It was another game where the Raptors had spurts of production, but they just couldn't pull it all together. The Bobcats essentially steam rolled the Raptors and without any defense, there was little chance for the Raptors to make a game of it.
So how about that next game?
The Bulls come into town and bring with them the present of a newly acquired swing man. James Johnson will be suiting up against his for former team tomorrow, and he'll be an interesting fit to the Raptors' needs. For one, he's being advertised as ---
Oh wait. There's still the game that the Raptors played yesterday.
Ah yes, the game.
Well, it all started out well.
The Raptors kept it nice and tight with a lot of aggressive play which went to the basket. Sonny Weems, Andrea Bargnani, DeMar DeRozan, and just about anyone who played went after the Bobcats hard. In fact, even though the Raptors found themselves down by six, there was a feeling that the game could have gone well in hand. It was a good start and there was hope.
That all came unraveled in the second quarter.
If there was ever going to be an anti-highlight reel for Jerryd Bayless, the second quarter of last night's game would probably fill it. Showing none of the control that he had shown flashes of, Bayless turned the ball over, made bad play after bad play, lost his man on defense and completely killed whatever momentum the Raptors had going into the second quarter.
Toss in some poor jobs defending Charlotte picks, and while the Raptors had a few difficulties in the second quarter, the Bobcats had none of them. By the half time, it 61-44 and the book had been closed on the game.
While it's true the Raptors had to fight a constant free throw discrepancy thanks to their diminishing aggressiveness and a little run in the fourth quarter thanks to a stretch of a few minutes of defense, the Raptors never really threatened the Bobcats for the rest of the game. Gerald Wallace, Gerald Henderson, and D.J. Augustin kept the pace up after Stephen Jackson went down with an injury to his hamstring in the third quarter.
I will say though, that Ed Davis continues to impress with some powerful moves to the basket and lane intimidation and if DeMar DeRozan figures out how to channel his Dunk Contest frustrations better to take over a game, then DeRozan would be taking a huge next step towards being the primary scoring options. The surprise of the night has to be shared by Alexis Ajinca and Sonny Weems for both doing a little more than what was expected.
Looking at tonight's game, the Raptors will be facing off against the Chicago Bulls as they seek to reintegrate Joakim Noah into the mix. With the Raptors getting a shiny new toy in the form of James Johnson, there is some hope that the Raptors will finally find some of that grit that they've been missing since November. Professed as an inside-outside Small Forward/Power Forward, Johnson is a bulky addition who could potentially provide extra muscle to the Raptors who will be without Linas Kleiza for the rest of the year.
And all this by giving up a late first round pick in a very weak draft.
I don't expect James Johnson to have such a large impact in today's game considering how little time he'll have with the team. Against the Bulls' strong front court though, the Raptors will need all the help that they can get. A win today will have meant that the Raptors' own front court played above expectations, and we could certainly use a dose of Johnson and Johnson on our front court.
Rome wasn't built in a day.
At the very least though, it's showing that Bryan Colangelo is looking to stay young, get grittier, and that can only mean more good things to come.