This season has been filled with moments of promise, moments of just utter disappointment and moments of confusion. With the loss of Chris Bosh in the offseason, combined with a truckload of injuries the team the team really struggled this season and are playing for either their 23 win of 60th loss when they take on Chris bosh and the Heat tonight, though the Big 3 will most likely be chilling on the pine in preparation for the playoffs this weekend.
Yes there have been several fourth quarter collapses, some huge losses, which included a few 30+ and 40+ margins, there have been some moments this season that gave us a glimpse of the future and what could happen if this team is put together the right way. So here are the Top 10 moments of the 2010-2011 Toronto Raptors moments.
#10: Dime Master Calderon drops 19 assists on the Wolves
In a season in which he started coming off the bench, Calderon has shown that he can still be a great PG in this league, minus the defense. In a February showdown with the Wolves, jose did what he does best and distributed the ball on the way to a total of 19 for the game. This season he has also tallied 15 of more assists a total of 6 times and have 12 double double, which is 10 more than Bargnani has on the season.
#9: Il Mago goes off at MSG
The Knicks are not a team that plays great defense and neither are the Raptors, but in a showdown on a cold December night, the Knicks D, made Bargnani look like Kobe as he scored his career high of 41. He was also very efficient that night shooting 16-24 from the field, 2-3 from beyond the arc and 7-8 from the charity stripe. He also grabbed a rare 7 rebounds in the process.
#8: Defeating the Celtics
Since the Big 3 of Pierce, Allen and Garnett came together in the 2007-08 season the Raptors had only beaten them once, way back in 2008, thanks to the efforts of Jose Calderon, and have since been swept in the past two seasons. So no one really expected the Raptors to be the victors when the two teams met earlier in the season, before the Celtics recent struggles, but they did just that and walked away with a 102-101 win against one of the Easts elite.
#7: Comeback at the Palace
During the season whenever the Raptors got down by 20+ deficits, fans would either continue watching in agony or change the channel, and that was most likely the case when the Raptors trailed by as much as 25 to the Pistons. Bayless scored 18 of his 31 in the second half and was a key part of the comeback as the Raptors outscored the Pistons 37-17 in the 4th quarter to walk away with a 120-116 victory.
#6: Triple OT in London
On the second day of the two games played in London the Raptors and Nets, gave the fans one heck of a show. Both teams especially the Raptors have the opportunity to put that game away but it seemed like neither team really wanted it to end. From Bayless' reactions every time the Raptors hit a shot that seemed like the game winner to Bargnani's step back jumpers that never found the bottom to the rim this game had all the makings of a classic. If only it went a few more OT's.
#5: James Johnson trade
Bryan Colangelo has been trying to make moves for the past few years that would ultimately benefit the team, but unfortunately he has come up short on most of them, most famously the signing of Hedo Turkoglu. But he may have found gold with the trade for James Johnson this year. At first I had no idea who James Johnson was when the trade was first announced but after seeing what this guy can do for this team going forward, its clearly one of the best moves BC has made in a while, though it has probably ended the Sonny Weems era in Toronto.
#4: Silencing the Thunder...Twice
Coming into the season not many people expected the Raptors to put up a fight against the leagues contending teams, but they have played amazingly against several of these teams and have even been able to beat a few of them including the Thunder on two occasions thus sweeping the season series. The first win was without Kevin Durant in the lineup, but with KD playing the second time the Raptors were able to get the win again thanks to a game winning bucket by amir Johnson.
#3: DeMar's Growth
After a decent first season in the league DeMar has shown that he's gonna be a force to be reckoned with in the future. From his ability to get to the rim to the improvement of his jumper, he has doubled is scoring from last season and has even scored 30+ points on 6 separate occasions after scoring 20+ only twice last season. Now he just needs to improve on the defensive end and extend his offense to the three point line to truly have opponents shaking in their shoes.
#2: Taming the Bulls
Once again proving that they can play with the big dogs in the East the Raptors took down yet another elite in the East, when they beat the Bulls in a February match-up. Ironically, it was James Johnson's first game in a Raptors uniform after being traded by the Bulls, and in his first start, he showed us all what he can do. DeMar and Bargnani both scored 24 that game on route to a 118-113 Raptors victory.
#1: DeMar at Dunk Contest
After last year's performance in which he lost in the final round to Nate Robinson, DeMar was invited to the dunk contest again this year, after not making the cut at first, and put on an amazing show. Though he had probably the best dunk of the entire contest the judges failed to show him the credit he deserved and thus he was eliminated in the first round. Unlike the other competitors DeMar used no props and showed what dunking should be about and not what it has sadly become. In the end I'm pretty sure people will be talking about his Show-Stopper dunk instead of Blake's sad jumping over the hood of a car dunk.
In a season which has been filled with disappointments, there have been some key moments this season in which the Raptors played like we expected them to or several players put on amazing performances. Going forward these things may hopefully translate into more successes for the team and in a few years maybe they'll be playing in the playoffs instead of heading to yet another draft lottery. Well that includes another installment of the top 10, if I have forgotten and key moments this season feel free to chime in, in the comments.