A brand new season of Raptors Rewind on the Dino Nation Blog. The Cleveland Cavs with Shaq, Lebron and a couple ex-raps provide the opposition. The Raps limped into the season with a 2-6 pre-season record and a terrible loss to the T-Wolves. Major concerns about the Raptors defense and Reggie Evans out of the opening day line-up. While the Cavs rolled into Toronto off a loss to the Celtics that had to have left a bad taste in their collective mouths. The Cavs early in that game looked like a team on a mission and made me feel very secure in picking them to win the NBA finals. It all seemed to look like the perfect mix for a Raptor loss in the home opener. Well will see if it is or it isn't. Demar DeRozan win or lose is going to make his NBA debut as a starter with his family on hand at the ACC to take it all in. I really have become a fan of Demar. So much so that beyond Bosh he has become my second favourite player on the squad. What can he do in his debut? Going to find out that as well. There are about 100 other questions that need answers but I don't think there is enough time to list them all. How will the defense do against one of the top 3 teams in the Eastern Conference? Will Hedo Turkoglu hear the bell go off for the start of the season? Wright has hardly played what can he bring to the table? Those are just a few off the top of my head. Time for answers is here it is game time in Toronto. Well it will be after this over the top intro to kick off season number 15 of Raptors Basketball. It is opening night, but man this is a little much for my tastes...Maybe I am just getting old. I think Shaq is the only guy playing in this game that is older than me...NEVER RETIRE SHAQ!!! You make me feel young. Like Shaq is reading the Dino Nation Blog right? But if you know Shaq please pass along the message. So here is hoping this will not be a painful experience. Oh and also tell him that Rue Paul comment was MEAN!!!
Here we go time to tip it up in the T-dot. I forgot to mention really nice response for AP and well deserved. Like I said time to get this show on the road. Bosh and Shaq on the tip and Bosh wins it. Andrea Bargnani before you can blink with a throw down and it's 2-0 Raps. A couple failed trips for each and a foul on Bargnani on Shaq. Shaq's free throw form is still the same as a Cav...Bad. He misses both. Shaq takes it through a double team from Bosh and Bargnani for the score. An ugly hook as Bosh took it at Shaq likely not a wise idea. Cavs score on the following possession and take the lead. Demar DeRozan takes it from the corner straight to the bucket and draws the foul. He goes 2 for 2 at the line and store that in your memory banks as that will be the first points of many for him in his NBA career. After a Cavs bucket Demar scores again on a jumper. This is followed by a 3 from Bargnani and a steal and another score for him on the break. Raptors lead 11-6 and Cavs along with yours truly are stunned and need a timeout.
James jumper does not fall and on the other end it does fall for CB4. Raptors are flying around like a pack of crazed dogs. This is nothing like what we saw in the preseason at all. Bargnani fouled and goes to the line and drains a pair. Raptors lead 15-6 and this is a perfect start for the Raps. Bosh scores and it is a 13-0 Raps run. O'Neal finally stops the run with a basket. A block and a attempt for 3 for Bargnani no dice. But he would get a 2 the next time down the floor. Andrea Bargnani has come out on fire and so have the Raps. The effort on both ends of the floor has been fantastic. Bargnani scores again and the Raptor lead is 10 at 21-11. Bargnani got a steal and he missed a open dunk. I guess he is human tonight. Lebron James a score and a foul as well he gets the Cavs closer as the lead it cut to 21-15 with a foul shot to come. Andrea takes a seat with 13 points in 9 minutes out of the time out. Lebron remains in the game and hits the and 1. Bosh taps in a basket to get the lead back to a half dozen. Mo Williams for 3 and Raps are on the ropes but still ahead by 3 points. No free throw streak this year for Jose as he missed 2 at the line. Cavs score and get the closest they have been in a long time down just 1. Bosh draws a foul and heads to the line. He makes both and Raps lead back to 3. Raps are up 5 after one and this is pretty surprising but I am not complaining. Raptors lead 27-22 after 1.
Both teams not shooting it great but Raps at 39% is better than Cleveland at 33%.Big Z starts the second and gets the score as he now comes of the bench. Heir Canada back in game and scores no nerves for Demar in his big debut. Mo Williams fouled and to the line. He makes a pair. Demar a jumper that did not look good and it did not fall. Basket for Shaq as both he and Big Z on floor together. A foul as well on Bosh his second. Shaq can tie the game but no on the free throw. Bargnani gets an open look for 2 and he makes it. Belinelli draws a foul on Shaq then on the other end hits a jumper off a Bosh pass. Hedo fakes the shot and drives and scores and the Raps lead is back to 7 with the score 35-28 and a time out on the floor.
