After Saturday night's loss in Boston the Raptors knew they were going to have to put their best foot forward to prevent back-to-back losses.
With a little luck and some solid play from CB4 they did just that.
Now that's a good win.
I am not sure what is more suprising, the fact that the Raptors won the game or how they won the game.
Coming off the bad loss to Boston the Raptors needed to respond and at least give the Spurs a run for their money and they did just that. The Raps got out to an early lead and never looked back. It was a complete game from beginning to end, even without Hedo Turkoglu who was out with an illness.
So how exactly did the Raps do it?
Well from an offensive standpoint it wasn't pretty. The team shot just over 40% and barely managed to keep their three-point streak alive. Just because it wasn't pretty however, doesn't mean it wasn't effective.
For the most part the Raptors did a solid job attacking the rim, led by Jarrett Jack. Jack was absolutely fearless in this match-up and despite getting torched by Tony Parker early he didn't let that phase him. He continued to get into the paint, draw contact and create for others.
The player of the game offensively for the Raps however, was Chris Bosh. First off, congrats to CB4 who in last night's game became the Toronto Raptor's all-time leading scorer surpassing VInce Carter. The shot that broke the record was a jumper from the elbow which seems fitting.
Bosh was absolutely dynamite down the stretch. When the Raps needed a bucket he attacked both Duncan and the rim and even more importantly when the the Raps needed him to hit free-throws to seal it he nailed them both (despite uncharacteristically not having been to the line all night). Bosh did all of the right things at the right times. He also came to play on the defensive end where he manned the paint and challenged all comers.
It really was the defense that allowed the Raps to pull this win out. It was not only Bosh who looked good defending the paint as Bargnani did a commendable job against the great Tim Duncan. He did not back down and contested a number of shots.
It was for me however, the perimeter defenders who did a much better job tonight. The bench crew of Sonny Weems, Marco Belinelli and Marcus Banks all did a commendable job. Actually at one point in the second quarter I had to be sure I was watching the right team. The wing defenders, Weems and Banks in particular on a couple of sequences were flying around on the defensive end.
It's actually a bit of a stunner that the Raps managed to force the Spurs to grind it out. For the most part nothing came easy and the Raps showed that when committed, they can hold teams to less than a hundred points. It's great to know they can, but it will be very frustrating the next time they let a team hang 120 on them.
The one big point of contention for me in last night's game was the lack of time for Weems and Johnson. In the meantime Triano seemed content to give Antoine Wright 35 minutes of playing time.
Am I the only one who is uncomfortable with the minutes given to Wright in Hedo's absence? When Wright was acquired I had hopes that he would be able to contribute to this team a lot more than he has thus far. Right now he is more of a liability on the floor than an asset and I would much rather seen a tandemn of Weems and DeRozan getting these minutes. I never thought I would say this but if Wright is the alternative I can't wait to get Hedo back.
Of course the was a little bit of luck involved in this victory as well. Last night, for only the second time in his career Tim Duncan came off the bench. Now it's hard to say if this was the sole factor that led to the Spurs struggling to find a rhythm almost for the entire night, or whether it was just tired legs, but whatever the reason the Spurs simply didn't have much energy. Even when Duncan finally came into the game, many his shots fell short and he was not his normal dominant self. He also struggled mightily from the line when the game was on the line.
Actually outside of Tony Parker none of the Spurs seemed comfortable. Manu Ginobili just did not play well and on a whole they just did not get much from anyone.
On night's like these the Raps have to take advantage. I am sure most of us forecasted as loss but the Raps were opportune and stole a victory. A nice win no doubt.
Now, let's see if they can do the same later this week against an Orlando team.