-Fans of the Toronto Raptors have seen this movie before. In fact, they saw it Monday afternoon. For the second straight game, the Raps fought to the finish against a very good basketball club, only to be let down by team rebounding and shooting. In this one, the result was a 104 to 95 win by the San Antonio Spurs in a game they trailed at the half. However the club turned it on in the second portion, swarming the Raptors on D and continuing their bruising play inside en route to the W.
-From a Raptors' perspective, the first obvious point of discussion is Andrea Bargnani. Again tonight he struggled from the field (6 of 20) and was worked over on the glass, yet played 36 minutes while Toronto's resident banger, Joey Dorsey, got exactly one minute.
-Did the Dinos need Dorsey? Well, considering his near-double, DeJuan Blair, had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the Spurs outrebounded the Raptors 49 to 38 on the night, you could say that. And again looking at the box score, that was the main difference in this one, as the Raps played the Spurs to pretty much a draw in every other category.
-Besides Blair, the Spurs were led by Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, who combined for 40 points, 12 assists and 9 rebounds on the night. For the Raps, DeMar DeRozan didn't have the most efficient shooting night, but finished with 28 points to lead the team. Ed Davis also had another solid outing with 11 rebounds, and Jose Calderon kept his steady pace going with 14 points and 8 assists.
-This game, besides being another point of frustration for Andrea Bargnani critics, was a good example though of how good teams win games. The Raptors actually led this one by 11 at the half thanks to some solid D, limiting the Spurs to only 35 per cent shooting. However in the second half, the Spurs locked in on DeMar DeRozan (he only had 8 of his 28 points in the second portion), forced Andrea Bargnani into long J's, and wratched up the offense behind Tony Parker's forays to the hoop. The result was 63 per cent shooting for the Spurs, a 33 point quarter, and that was all she wrote.
ADDENDUM - One positive note following tonight's loss. DeMar DeRozan has been named to replace the injured Brandon Jennings in this year's NBA All-Star Weekend, Slam Dunk Contest. This will give DD another crack at the title, one that he had within sight last year thanks to some horrid competition from the likes of Gerald Wallace and Shannon Brown.