The Raps needed to rebound quickly after the Friday night affair against the Thunder and luckily the second half of this back-to-back meant facing the Nets.
The Raps pulled out the W but don't for a second think that all is suddenly right in Raptors land.
This was a no win match-up for the Raps. A win would be far from noteworthy and a loss would be the straw that broke the camels back.
The Raps managed the W - thanks to CB4.
For a game where everyone wearing a Raps jersey should have been ready to play, it was the franchise player who really answered the call.
Last night was Chris Bosh's best game in weeks and showed that he has not yet puched the time card and heading for the exit. Bosh brought his A game to the IZOD Center and absolutely dominated. In a team high 41 minutes Bosh put up 36 points and 8 rebounds and carried his team to the win. Although he still is not getting to the line as much as he was earlier in the season he showed an explosive first step and put on an offensive display. It was a sight for sore eyes as everyone has been waiting for the real CB4 to re-appear.
Make no mistake about it, he absolutely carried the Raps last night. He was a one man wrecking crew and without his monster performance a loss against the lowly Nets would not have been out of the question. In fact, the Raps were down at the half.
Bosh's performance was the sole highlight in last night's game and the only thing to get even marginally excited about. The rest of the team looked hungover and still trying to recover from Friday night's beating.
Outside of CB4 the starters did little of note. Despite heavy minutes Hedo was more or less a non-factor, Andrea would have been better off staying at home to watch Kansas lose and Jose was abused by Devin Harris. Of course none of this was even remotely surprising.
The only thing that was surprising in last night's game was that the Raps actually looked better than their opponent in the second half of the game.
Although I was happy to see the Raps get the win, in particular with the Bulls getting a W, there were times during the broadcast when I started wondering whether it's not too late for the Raps this season. What is the best case scenario for this team now?
On the one hand they could make the playoffs as the 7th or 8th team. Now making the playoffs is generally a good thing but I have little doubt that if the Raps do slide into the second season they will simply play the role of sacrificial lamb to either Cleveland or Orlando. There is little evidence that the Raps could win a first round series and I have a hard time believing that another token appearance in the playoffs is what will convince Bosh to stay. From where I am sitting it was going to take a second round appearance for Bosh to be convinced that this team was heading in the right direction.
On the flip side, the Raps could not make the playoffs. That on it's face would be a worse scenario but maybe, just maybe, it would be better for the franchise. The way I see it, making the playoffs and losing in 4 or 5 games is essentially no better than just watching the playoffs from home. In either case this team disappointed and changes are required. The biggest difference however, is that should the Bulls managed to climb ahead of the Raps in the standings then this team will suddenly have a first round pick in what is shaping up to be a decent draft class.
Given how much money is tied into guys like Hedo, Jose and Bargnani over the next 4 seasons adding cheap young talent way be the only means by which this team can improve in the long term. Adding a player like Patrick Patterson, Xavier Henry or Quincy Pondexter (all guys who could be around in the latelottery) would not only help to lessen the blow should Bosh walk, but it would also give reason for fans to believe that this current squad hasn't already played their best basketball. Besides, having a small chance at John Wall or Evan Turner is better than none, right?
Perhaps the only other option for the Raps is to magically turn things around and use last night's win, and what should be a win against the Timberwolves, to make a run at the 5 spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Without someone other than Chris Bosh bringing his A Game however this looks pretty unlikely - about as unlikely as CB4 being in a Raptors jersey next season.