Even before news came out that the Raptors would be without their franchise player for at least one more game with the flu, losing this game was simple going to be unacceptable.
The guys who did suit-up ensured a loss wasn't in the cards.
Last night was not about how the Raptors were going to win so much as it was simply about the Raptors getting the W.
Despite all reports that the Raptors were going to have Chris Bosh back in the line-up to face the Knicks, he was once again a no-go but this time out with the flu.
As a result, the Raps once again needed guys step up. Unlike the games in Houston and OKC however, guys actually did elevate their games.
Example No. 1?
Try Sonny Weems.
Weems had a career night last night with 20 points and 9 rebounds and he provided a huge boost off the bench. He played in control, attacked the rim and just had a swagger in his game. Weems was not only hitting his jumper but he was all over the glass and getting it done defensively. He player better than anyone could have expected. It was this kind of performance the Raps had to have tonight.
It was not just Weems that stepped-up however. Amir Johnson, who was inserted into the starting line-up, also had an impressive game. Amir played a ton of minutes, stayed out of foul trouble and gave the Raps was just a couple of rebounds shy of a double-double.
You think the Bucks would like to reconsider the trade that brought both of these guys to TO?
For the most part it was your usual bench guys that helped secure the win tonight. Antoine Wright was solid while Jose Calderon was just spectacular.
Jose was an unstoppable force on the court tonight getting 8 of his 16 points on drives while dishing out 6 assists. He absolutely abused Sergio Rodriguez whose defense is completely non-existant. It must have been odd for Jose to feel like he was being defended by is twin.
It's a good thing that the bench boys stepped up because the players you would most expect to elevate their games didn't. Hedo Turkoglu put forth an average performance while Andrea Bargnani really struggled.
It's hard to know what conclusion can be drawn from Andrea's performances as of late. Since Bosh has been out he has actually regressed. His shot selection tonight was horrific and outside of one major block he was simply a non-factor in this game.
This is not only a little surprising but also very concerning. Why isn't Andrea elevating his game? Why are other players filling the void left by Bosh while Bargnani seems to be shying away from being the number one option?
I have to say I don't have any answers to these questions.
It is not a simple matter of Andrea not getting the opportunities - he took 15 shots last night. He just looks uncomfortable out there. Dare I say his ability to get his game off is dependent on the presence of CB4? It looks that way at this point.
It's really too bad the Raps couldn't get the kind of effort we saw last night in every game where Bosh was missing. Nonetheless the Raps did get the required effort to secure this win.
They have to get one more this Sunday against the 76ers.