Daily Raptor Dish - 28 Dec
Old 12-28-2009, 09:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Daily Raptor Dish - 28 Dec

Raps on rescue mission

The foul-filled game was the longest non-overtime game in franchise history.

After getting off to a rocky start to the season, the Raptors are now only two games under .500, with a much easier schedule in the next couple of months and Triano hoping that his team starts to solidify a playoff position.

"Since that game against Atlanta (on Dec. 2), when we were 7-13, we've been able to go 8-4," Triano said. "We're starting to play a little bit better and starting to grasp the right way to play. We've been better and the schedule has been a little bit easier on us. Now we want to keep building some momentum and create some distance on the teams below us in the standings and close the gap between the teams that are above us."

"We're playing with a little more confidence now and we're getting more guys involved," the coach added. "We're starting to help each other and understand our defensive roles a lot better and, as a result, we get stops, which leads to run-outs, which leads to confidence, and then everything starts rolling."

Raps-Pistons go the distance

Two days after Turkey day, the Raptors-Pistons game yesterday was all about fouls.

As a result of 65 personal fouls -- 33 for Detroit and 32 for Toronto -- yesterday's game lasted two hours and 49 minutes, the longest non-overtime game in franchise history. The previous long was the club's first-ever home opener, which was on Nov.3, 1995 against the New jersey Nets. That contest lasted two hours and 45 minutes.

The Raptors went to the free throw line 44 times, converting 32, while the Pistons went to the line 33 times, and missed 10, with centre Ben Wallace going 2-for-8.

Chris Bosh led the free throw parade for Toronto, going 9-for-14.

Raptors hang on to sink Pistons

The Raptors discuss their greatest stretch of success this season with cautious optimism.

They feel they are good but far from great, they are getting there but not yet at the destination, they have confidence but not cockiness.

Yes, they know there is work to be done but they feel the construction of a winning team is well underway.

Things fall into place for Raptors

There were numerous examples of Toronto's new-found competitiveness. Just before half Jarrett Jack and Antoine Wright hit the floor to corral a loose ball before a Turkoglu triple and first-quarter breakaway dunk by Weems came together when Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan cobbled together a perfect trap on the sideline and Weems jumped the passing lane on the inevitable kick-out. Bosh led all scorers with 25 points and 16 rebounds, but there were plenty of contributions from throughout the lineup, big and small.

Doing the right thing over the past 10 days has seen the Raptors rewarded with convincing victories – albeit against struggling opponents – and glistening defensive statistics. They've held opponents to 38-per-cent shooting over their past four games, no small feat for the worst-rated defensive team in the NBA.

“We're in a rhythm right now,” said Jack who had 17 points and five assists. “Everyone is in sync with one another. Wins in the NBA aren't easy to come by we've got four in a row. We've got to try and keep it going.”

Raptors get fourth straight win, beating Pistons

"We showed some composure, but I thought we let up a bit, too," guard Jarrett Jack, who 17 points and five assists in the win, said. "We jumped out to an early because we were doing all of the little things: rebounding, boxing out, taking good shots, taking care of the basketball, all of the things that went away kind of went away in the third quarter. Those are the things we have to correct if we want to be a good ball club."

And if you are a Raptors fan, that attitude should probably make you happy. When the first month and a half of a season goes as badly as the Raptors' did, the littlest sign of optimism is usually cause for an outbreak of smiles. (Yes, there is some of that in the Raptors' locker room.)

However, the buoyancy comes with some caution, which is refreshing. Wins over New Jersey, New Orleans and two over Detroit are nice - a win against Charlotte to give Toronto five wins in a row would be nicer – but the victories, in and of themselves, do not make them a contender.

For now, the Raptors are an average team doing what they should be doing: beating bad teams. Given the way Toronto's season began, with hapless defensive performances getting in line behind each other, it is certainly a marked improvement.

"We've been playing teams that are struggling and we've been taking advantage of the opportunities that we've had," Chris Bosh, whose 25 points and 16 rebounds were both game highs, said. "We just have to keep doing it. Hopefully it will build us some confidence and get guys involved, everybody will figure out their role, and we'll start playing a lot better basketball."

Recap: Raptors 102, Pistons 95

Their lack of work defensively was cited as a reason the Raptors, who have won four in a row, shot 61.8% in running up a 19-point lead at halftime. The Pistons were able to make a game of it in the second half with a chance to take the lead with 5 minutes left, but they faltered. Prince, who missed 26 games with a ruptured disk, was effective in spurts with nine points on 4-for-8 shooting. Hamilton, out five games with a pulled right hamstring, scored 15 points on 6-for-20 shooting. Gordon, out nine with a sprained left ankle, was 4-for-15 for 15 points.

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Old 12-28-2009, 10:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 12-28-2009, 01:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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