Hey, I’ll admit it, I didn’t see that coming and anybody who did is straight up tellin’ stories. The Raptors took the Nuggets to the woodshed and gave them something to think about.
72 points in the first half? A 38 point lead at one point? Even Uncle George Karl said the Raptors “…might have the best talent in the Eastern Conference.” It almost makes you want to pinch yourself to see if you’re dreaming. But then you remember that AP and Andrea are out, Jose is back with a brace on and Bosh went down, so nobody needs to pinch you.
Once again, if only for one play, respect to Hump, because that block on AI was sick. That was the kind of block that forced me out of high school basketball. Those can be terribly embarrassing, the kind where you wonder if they’re worse on the road because the crowd mocks you all the way back to the bus or at home because it happened in front of your girl. Either way, Hump is one up on AI. Also, Hump picked up 6 boards, had 7 points and slapped a few guys in around 17 minutes of play. THAT’S the kind of player the Raptors need him to be. That’s good work off the bench.
The quick start to the game was one key point for the Raptors, heading out to a 36-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. That’s no bright light, I’m not bringing you anything new there, but it can’t be understated that when defence isn’t your strength, getting out to leads on teams is important.
I know I’m starting to sound like TJ’s agent, but another solid game from TJ (any suggestions on a nickname? That “Little Engine” business is terrible…sorry Chuck). 14 and 14, but I’m not going to give that too much emphasis since it was a blowout and numbers are skewed all over the place. The point that I will emphasize is that he only turned the ball over once. ONCE! Could this be a turning point for TJ? Lol…I’m not going to go that far, he’ll probably cough up 4 in the next game, but it’s nice to see.
Also nice to see The Mechanic putting things together with the 3-point show. Garbo was on fire, hitting from everywhere and with 21 in the first half, he sent a message that when guys are needed to step up their game, he’s ready to go. His D is also suffocating. I still can’t believe how a guy with feet that slow can always be in the right place on D or get up on somebody so quickly. I’m not too sure about him playing almost 41 mintues in a blowout though…Sam, don’t kill him, playoffs are coming.
It was good to see MoPete find his stroke again, it helps when your team is working with a lead and you can afford to spot up and not rush your shots. With playoffs just around the corner, it’s true what Sam said, guys like Mo are going to have to be ready.
Even though it showed that the Raptors weren’t attacking that much, it was impressive that they were 11-12 from the line. When you are hitting your free throws, it sticks in the back of the other team’s mind. They know that if they foul you, you are going to get those points. Strange that I am bringing up Reggie Miller a few days in a row, but remember when Reggie was playing (and rumours say that he may be making a return…I kid you not, I think it was in the NY Post) how guys would dread fouling him because he was cash money from the line? But if you didn’t get in his face, he’d kill you with that natural stroke? Same kind of thing. If you are solid at the line, it makes your attack that much more potent.
Finally, good to see Jose back in the lineup. 18 minutes, 4-7, 6 assists…sounds like he’s healthy. I’m telling you, with Jose and TJ, we are seriously spoiled. You take one guy out of the lineup and have another legit starter coming in, it’s a full game assault.