Wow, three in a row. I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m knocking back a few Coors Lights, listening to MF Doom (as he was known) and writing this right now, so maybe that’s my celebration. Maybe that’s as far as I should go, because God knows if the Raptors beat the Bulls on Sunday, I’m going to have to find something new to do.
The strange thing about the Raptors when they play the Thunder is that it seems they don’t have as much of a problem guarding Kevin Durant as they do Nick Collison. Collison probably wishes he could play the Raptors every night, because the game sure looks easy for him when he is facing Toronto.
The key for the Raptors was putting this one away early. That’s really the key in any game, but when you are facing a sub .500 team (which honestly, the Raptors are too), it is important to not give that team any hope. You don’t want to have the game come down to the 4th quarter, where you are going to have a young team just hungry for some wins to compete with. That’s the tricky balance with a young team. As easily as you can get them down early and take care of the game, you can also come down to the wire and suddenly find that same team as savage as a rabid dog, looking to take a bite out of the competition.
Much of the early start was due to Bargs, who continued what has been a fine season for him (those of us who never gave up on him can now pat ourselves on the back). He is showing continued development in his game, but what I like the most about his new game and his confidence is that there is a little bit more grit to him now. We’re not talking Bump n’ Thump from back in the day, but he doesn’t hesitate to get a little tough if he has to.
Shawn Marion had one of those games that he should be having more often, where he shuts somebody down on the defensive end and then knocks down a double-double. He gave Durant all kinds of problems tonight, as he was all over him any time he caught the ball. Durant didn’t have a lot of time to breathe, which didn’t allow him to get into any kind of rhythm. That’s the kind of play that has always made me a Marion fan.
So now the Raptors roll into a matchup with the Bulls. I am still not disillusioned enough to be thinking playoffs, but there’s nothing like adding a little bit of excitement to the end of the season.