If you didn't stay up and watch last night's game the score doesn't tell the story...at all. Once trailing by 22 points in the first half the Raptors clawed their way back and grabbed a 104-89 win.
It was a historical comeback. It also left the Clippers fans completely at a loss and they booed their team off the court.
Well talk about a strange game.
The first half? All Cippers and it wasn't pretty.
The first quarter of last night's game was arguably the worst quarter of Raptors basketball this season. Any momentum created against the Bulls in the last game was quick extinguished as the Clippers, or rather Baron Davis and Chris Kaman, took it to the Raps early.
It was a spectacular showing in both how not to start a game and how not to play defense. Jose Calderon was getting abused by Davis, Kaman was killing Bargnani on the blocks and DeRozan was simply trying far too hard in his homecoming. By the time the first quarter was done the Clippers had shot 75% from the floor and it looked like they were well on their way to an easy win.
In the second quarter the Raps managed to right the ship thanks to their bench. In fact, I would credit this win to the Raptors bench and two guys in particular - Marco Belinelli and Amir Johnson.
Having watched the Raps starters get abused early both Belinelli and Johnson came into the game and made positive contributions. Johnson came into the game and started to pound on the glass and did some much needed dirty work around the rim while Marco simply started firing from everywhere and making some big shots.
The play of the bench seemed to spark the starters and when the second half rolled around the Raptors looked like a completely different squad.
In the second half the tables were completely turned. Rather than being abused by Davis and his quicks Jose Calderon stole the show in the third quarter where he showed off his full offensive arsenal. Calderon was nailing his jumper, getting to the rim and working the pick-and-roll game to near perfection. Any time a defender went under the screen Calderon made them pay.
In the second half the lights went on for Andrea as well. After a brutal first half where he didn't grab a single rebound and for the most part was invisible, he started to get into a nice offensive groove late and hit a couple big shots down the stretch.
As well as Jose and Andrea played in the second half, CB4 was once again an unstoppable force. His line from last night's was just sensational going for 21-14-6. He also got to the line 8 times. This has been a brilliant start to the season for CB4 and if he manages to keep this up for the majority of the season he will have established himself as the elite PF in the game. He is simply attacking the rim relentlessly and he has improved his offensive game. He is not settling for jumpers, not hesitating before making his move and getting to the line a crazy amount.
Once the Raps starters got into the game the Clippers really didn't have an answer and in the fourth quarter they completely imploded. In fact the only scored one more point in the entire second half then they scored in the first quarter. I simply can't imagine being a Clippers fan. I would have thrown in the towel long ago.
A win is a win, but I can't help but wonder what we can take from this victory. Two games in a row the Raps have started very slowly and have had to claw their way back into a game. Tonight was even worse than the Chicago game as they had to come back from a 22 point deficit.
Is this a character building win or is this simply the result of playing a team like the Clippers? Can the Raps build off these two wins, or is the team breathing a collective sigh of relief that they didn't blow a winnable game?
No matter what, the Raptors have to learn a few lessons from the past few games. Obviously they have to start games better. Falling behind like they did last will undoubtedly lead to more losses than wins. Most teams wouldn't have given up such a sizable lead. Second, this team somehow has to find a consistent energy level on the defensive end. Good offense can sometimes go cold, but goof defense is something that can always be there. Right now the team is unbelievably inconsistent on the defensive end.
The past two games have been entertaining to watch but I'm far from comfortable with how this team has played. Come back wins are always exciting but let's just hope they don't make a habit of it.