Daily Raptor Dish - Final 09 Edition
Old 12-31-2009, 09:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Daily Raptor Dish - Final 09 Edition

Raptors keep it going

The Raptors' five-game winning streak is their longest since they won the final six games of last season.

Most impressive was how they turned the only real nasty moment of the night into a positive at the end of that third quarter.

Backup point guard Marcus Banks found himself in the middle of it, squaring off with first Gerald Wallace and then Stephen Graham.


"Everyone was scrambling on defence," Banks said, describing the play. "Me and (Wallace) got tangled up under the basket.

"Basically, I was trying to box him out. He threw a little punch and I just said (to myself): 'You know what? I have to set the tone, so I just drove him into the (stanchion). It got my guys up off the bench and we just kept it going from there."

Now, Banks has been a Raptor for a little less than a full season, but even he is aware of the soft reputation this team has had and decided last night was a good time to do something about it.

"They look at us like nice guys," Banks said of the rest of the league. "We no longer can have that if we want to keep winning games. It was a big-time turning point."

A late passing fancy

Holding a two-point lead with about six seconds left in the game, Belinelli took an inbound pass but, instead of wrapping up and waiting to be fouled, he flung a high-risk, cross-court pass toward Chris Bosh.

The pass did get through, but Bosh had to leap to keep it from landing in the first row of press seating. He was promptly fouled and converted both free throws to put away the game.

Belinelli saw nothing wrong with any of it.

"It was a good pass," Belinelli said. "I don't know why everyone wants to talk about that. It was in the court so it was a good pass."

Erratic Belinelli energizes Raps

Marco Belinelli is fun and frenetic when he's on the basketball court. No one can ever be sure what he'll give you.

He misses shots, but makes crazy layups. He loses the ball every now and then, but gets a bunch of deflections with quick hands to make up for the faux pas.

He can be wildly entertaining and his entire gamut of skills was on display Wednesday night in what had to be his most significant game as a Raptor.

Belinelli energized the team with a great third quarter, made a handful of big plays in the fourth and caused a few heart palpitations just for good measure in the dying seconds of Toronto's 107-103 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

It was an energetic tour de force that just added to one of the more pleasant games of the NBA season.

Red-hot Raptors close in on .500

Bosh finished with 33 points and 13 rebounds, as well as an assist on Bargnani’s final basket. His Italian frontcourt mate scored 28 points and four rebounds. The Raptors also got a boost from Marco Belinelli, who scored nine in the third quarter (aided by three steals), including a spectacular running three-pointer at the buzzer that gave Toronto an 84-80 lead to start the fourth quarter.

It made for a golden chance for Toronto to avenge one of its most dispiriting losses of the season: A 35-point drubbing on Nov. 25 that was one of the first signs all was not right with the Raptors’ ship. But Toronto is now 9-4 in its past 13 games.

“They’re playing a lot better,” Brown said. “They have three key guys starting [Turkoglu, Jarrett Jack and DeMar DeRozan] who weren’t on their team last year. It takes time. But they have a silver bullet in Bosh. They have a team that will get better as the season goes on.”

After a shaky middle, they got better as the game went on last night. And for the second time in as many games at home, Toronto maintained it’s composure down the stretch of a close match.

Three times down the stretch, the ’Cats were able to drive the lane for scores to put the win in jeopardy, but a little leadership from Bosh, grit from Wright and a big shot by Bargnani put a halt to any such thoughts.

Sublime Bosh helps Raptors get back at Bobcats

Chris Bosh has been miscast as a crunch-time scorer in the past. Toronto Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo knew that, and that helps explain the US$53-million spent on Hedo Turkoglu this summer.

The merit of that decision can be debated, but it is temporarily beside the point after Wednesday night's game, a 107-103 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, the Raptors' fifth straight win. With Turkoglu out of the game with a right knee contusion, all sorts of funky things happened when the Raptors had the ball. Most notably, guard Marco Belinelli went on a series of bizarre, out-of-control trips to the basket.

With that in mind, just like in years past, Bosh needed to come through for the Raptors. And he did. With just more than a minute to play, and his team having just blown a late five-point lead, Bosh delivered a layup for Toronto. He beat his man, Gerald Wallace, with a fake, and avoided several defenders to do so.

Perhaps, as a power forward, he is not the ideal finisher. When the situation calls for it, though, he can come through.

"Chris had a great night," coach Jay Triano said.

Indeed. With 33 points and 13 rebounds, Bosh was typically sublime, helping Toronto avenge an embarrassing 35-point loss the Raptors suffered the last time the two teams met, in November in North Carolina.

Bargnani, Bosh take down Bobcats

So how exactly does a team shoot 54 percent from the field and 91 percent from the foul line and still manage to lose by four?

"It's not hard to figure out how we lost that game. It's right in front of our faces," Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace said. "We don't take care of the ball on the road."

No arguing there. The Bobcats committed twice as many turnovers - (23 to the Toronto Raptors' 11) and grabbed half as many offensive rebounds (six, to Toronto's 17). Give a team all those extra chances to score and you get the Raptors' 107-103 victory at Air Canada Centre.

Sunshine Girl - 21.12.09

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Old 12-31-2009, 10:32 AM   #2 (permalink)

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Old 12-31-2009, 11:45 AM   #3 (permalink)

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Old 12-31-2009, 12:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:28 AM   #5 (permalink)

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