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Tip-In: A Sloppy Sunday

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As I mentioned in one of my last recaps, Sunday's game against the Bobcats was a great opportunity to cop some cheapo tickets. I was right as I picked up $160 tickets for $55. Now maybe I should have known that a game that featured two of the worst teams in the L, both missing arguably their best player, would not be that great of a match-up, but I figured a close game would at least provide some solid entertainment. Well it was a reasonably close match-up, but it was not that entertaining.

The Raps continued to show why locking up Bosh long-term is an absolute must. Without the face of the franchise in the paint this team is sadly lacking in talent. Some of the scoring deficiencies have been compensated for as of late by the large number of three balls being launched on a nightly basis, but no matter how many threes you put up (26), or more importantly hit (9), when you turn the ball over 19 times you are even less likely to get the W.

The game itself was a rare 3:30 start, and if today's performance is a reflection of the strange start time this may be the last mid-afternoon tip off we see for a while. The only guy who really brought his A-game was Space Mountain, Mike James. The other usual suspects had unusually suspect performances. Charlie had a mere three points, and Mo P did not hit his first shot until the second half, and finished with 9 points on 4-16 shooting.

Guys who did manage to contribute? Bonner, Graham (I question the lack of minutes here), and gasp.....Loren Woods. Regardless of the surprising performances that some of the Raps managed to put together, the Bobcats starters were too much in the end with all of them scoring in double figures. Much like the last few games though there is little to be gained or lost from these match-ups provided the young guys are getting time. At least that is what I have been telling myself....but the strange thing is not all of the young guys are playing.

The two prime examples of this are Hoffa and Calderon. Although the latter managed to play 13 uneventful minutes, Rafael did not step onto the court. I am begging someone to tell me why. Why is Loren Woods getting minutes and Hoffa isn't? What is the thinking here? Is there not more benefit, long-term, to playing Hoffa now when the pressure is off, in particular now that he is starting to show some things? Since the game ended I have been trying to determine why Hoffa didn't get off the bench. Against the Suns I understand, but the Bobcats? I cannot figure this out.

Maybe the writing is on the wall. Maybe no matter what Hoffa does his ticket has been punched and he is headed out of town, regardless the return. If that's the case then why has he been played at all? I think the most painful thing for Raptors' fans would be to see him shine in a few games, then ship him out, and then see him develop into a contributor somewhere else. No, he has not been a game changer on the court lately but his improved play has been noteworthy.

Remember when Babcock said that bigs take longer to develop? He said three years. Well we all know that Woods has maxed out talent wise and may be lucky to find another team next year, but we don't really know what Hoffa could become. Is a guy who could average 6 points and 6 boards a bad guy to have on the team? Is a big who can hit a nice 12-15 footer and could still develop into a reasonable rebounder a bad asset?

Obviously I have a ton of questions about this situation and I welcome all theories on why we are seeing Loren Woods grab minutes while one of our most recent investments is left wondering what his role is on this team, if any. I don't get it. Sam explain this!

The game itself today barely deserves a recap of any sort. The bad turnovers killed us and frankly the Raps just got beat - and they were beaten by a team with less skill I might add. It is not that the Bobcats don't have talented players, the 1-2 backcourt punch of Felton and Knight was surprisingly solid and both had over 10 assists, but the Raptors simply should have won this game.

This game was one most will have already forgotten, and in hindsight paying $55 per ticket was probably $54.75 too much. It also made what is supposed to be a day or rest, more of a day of confusion. In the last few weeks of the season I really hope some answers start to appear, of course even if they don't we, as Toronto Raptor fans, are not far off from the summer of Colangelo, and that is when the real answers will probably come.

HOWLAND