Daily Raptor Dish - 03.01.2012
Old 01-03-2012, 09:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Daily Raptor Dish - 03.01.2012

Raps finally hold on for win

This time the little mental miscues and the poor-shot selection in crunch time were held to a minimum.

This time when the opposition made the big run, the panic that has seemed to grip the entire Raptors roster at exactly the wrong time didn't cripple them.

There was no fourth-quarter collapse and because of that, the Raptors ended what had the makings of a very tough, early season three-game trip on a satisfying note with a 90-85 win over the New York Knicks.

The Raptors come home 2-3 on a trip that saw them in position to win all three games.

On at least four occasions Monday night, at a rather quiet Madison Square Garden, it looked like the Raptors were going to revert to their losing ways.

But this time the 17-point lead at the half and the nine-point lead after three quarters didn't go away entirely.

Raptors coach to Bargnani: Be a star

Dwane Casey’s basketball world there are clearly defined roles for everyone on the roster — some guys are shooters, some guys are stoppers, everyone better be prepared to do what they’re asked.

And for Andrea Bargnani, the enigmatic Roman Raptor who has looked rejuvenated in the first week of the abbreviated season, there is one thing asked of him by the coach above all others: be a star.

Casey, who is trying to get the consistent two-way effort out of Bargnani that two coaches in the past have failed to do, will continue to pour on responsibility for the six-year veteran.

“He’s logging a lot of minutes (38 on Monday after 41 on Sunday) and I thought he was tired (but) he’s really giving it to us on the defensive end, coming over to tag, challenging shots,” said Casey after Monday’s win. “Not only is he giving it to us offensively, now it’s defensively and he has to maintain that stamina to do it both ends.

Toronto Raptors beat Knicks in New York

Go on, all you Raptor fans who mocked coach Dwane Casey and his “pound the rock” mantra and rolled your eyes at the thought of some 1,300-pound boulder as some talisman for the season.

Make light if you will but in the aftermath of a rather impressive victory, a guy who’d struggled all season before playing a significant role in a 90-85 road win invoked the rock, the mantra and the importance of doing your job every day because good results may come at any time.

Raptors hang on to beat Knicks

The Knicks' poor first-half effort gave Toronto another big lead.

Then their poor final-minute execution allowed the Raptors to keep this one.

Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan each scored 21 points, and the Raptors held onto a big cushion this time, beating New York 90-85 on Monday night.

Jose Calderon added nine points and 12 assists for the Raptors, who blew a 16-point lead Sunday in Orlando before losing 102-96. They opened a 17-point advantage at halftime in this one thanks to the Knicks' inept second quarter then held on to snap a three-game losing streak.

Raptors hold back the Knicks

Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey has told his new team among all the things they will learn under his tutelage the most important is to know how to deal with run, because the opponent will, at some point in a game, start burying shots, and stopping that momentum could determine everything.

The Raptors could not not stop the run Sunday, when Orlando went on a 16-0 run in the final period to erase a double-digit deficit and bury Toronto. And it almost got the best of them Monday in New York, when the Knicks found their groove in the third quarter and cut a 17-point lead down to three. But the Raptors turned some strong defensive rebounds and some key points off the bench into an 88-85 win.

The Knicks, powered by Carmelo Anthony’s game-high 35 points, trimmed the Raptors’ lead to just a single point inside the game’s final seconds, but two key three throws from Andrea Bargnani, who had 21 points, sealed Toronto’s second win of the season.

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