Thursday, January 12, 2012

Raptors Rap; Jan 4 - 11

The past week in the Raptors schedule...

Game 6- vs Cavaliers (W 92-77 / 3-3 / streak W2) Wednesday January 4, 2012.

The Raptors got their third win of the season in their second clash with the lowly Cavaliers. This was to be Tristan Thompson's debut in his hometown, but the Brampton native finished with just one point. Bargnani finished with thirty-one points and seven rebounds, DeMar had twenty-five points and the Raptors keyed in from deep. Solid win for the Raptors.

Raptor Highlight of the Night; DeRozan throws it down

Game 7- vs Nets (L 97-85 / 3-4 / streak L1) Friday January 6, 2012.

The optimism of the previous two wins faded with this lop-sided affair against the New Jersey Nets. The Nets have struggled this season and Deron Williams has expressed his frustration and displeasure. Tonight however, Williams and the Nets looked like a much better team. Deron Williams was dominant and New Jersey's bench outscored the Raptors bench by a significant margin. Jose Calderon had a decent game recording nineteen points and eight assists.

Raptor Highlight of the Night; José throws the assist from the hardwood

Game 8- @ Philadelphia (L 97-62 / 3-5 / streak L2) Saturday January 7, 2012.

The Raptors once again underperformed, but this time against a slightly better team. The Doug Collins-led Sixers have broken through in the Eastern Conference as a young, deep team that is playoff-bound. They proved their place among the Eastern Conference's best by holding the Raptors to 62 points and forcing careless turnovers.

Raptor Highlight of the Night; Ed Davis and James Johnson combine on offense-defense

Game 9- vs TimberWolves (W 97-87 / 4-5 / streak W1) Monday January 9, 2012.

I attended this game in the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, and it was a great game to watch; the only Raptors win on the season not against Cleveland or an Amar'e-less Knicks squad.  Rubio, Love, Darko, Anthony Randolph, Luke Ridnour, and more were interesting players to watch. Kevin Love struggled scoring just thirteen points while grabbing fourteen rebounds. The key matchup was the Spanish point guard pair of José Calderon and Ricky Rubio. Rubio came out strong and flashy dishing three no-look passes as soon as he entered the game, but he struggled with his shot a bit as did the rest of the Wolves. Kevin Love shot 3-16 from the field and an abysmal 5-10 from the free-throw line, as he was bothered by the hounding defense of Amir and James Johnson. The Johnson-Johnson-Bargnani frontcourt gets a new nicname from me; "Bangers and Mash." José Calderon has also become "The Mad Scientist." The Raptors almost crumbled in the early fourth quarter once again giving up a 17-2 run to the Wolves, but some clutch shots by Bargnani and Calderon sealed the game. DeMar DeRozan struggled and almost got a breakaway highlight dunk but he was wrapped up by Luke Ridnour. Andrea Bargnani led this game for the Raptors with a thirty-one point, nine rebound effort, but it was the energy and defense of Amir Johnson that subdued Kevin Love and promoted the defense that the team needed.

Raptor Highlight of the Night; Calderon half-court oop to Amir Johnson

Game 10- @ Washington (L 93-78 / 4-6 / streak L1) Tuesday January 10, 2012.

The Raptors seemed tired after traveling to Washington to play the second game of a back-to-back, as the Wizards picked up their first win of the season against a Raptors team that struggled all game long. The Raptors had seemed so promising the past couple of games that people were jumping back on the bandwagon and saying a compact season would benefit the youthful Raptors, but the lack of depth was evident in this loss. DeRozan has been struggling of late, and scored just eleven points on 4-16 shooting. Bargnani scored twenty-two points but finished with just two rebounds. Hopefully this loss knocked some sense into the Raptors, and it was about time the Wizards got a win.

Raptor Highlight of the Night; Bargnani sweeping reverse lay-up

Game 11- vs Kings (L 98-91 / 4-7 / streak L2) Wednesday January 11, 2012.

The final game of the Raptors only back-to-back-to-back was home at the ACC and they came up just short against Demarcus Cousins and the Kings. Demarcus Cousins absolutely dominated with twenty-one points and nineteen rebounds, while Evans wreaked havoc on the Raptors defense scoring twenty-nine points of his own including 14-14 from the free-throw line. Bargnani struggled to 2-13 shooting and just ten points before leaving the game with a strained calf. Leandro Barbosa scored a team-high twenty-four points, but couldn't carry the Raptors to the win. The Raps get a day off before playing consecutive games on Friday and Saturday, capping off a stretch of seven games in nine days.

Raptor Highlight of the Night; Amir Johnson hits a three-pointer, just the third of his career

The Week Ahead

Friday, Jan 13 - vs Indiana Pacers. 7pm

Saturday, Jan 14 - @ Chicago Bulls. 8pm

Monday, Jan 16 - @ Atlanta Hawks. 4pm (MLK Day)

*next Raptor Rap tuesday*

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