Middle of Winter…and it’s Hot Outside

Well, when the Manchild is making his presence known on the inside and you have a team that can occasionally shoot the lights out, it sounds like a simple plan, doesn’t it? We talked earlier about the Raptors using ball movement to create some good looks from the outside, but what was great to see tonight was that the Raptors were trying to go inside first and when that wasn’t working so well, they kicked out and let it fly. This was a exemplified by Chris Bosh, who when running into the imposing figure of Howard, simply just stepped out and shot over him (including another 3…which is just a big kick in the balls in my opinion…I would hate to see that if I were playing against the Raptors).

But let’s not think that the Raptors shied away from working inside all night. Bosh still made it to the line frequently, going 11-11 (can we ever say it enough times…attacking inside is vital to the success of any team…and so is making your free throws) and establishing himself inside, which created some additional looks for his teammates.

Jose Calderon had another nearly flawless night, moving the ball and looking to score when the opportunity presented itself. One thing you have to appreciate about Jose over the past couple of years is that he has really improved his ability to use his left hand, beating players off the dribble and going straight to the rack before any help gets over. It sounds pretty simple, but there are a lot of guards in the league who have weaknesses dribbling (and finishing) with their non-dominant hand. You may not notice it off the start, but you’ll see that some guards will not look to go left unless the sea parts in front of them.

If the Raptors could find a way to get it through Jamario’s head that he needs to attack more, he could be a lot better player. He went 4-4 from the line tonight and 6-12 from the field. He also inexplicably launched two more three point attempts, nailing one. The thing with Moon is that he doesn’t really force a lot of his three attempts, he basically gets good looks from the floor, but he shoots under 30% from behind the arch. That’s pretty much an indicator that shooting 3-pointers should not be part of your arsenal.

Carlos Delfino is playing some great basketball lately. He is being aggressive, fighting for loose balls, getting rebounds, taking charges, knocking down shots, dishes out assists…he’s doing everything the Raptors need him to do and more. He has essentially made Jason Kapono look completely one-dimensional and is doing a lot of the things I bet the coaching staff wished Jamario would do. Should we be seeing Carlos and Jamario going hard to the basket at around the same rate? No, you would think that Carlos would settle for his shot a little more than Jamario, but next time you watch a game, look at how they view the court in front of them. Two completely different approaches with guys using their weaker skill set to score points.

A good outing for the Raptors, who now have two coming up against the Knicks. It would be nice to take both of those, but we have seen stranger things happen. Can’t wait to see the Fat Boys again.

Oh yeah, back to the Magic for a second. It’s nice to see Dwight Howard turning into this pseudo NBA cult hero, but come on, can we all admit that the Superman “dunk” was not a dunk? Still impressive, but people calling that one of the best dunks ever? What? Come on. Keep it in perspective people.

Bring on the Fat Boys!