I have been having some major issues with a toothache. Finally I sucked it up and went to the dentist this morning. I am going to have to get a tooth pulled in the New Year. So I am taking some medication and am starting to feel better. Last night I was not feeling as well but did try my best to watch the Bobcats and Bucks game. The Bobcats at home are a much different story than they are on the road. Raptors experienced that first hand. The Raptors lost 116-81 to the Bobcats in Charlotte. It was one of those awful games, where the Raptors looked truly defenseless at times. The Bobcats won 94-84 last night against the Bucks to move to 11-4 at home despite a lack of fan support. However they are a dreadful 1-13 on the road it is like night and day. Raptors have been like that as we can relate. Toronto is a fairly impressive 10-5 at home. In the year the Raptors won a division title they won 30 on their home floor that year.
In watching last night what becomes fairly obvious when you watch the Bobcats they seem to go as well as Gerald Wallace will take them. Stephen Jackson has added a scorer to the mix for Charlotte. He looked sloppy last night and made several silly turnovers in the game. Another Bobcat that has taken some steps backwards this season is D.J Augustin. He had a solid rookie season but has not been enjoying the same success in his 2nd season. Speaking of rookies, Gerald Henderson has pretty much lost his spot in the Bobcats rotation.The reason is the play of Stephen Graham the twin brother of Joey G. It is odd given the success of the Duke program that so many of their players end up as disappointments. Henderson was a player I liked a lot in this draft class but safe to say Demar DeRozan and his future looks a lot brighter.
Tyson Chandler is out again for the Bobcats that will be welcome news to both Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani. Chandler has matched up well against both in the past. He was a big factor for Charlotte on the defensive end of the floor in that big win. In fact that win against the Raptors was the largest margin of victory in Bobcats history. Raptors have far to many of those stats on the books with both teams and individuals. I have not researched it but it would be interesting to know how many players in the league have a career high against the Raps. I can think of 3 just off the top of my head. Kobe and his 81 we all know, Jamal Crawford in his days with the Bulls dropped 50 and LBJ had a huge 50+ performance for the Cavs against the Raps.
It was a pretty easy win for the Bobcats as the Bucks were never really close in this game. Brandon Jennings was able to get to the hoop fairly easily and the Bucks shot terrible. They had a lot of open looks that you could imagine the Raptors hitting in the same situation. A big reason for the Bobcats win was the contribution they have from their bench scoring 43 points. Raptors have trouble with the athletic nature of the Bobcats. Gerald Wallace, Josh Smith and other players on that nature have always been a thorn in the Raptors side.
The Raptors are rolling winning 4 in a row and looking very solid on the defensive end. It will be interesting to see how that holds up against this athletic and aggressive team. Given the Bobcats struggles on the road it would be wise to get off to fast start. Raptors have actually been fairly good at that throughout the year. The key will be keeping after it for all 4 quarters. This is a game that screams for the "Young Guns" to step up and get noticed. Amir Johnson, Sonny Weems and Demar DeRozan can all battle in terms of athletic ability and they need to hustle and fight it out on both ends of the floor.
If the Raptors do not overlook the Bobcats, which they would have no business doing, this is a winnable game. While many have discredited the Bobcats I said at the beginning of the season that I felt they would be in the fight for the 8th spot in the East. They are doing that but it is more by a case of omission on behalf of the entire lower half of the East. You have to say this though they likely play in the toughest division in the East in the Southwest. The Division that some people once laughed about is now a pretty solid Division with the Magic and Hawks at the top. The Raptors have the good fortune of being in the easiest with only the Celtics as a real challenge. The Raptors will those Celtics and the Magic along with the Spurs at the start of the New Year. All though challenges and it makes this one all the more important.
I am going to be in the house for this one live so I will get a look first hand on how they make out. So no Raptors Rewind tomorrow. In fact likely not a blog at all. I am not the only one on the IR here at the Dino Nation Blog...my laptop is also on the shelf as well. So doubt I will be doing much tomorrow in terms of writing. However I will be looking to chat with a bunch of folks and take advantage of the chance to talk with as many of the Raps as I can, and get my bang for my buck in going down to cover the game. So be it bad tooth...bad monitor or whatever else...The DNB marches along and grinds it out. Just in case Happy New Year..and all the Best in 2010. Thinking some of you might be to busy to read on New Year's Eve. So I will get the all the best in the New Year business out of the way. May all of you that read have a happy and successful 2010.