Jamario Moon with that ill advised 3 that will all know so well. Just like with Toronto it does not fall. Meanwhile Andrea Bargnani is a new man and a scary one at that. Drives to the lane and takes the contact and is back at the line. Makes both and has 17 and the Raptors lead 37-28. James answers with a jumper as he just had checked back in. James with a pretty move and score and Andrea Bargnani answers with a nice up and under move adding tools to his game. Marco Belinelli drives down a wide open lane for a dunk...Time OUT CAVS!!! Down 41-32 to the Raptors was not something to many folks expected.
Out of the time out Leron James drives and draws the foul trying to get his Cavs back on track. He makes both at the line and the lead cut to 7. However Marco Belinelli who struggled in pre-season is not tonight as he takes and makes a 3. The lead expanded to 12 as Hedo was fouled and made 2 at the line. We are not done as Belinelli scores off a curl. Raptor lead it 48-34 and I am starting to wonder if I am watching my X-Box and if this is actually real? Bosh fouled and makes a pair and Raps are 14-16 from line. Ironically the lone to misses by Calderon. Wright in the game and draws a charge and that leads to a Bargnani dunk and he has 21. Raptors lead is 52-36 and this is truly fun to watch. Reggie Evans is enjoying it having a laugh on the bench. Welcome back Rasho Nesterovic as he hits a jumper and the crowd is going crazy at the ACC. Raptors are up 20 and Mike Brown calls a time out. Lebron James has the ball knocked away from his hands and Cavs end up with a shot clock violation out of time out. Belinelli to the line and splits a pair but has 10 off the bench. James gets fouled and heads to the line. James splits a pair at the line and a turnover and a score for Lebron. However the Raptors are up 57-39 at the half. Wow that is all I can say.
So can this continue? The Cavs Locker room could not have been a happy place. The ACC on the other hand was a party and the Cavs were only shooting 30% at the half in comparison to the Raps at now a 47% clip. Mo Williams take the ball to the hoop and draws a foul on Bosh and that is 3 for him. Bosh on the other end taking it right at Shaq. Rue Paul that Shaq!!! Bosh had said it was in the past but Brett Favre also said playing the Packers was not about revenge. Bosh missing on a jump shot and Williams (who replaced an injured Bosh in All Star Game Last Year) nailed a 3. Lead has been cut to 14. James drives scores and gets the generous call on the continuation so count the basket. Hedo hits a 3 and gets the Raps offense going again. Score is 61-46 Raptors. Jose drops a dime for Bargnani and Raps have built lead back to 17.
Hedo short on a 3 that would have made the lead 20 again. Gibson makes a 3 ball and that is a 6 point swing in favour of the Cavs. Hedo would get fouled and go to the line. He has a bit more jump to him after a very sleepy preseason. Illegal defense call against the Raps then an AP drive and score and Cavs cut lead to 13. Bosh having a roughing night so far from field just 3 for 11. He missed a short jumper in the lane. Parker nails a 3 and is leading his new team back against his old one as the score now is just 65-55 Raps. Bosh fouled and makes a pair from the line. Wright is the new Moe P as he draws his 3rd charge something Peterson use to do a lot for the Raps back in the day. Cleveland showing signs of life have cut the lead to 65-55.
Mo Williams hit a 3 and the lead is now just 7. After that Bargnani gets called for offensive foul and crowd hates the call as do the Raps. Mo Williams hit a runner and here come the Cavs. Bosh fouled as he was being double teamed. Bosh goes 1 for 2 at line but Raps get rebound but James steals it away and finds Mo Williams for 3 and he nails it and the lead in just 3. Cavs have been using a small lineup with James actually playing at the 4 spot. The Cavs score again and the lead that was once 20 is now just 1. Bosh fouled but misses his first and makes the second. Bosh has 12 rebounds despite the average scoring night so far. James is fouled and can tie the game at the line. He can only get 1 of 2 and Raps lead is just 1 again. Thank you Jamario Moon as he jacks up a terrible shot that is an airball. Just thinking out loud but Moon and his future in Cleveland may not be long based on his play in pre-season and first couple games.
