So I had this dream that I some how ended up having to cover the Bobcats vs Raptors, on the same night host a party for readers of the DNB, and get this the Raptors lost. Wait, I am being informed this actually happened. The Raptors and deservedly so, have been praised for their effort in the last four games, despite the fact they have been 1-3 in those games. But based on their performance last night it made those 3 losses become pretty irrelevant. While it was great to see them raise their game to a level to compete with the Lakers, Knicks and Spurs, it should have carried over to a winnable game vs the struggling Bobcats. They had lost 16 in a row and brought a 1-15 road record with them to Toronto and just 3 wins on the season overall. This game was lost almost before it started by the Raptors. Dwane Casey in the post game was very honest and stated off the top he was disappointed in his team's performance. The Raptors approach to this game was the problem according to Casey. He clearly felt his team over looked the Bobcats.
This was a close game throughout never seeing one team lead by more than 8 points in it. When you consider the Bobcats who had lost their last 10 games on the road by an average of over 16 points, this was a clear sign the Raptors were in trouble. It was a lacklustre performance almost from the opening bell. The one thing that you have to do against a struggling team the Raptors failed to do. They let the Bobcats build hope and feel like they had a chance to win. Despite getting off to decent 10-4 advantage by the end of the 1st quarter the Raptors lead was just a single point 23-22. DeRozan had a good start on offence but an equally poor one on defence. His assignment on the night was Reggie Williams. Mr. Williams heading into this game averaged just over 10 points a game. He would end up on the night with 22 points shooting 9-13 from field and 4-6 from behind the arc.
Not only was Demar struggling on defence he was on top of it getting himself into foul trouble. If not for those facts, he could have had perhaps an even better night on offence which was pretty good with 24 points going 8-15 from the field. On top of that, he also had a nasty coming together with a Bobcat in the 4th Quarter that left him down on the floor for a bit. After the game he was fine and said the coming together just made him a bit dizzy, but was o.k eventually and he did comeback later. The only thing that was hurt was his pride at the end of the night.
The Raptor would trail by 2 at the half. The fans would get treated to Naughty By Nature at halftime. The Raptors likely to a verbal assault from Dwane Casey. Whatever was said didn't take long as the Raptors had wondered out before Naughty By Nature was done performing. Jerryd Bayless did return in this game but Casey said post game he felt that Bayless wasn't right in his view and did not play him at all in the 2nd half. Bayless only played a shade under 5 minutes and was 0-2 from the field making 2 free throws for his 2 points on the night.
The Raptors did respond in the 3rd to some degree but they had already made the mistake of giving a desperate team hope. The Raptors won the third quarter though out scoring the Bobcats 24-21 and took a slim one point advantage to the 4th quarter. However in that 4th the Bobcats had the hope and smelled blood and a rare chance at win and took advantage of that. They started to build a lead and would be able to hang on to it out scoring the Raptors 30-22 in final quarter and walking out of the ACC with a 98-91 win.
A couple of guys that were considered options for the Raptors in the draft were on display in this game. Kemba Walker was a lot of the people's choice for the Raptors in the draft. He had 14 points and 8 assists on the night. But the 5-15 shooting is the problem with Kemba he is struggling to shot a good percentage on the next level here in the NBA. Until Jonas Valanciunas fell into their lap the Raptors were strongly considering Bismack Biyombo from the Congo. He on the other hand looked like something the Raptors could use. Bismack laid the smack down in the form of 7 blocks to go with 8 points and 13 rebounds a strong showing for him. Still all the reports and things you keep hearing suggest that Jonas will be far better than both when all is said and done. Given how this season has gone the pressure on him to perform like it will be here from the moment he arrives and not a second later.
Jose Calderon who has been coming back to earth in terms of scoring had 14 points and 8 assists in over 41 minutes on the floor. He seemed frustrated from the losing in general in the post game. It makes you wonder if the rumours and rumblings that he wants to move on to somewhere else have some merit. How ironic would that be? A guy that has frustrated a portion of this fan base leaves out of his frustration in the franchise. Jose will never be a guy that will say he wants out publicly. He never once uttered that he wanted to be the starter in North America. If he were to survive the season as a Raptor it would not shock me if we heard news from Spain that Calderon is unhappy and wants to move to another NBA team. That is how he does things. It is also part of why I have never been thrilled with Calderon over the years.
Despite this recap of the game itself, I had a fantastic time being both media member, than host, than media member again. Our MGDDNBVIP night was a success in every way except for the one thing that is out of our hands the game on the floor itself. Thanks to all that came out and to Forest Kenney and the folks at MGD for working with us on a big event for the 2nd season in a row now. It is becoming a great tradition for us in Dino Nation Blog. They do a wonderful job in making these events a success. Will have some pictures and photos from the night over the weekend.