In front of a small pre-season crowd, the Raptors gave the paying customers a good show. A double overtime entertaining win over the Sixers 119-116. After a sub par effort the night before vs Chicago the Raptors bounced backed to show a lot of fight to knock off the Sixers. Jay Triano said pre-game that in these first four games of the pre-season he has just been letting the guys play and show the skills they have worked on over the summer. Hence the ever changing starting line-ups to a point. But Triano suggested that it was possible the line-up would change in terms of match-ups throughout the season. One thing the coach was not pleased with was how his team was beaten badly on the boards vs the Bulls. Likely more happy with a 55-50 advantage for the Sixers last night. Andrea Bargnani had 8 of those rebounds. He had 14 points as well to go with the 8 boards. Triano when asked about if he is concerned with the start of Bargnani, to which he predictably said no. He expecst that Bargnani will be able to get somewhere between 18-25 points per game this season. Never was asked or offered a rebound number. But did reference the need for everyone to be part of the rebounding effort even the guards.
There was a point where Andrea really did look like a superstar with them going to him 3 straight times to start the first overtime and converting. This was overall the best Bargnani has looked this pre-season. Jrue Holiday for the Sixers had a triple double with 18 points 12 assists and 11 rebounds in over 45 minutes of action. Triano despite the games close nature did not want to over play his guys as Bargnani was the top Raptor playing only 37 minutes. He said that he wanted to keep everyone healthy and used that as the reason for Jarrett Jack and not Jose in overtime. Jack lead the Raptors in scoring with 24 followed by Barbosa with 19. Both on the floor together seemed to work well and that was a lot of the talk in the locker room post game about their chemistry together on the floor.
Raptors understand it seems that they are now a team that has a very small margin for error and if they do not have 100% effort, they are going to be hard pressed to win basketball games. Sixers are a lot like the Raptors in that sense, after this loss they sit at 1-4 and you have to wonder if Doug Collins is going to miss working for TNT by about December or January. Raptors move to 2-2 and will be in action next on Friday.
As I was taking the train home last night after this one. I couldn't help but think there might be a lot of nights like this for the Raptors. Where they will have to fight and claw to get a win. It would have been easy for this team to say the heck with it. After all it was the pre-season and as Jarret Jack explained post game today is basically the first day the Raptors will have off since things got started for them in training camp. The Raptors earned the day off last night. A hard fought win against a team that when it matters will be one of the teams they have to beat in order to be successful.
Had a chance to catch up with Reggie Evans and Demar DeRozan pre-game so look for those mini interviews in the next few days.