Bosh has the ball stripped by Lebron James and he takes it the other way James is fouled by Jose and he has 4. Enter Jarrett Jack and Lebron with a chance to take the lead can only manage to tie it. Jack finds his fellow Yellow Jacket for the easy 2. Raps back on top 71-69. Wright a pretty spin move and a score. Demar DeRozan make a very long 2 from the corner to make the lead 4 again at 75-71. The Raptors would add 3 more and an AP jumper at the buzzer find only air. Raptors taking a 78-71 lead to the 4th Quarter and honestly who saw this coming? If you did go buy a lotto ticket now.
Can this Raptor team hold a lead and close this game out? Jack drives and misses to start the 4th. Moon gets fouled and is at the line. If I am Mike Brown he would be glued to the bench by now. He makes second and the lead is 6. Cue Andrea Bargnani who has had a quiet second half but nails a 3 and lead is back to 9. Jack a drive and score and the lead is back to 11 and you know what the Raps may just win this thing. Big Z gets a score out of a time out. He should have been called for a foul but a quick make up call and all is right. Bargnani scores and he has 28 that is 4 touchdowns all converted.
Bosh sneaks out on the break after going for a block and he gets the pass and G-Tech memories as Jack and Bosh hook up again. Raptors lead 87-76 with 8:06 to go. Shaq draws foul number 5 on Andrea and Rasho checks in for him. He does a good enough job to stop Shaq. DeRozan missed on a shot but Rasho there to clean it up for 2. Jack got the ball to the hoop on the drive and it is 91-78. Chris Bosh hits a step back jumper and the lead is 93-78 and under 6 to play.
Time was quickly fading on the Cavs and what I said seemed unthinkable is suddenly becoming very realistic. The Cavs starting 0-2 is rapidly looking to be a reality. Raps have outscored the Cavs 24-9 since the Cavs tied the game at 69. Jack with a bit of an over aggressive play draws a foul. Just 4:32 to play after the fouls shots the score would be 93-80. Gibson hits a 3 and the lead is 10 and Cavs are making one final push. Wright hits a huge 3 that extends the lead back to 13. Put from Parkerville court AP answers with a 3. How good is this? Raps lead 96-86 and there is more excitement in the ACC than there had been all last year. Bosh has a hook fall out but the Cavs fail to score and there is 2 minutes left. Loose ball and Jose tried to call time but it will be a jump between Gibson and Jose. Gibson wins the tap and James drives and gets a call on Bosh for a block and he was clearly outside circle and had position. Really bad call send James to the line. James would make first and miss the second. But Cleveland got the board and James nails a 3 and the score is 96-90. James despite his teams struggles has a triple double. Raps get to line and split a pair. The lead is 97-90 and Raptors trying to hang on. James get fouled and again splits a pair this time Bosh grabs the rebound on the second that he missed. Hedo gets fouled with the lead at 97-91. He splits a pair and Raps get the ball off a steal Jose the basket and the foul call on James. This game is over as Jose hits the and 1 and the Raptors shock the Cavs and send a LOUD MESSAGE TO THE NBA and all Raptor Fans.
Final Score- Raptors 101 Cavs 91 .
Chris Bosh had 21 points and 16 rebounds and a fantastic start to his season with a win over the Cavs. Bargnani had 28 points to lead all scorers. Lebron James as I mentioned had a triple double in defeat with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. For the Rookie Demar DeRozan he had 8 points and 5 rebounds along with a block, an assist and a steal filling up that boxscore.
I really sit here totally stunned and in shock. The Raptors never showed anything close to this in the preseason and this was totally unexpected from my point of view. However the Raptors remained confident as they went along in the preseason. There was a lot of doubt and uncertainty heading into this game. Now you just hope this team does not show any let up as the head to Memphis with a very realistic chance to start 2-0. After that back to the ACC for Vince and the Magic. If game 1 was any indication of what is to come this season it is going to be a fun year.
The defense really showed up like it had not all preseason. There was still some open looks from 3 at times but the overall effort was off the charts. The Raptors win and this is a win that will cause a lot of folks to take a second look both north and south of the U.S/Canada border. The crowd was off the charts and no fans in the NBA deserve a good team than Raptor fans. Finally fans may have a team that brings the same effort that you all do. It is just 1 game of 82 but what a game it was.