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Tip In: When Taken Out Early, Salami and Cheese Can Go Bad

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Usually when the Swirsk comes out with the Salami and Cheese line the game is wrapped up.

Last night it was early in the fourth quarter when Chuck and Leo Rautins started talking about making a trip to the fridge because the Raps looked like a team in control of their second straight home game.

Then suddenly Antawn Jamison realized he was playing against a team that has shown very little in terms of defense and suddenly an 18 point lead disappeared. How bad was the Raps D in the fourth? Try to the tune of 43 points.

43 points?!

If it was not for a huge three point play down the stretch by Bosh and Mr. Space Mountain Mike James nailing back to back three's this could have been a devastating loss. Instead....two in a row. The way of the NBA....and note to the Swirsk....look both ways before opening the fridge!

Ok, enough of the silly saying, in reality the Raps almost blew it. Instead they walked away with a 117-112 win. Should they feel good about the win? Yes, but not that happy. It was really tough to watch the fourth, in particular after the great ball they played in the third. The extra pass, the tough D, the team play. Watching the third made you realize what this team could do next year after these guys develop more and play together. When they are "on" offensively it is a joy to watch.

The Raptors got solid contributions from the usual suspects in Bosh and James (33 and 29 points respectively) and Mo Pete, Jalen Rose and Charlie V all had strong games offensively putting up double figures. This showed in the percentage categories as well as the both teams shot over 50 per cent from the field AND from beyond the arc.

Toronto outrebounded the Wiz 38 to 33 and had only 11 turnovers. The rebounding edge was especially important as in previous games this and points in the paint led to victories for Washington.

With a floundering Knicks team in town tomorrow night this is a great chance for Toronto to gain some momentum heading towards All-Star break.

Howland's Quick Hits:

- Holy Spiderman! Pape Sow with the SICK web spinning on that block. Loving this guy right now. Good luck finding some PT Hoffa when you come back.

- Mo P is undoubtedly in my mind the key to Raps wins. He plays well and the chances of us winning increase almost exponentially.

- Anybody miss Aaron Williams tonight? Didn't think so. Speaking of this trade, two second rounders? The Vince deal could not end up being THAT bad once all is said and done, and we will be seeing the returns well after VC has won zero championships and is near retirement.

- If you play with a guy like Gil or Kobe you must REALLY love the game of basketball not to get frustrated. These guys are awesome talents no doubt, but they will never let their "team" rise to the next level.

- Charlie is falling in love with that three. Get him in the post. NOW.

- Joey is not as far ahead at this point as I expected. His foot speed needs work. Not often teams ask a rookie to maybe lose some bulk. Unless of course you are Mike Sweetney.

- What can you say about the two man game with Bosh and James? When it is clicking it is monster.

HOWLAND