the world works, because when you have a bad team loss and then not only lose your super-rook, but also don’t have one of your super-PGs in the game (when you thought he was going to play)…it kind of forces you into a real team situation. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all spiritual here, but you have to admit, it seemed a completely appropriate time for a challenge.
So yeah, it was a good team effort, the ball moved around, TJ and Bosh took charge, MoPete, Juan and Gatorade Graham worked well, but let’s give it up for Hump. Yeah, you heard me, give it up for Hump. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. Kris Humphries giving Dwight Howard problems? Kris did a good job of using his size and just leaning on Howard enough to keep pushing him away from the basket, but not so much that he was going to ring up a ton of fouls. He also picked up 6 boards and if the dude could shoot some free throws, he would have been double digits last night.
But let’s also remember, the fact that Dwight Howard put on a very Shaq-like performance at the free throw line last night played a role. Nobody seemed to really want to talk about it very much, but if he had hit his free throws, it would have been a lot more interesting of a game. Can’t say it enough times, if you are a guy who is going to be playing close to the basket, you have to be able to hit your free throws. Those are the difference between your team being sub or over .500.
Let’s also give the Raps some serious respect on the rebounding last night. 55? WHA? And the Magic only had 38? WHA? A +17 differential in favour of the Raptors? For a minute there, I thought I was finding my own little piece of heaven in the bottom of a bottle, but no, the Raptors actually kicked some butt on the boards. The great part about Bosh’s 16 boards last night was that on a few of them, he got dirty and knocked some guys around. He also did the same with his blocks, especially when he sent Kenyon Dooling (it was him, right?) into the padding under the basket. I don’t know what Dooling was freaking out about, I think that was just him being embarrassed that he got his ass handed to him in front of everybody. That was a clean block and Bosh actually saved him from getting crushed into that padding. We also can’t take for granted that Bosh poured in 34 points.
Last night was also one of those games where Garbo’s work just doesn’t get completely appreciated. Okay, he did go 1-7 from the field and threw up some bricks…no, let’s call them boulders, but he didn’t let that play a part in the rest of his game. He still picked up 9 boards and played solid D. That’s why so many coaches around the league love his work. He goes out and does all of the dirty stuff that has to be done.
Respect again for TJ, 16 and 12, not a bad night. Turned the ball over 5 times with 2 steals, so that still needs a bit of work, but while the turnover ratio will come, I like that he is staying aggressive on D. His hands are quick and he is making good reads on D, going for the steal in the proper situations. When guys take their eye off him and are looking upcourt, he is timing the bounce, looking to swing his hands up and knock it loose. Once he does that, he’s quick enough to get to it before guys realize the ball is gone.
Okay, what’s up with Jose’s ankle? I thought this wasn’t supposed to be that serious. He took the shootaround yesterday, but then didn’t play. I would normally say that they were just being very cautious, but that was a game where the Raptors needed everybody they could get. That situation is a little worrying. Hopefully he’s back for the next game.