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Tip-In: Sleepwalking...Or, When You Deserve To Lose

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Sometimes in the NBA, things just don't make sense.

How can a moribund team like the Atlanta Hawks beat San Antonio one night, and get blown out by Washington by 31 another?

How can the Detroit Pistons have a 27 and 5 record yet have three of those losses against the hardly spectacular Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards?

And similarily, how can a Raptor team playing relatively well of late, need up until the last 2 minutes of tonight's game to finally take the lead for good against the Charlotte Bobcats?

Oh yes...THAT Bobcats team...you know...the expansion one with only 11 wins this season and who could only dress EIGHT players for tonight's match due to injuries?

And yet someone may say "But wait; the Bobcats do have some talent! Emeka Okafor was last year's rookie of the year. Kareem Rush, who was drafted by Toronto, has some quickness and hops. Melvin Ely and Sean May are decent post presences. And Brevin Knight, injuries aside, has resurrected his career in Charlotte and has been in the top 3 in assists per game these past two seasons."

And to that I'd reply in typical Office Space fashion "Yeeeeeeeeeeeeah....none of those guys actually played tonight..."

Usually I enjoy breaking down each Raptors' game in a fairly analytical fashion examining the team's strengths and weaknesses, studs and duds. However watching Toronto sleepwalk through the first half, finally waking up for good in the fourth quarter, simply does not deserve such attention. And while they came out with the 95-86 win, the Raptors were completely out-hustled by Primoz Brezec, Gerald Wallace and a team of NBDLers.

Which takes us back to the title of this article.

This was one of those games you knew the Raptors would eventually win. While they left it to the last minute, you just felt that because they were more talented, that would eventually win out as long as they put together SOME effort. At the same time, seeing Mike James let Kevin Burleson shoot open three-pointers almost made you want the Raptors to lose as a wake-up call. For most of the game Toronto was badly outplayed by a much less talented squad and the Bobcats truly deserved this win. The Raptors took the Bobcats too lightly and they surely can not afford to do the same against the red-hot (how it pains me to write that) New York Knicks. If not for the continuous hustle of Matt Bonner and Morris Peterson (18 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals), a good second half from Mike James and Chris Bosh, and some excellent coaching from Sam Mitchell, the Raptors would surely have lost their third in a row in embarrassing fashion.

Embarrassing? Well...when Matt Caroll and Bernard Robinson Jr. are lighting you up...that word may indeed be insufficient in describing the sentiment attached to such a loss.

FRANCHISE

HOWLAND'S QUICK HITS

- Full props to Charlotte...even when fielding a team that couldn't give half the NCAA teams a run for their money Bernie Bickerstaff had his troops ready and they fought hard even in the loss.

- Was that Jalen Rose actually showing some smarts near the end of the game? God he wanted to jack that three...because he didn't we won.

- Turning point was the Bosh block (about as sick as Chapman with food poisoning) which led to a Mo P And 1.

-This game was typical of Space Mountain...awful then great. Sometimes you get the feeling he tries to do too much and forces his game.

- Good to get the win regardless, needed to get off the mini skid.

- Charlie, Steven A. Smith called...he wants to know if that chip on your shoulder is short term.

- Off season priorities, Joey has to work on his ball handling and first step.

- This is Mo P's best year. Bar none.

- NY on Sunday is going to be KING KONG HUGE. Charlie better bring it cause Channing is going to.

HOWLAND