Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Raptors Rap; Jan 18-24

Game 15- @ Boston (L 96-73 / 4-11 / streak L6) Wednesday January 18, 2012.

Aaron Gray's return didn't give the Raptors the surge they needed to pull out a win, but his return to the court was great to see. The Celtics got off to a hot start and led 29-14 after the first quarter behind the solid play of Rajon Rondo. Rondo, however, left the game after falling hard on his right wrist on a drive to the basket close to the end of the third quarter having scored 21 points. Bargnani remains on the sidelines for the Raptors and again they struggle to score, led by Gary Forbes who had 18 points.

Raptor Highlight of the Night; Ed Davis dunks on Jermaine O'Neal off the Amir assist
image from cbc.ca

Game 16- vs Trail Blazers (L 94-84 / 4-12 / streak L7) Friday January 20, 2012.

LaMarcus Aldridge was picked with the number two overall selection in the 2006 NBA draft, just after Raptors star Andrea Bargnani, but with Bargnani still out with a calf injury it was Aldridge's night to shine. The 6'11" potential all-star scored a season-high 33 points while grabbing a career-high 23 rebounds in the win. The Johnson-Johnson frontcourt could not stop LA, and the Blazers finished the game with a combined 15 offensive rebounds. James Johnson led the Raptors with 23 points and 6 rebounds and a highlight assist you can watch below.

Raptor Highlight of the Night; DeMar DeRozan finishes the James Johnson lob pass with an oop

Game 17- @ Los Angeles Clippers (L 103-91 / 4-13 / streak L8) Sunday January 22, 2012.

The first play of the game was a Blake Griffin alley-oop. Exciting, yes. What the Raptors needed, no. At least they got it out of the way early if it was inevitable. But this is just a microcosm of the Raptors struggles on defense. Surely Dwane Casey, one of the better defensive-minded NBA coaches, told his team what to watch out for, but it's about the team's ability to follow through and live up to their defensive mantra. Scoring has been an issue with Bargnani out, but the defense should be improving every game. Little things like this defensive breakdown show how far the Raptors really are from the upper echelon of NBA teams. Chauncey Billups and Mo Williams played well with Chris Paul out for the Clippers, who out-hustled the Raptors too with Blake sliding across the court for a loose ball in the first quarter. The Raptors had more fouls than points in the first quarter and finished with just 33 total points from their starting lineup.

Raptor Highlight of the Night; Linas Kleiza dunks all over Randy Foye

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, Jan 24 - @ Phoenix Suns. 9pm

Wednesday, Jan 25 - @ Utah Jazz. 9pm

Friday, Jan 27 - @ Denver Nuggets. 9pm

Sunday, Jan 29 - @ New Jersey Nets. 6pm

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