The irony is unmistakableâ€¦unmistakable and definitely painful. To put it simply - we could have had him, but we didn't take him...and everytime he's come here, he's made us remember that.
Andre Iguodala put up 26 points and added 3 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in Philadelphiaâ€™s 107-80 destruction of the Raptors this afternoon further enraging the already dismayed fans in attendance. Yes dismayed at the Raptors performance (especially in the third quarter)...and enraged considering that instead of watching Iggy as a Raptor, they had to watch the continued saga of Rafael Araujo who had 7 rebounds on the day but no pointsâ€¦ohâ€¦and a missed alley-oop. Of course Araujo was drafted over Iguodala by the Raptorsâ€™ management at the 2004 NBA Draft and that move has been met with disdain ever since.
On this Sunday afternoon, Iggy displayed the all-around game that made him such an enticing draft prospect in 2004 and showed off his much improved shot (which was the main knock on him coming out of college.) Iguodala went 9 for 10 from the field, hit both of his 3 point attempts and hit all 6 of his free throw attempts. Philadelphia didn't even need 40 points from Allen Iverson or 20 from Chris Webber, who had 18 and 12 respectively, but got a total team effort as even Kyle Korver dropped 23 points on Toronto. In another touch of irony it was that same Korver who we discussed as a possible trade option for Toronto and he had perhaps the best all around game of the afternoon adding 6 rebounds and 7 assists to his 9 for 15 shooting and 4 three pointers.
While the Raptors kept things close for the first 2 quarters it was the third which let us down once again as the Raptors were outscored 28-14. The statistical story of the game was especially telling as the Raptors allowed Philly to shoot a scorching 58.3% from beyond the arc and 48.8% from the field overall. The 76ers also outrebounded the Raptors 47-43, had 17 more assists and let Philly score 23 points off of 18 turnovers.
The lack of Jose Calderon was quite evident. Left with Mike James and Darrick Martin to run the show the offense did not run as smoothly as normal and there were simply way too many turnovers (16). Joey Graham started in Calderon's place and played a decent game with 11 points and 4 assists. However he was no match for Iguodala who drove by him repeatedly. Chris Bosh only tallied 7 rebounds but was his consistent self again offensively with 22 points. CV Smooth perhaps had the strongest game for Toronto with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks.
The Raptors now face the unenviable task of flying to Orlando to face one of the league's top defensive teams. If Toronto could only manage 80 points against a "bottom of the league" defense such as Philly, they are in real trouble tomorrow night. It will be imperative for the Raptors to get better guard play or else Stevie Franchise and co. will have an easy W.
But back to Iguodala. While Iggy was unstoppable it should not be taken so much as a measure of his greatness, but a lack of our own team's currently. As Morris Peterson correctly pointed out after the game, the Raptors defence simply MADE HIM look like an All-Star this afternoon. Except for against the Raptors and on a handful of other nights, Iggy has not actually had a great year statistically. And of course a parallel could be drawn here to the Raptors' themselves, who except for in a few games, have simply not played well, especially on the defensive end.
Perhaps that's why Eric Williams finally got off the bench tonight. Maybe now he can finally bring some of the defensive intensity this team so badly needs.
But if Babcock is trying to put him on display for Philadelphia in a trade scenario, I'm not sure 6 minutes, as he played tonight, will do the trick. No, not 6 minutes...and with the play of most of the team tonight...not 60 either.