John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Two in a row! It appears the stifling defense and great ball movement we saw from the Raptors on Friday was no fluke, as they played with that same intensity today against the Rockets. It got them the win, and raised their record to 6-19.
After three quarters of impressive play from the Raptors, they headed into the 4th quarter up eight on Houston. The Rockets chipped away at the lead throughout the 4th, and eventually cut the lead to four with 2 minutes left.
It felt like a classic Raptors game: Play well for three quarters, lose the lead in the fourth, and suffer a devastating loss despite out-playing the opponent.
But this time, things were different. Great team defense and clutch free throws down the stretch secured the win for the Raps, as they won their second straight game.
There were no late game heroics from Jeremy Lin - or any other Rockets; in fact Lin struggled mightily in his over-hyped return to the ACC.
It's time to hand out some awards.
Raptors MVP: Jose Calderon
A rebound with 3 seconds remaining earned Jose Calderon his second triple double of the season (and his career), as he finished with 18 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds. He ran the offense beautifully all game, setting up Alan Anderson for clutch threes, and Ed Davis for some big dunks. The Raptors offense has been flowing as of late, and Jose deserves much of the credit for the recent success.
Jose played with incredible emotion and intensity tonight, something that his teammates should learn from the veteran PG.
Honorable Mention: Alan Anderson
Alan Anderson made his case to be the starting SF, and it was a pretty convincing one. In just 25 minutes he scored 24 points, going 6-12 from the floor and 3-7 from three. He played great defense all game, as we've gotten used to seeing from Anderson.
Should be noted: AA hit a pair of clutch free throws late in the game, that clinched the win for the Raps.
Raptors LVP: Linas Kleiza
Just two days after Kleiza's incredible performance against the Mavs, Linas came back to earth in today's game. He had one of his worst games of the season, taking ten shots and making just one. Kleiza is an extremely streaky player, and today's performance was evidence of just that.
Most anti-Bargnani comment: Via mazzetti
"They shouldn't bother re-activating [Bargnani]. I'm literally 100% serious he doesn't bring anything to this team any more. He doesn't belong in the NBA; it takes a special kind of player to actually make this team WORSE."
Best & Worst Jack/Matt Quotes
Jack: "[Ed Davis]'s a hammer, not the nail!"
Jack: "If I'm Ed Davis and Amir Johnson I'm buying Jose Calderon a nice gift." Matt: "A nice visit to the spa!"
Matt: "If you're gonna run, you gotta run. Ed Davis, he runs."
Most bizarre moment:
Amidst of a Raptors run, without any cue, Jack trailed off and began raving about his love for black coffee, and how he's "not really a Timmies guy". Matt completely ignored this, and kept talking about what Leo is paid to talk about... THE GAME.
The Raptors played well in all four quarters tonight, as beat the Rockets, and won their second straight game. The Raptors next game is Tuesday night against the Cavs. Be sure to stop by the HQ, as we'll be blogging live.
For more, visit The Dream Shake.