After a nice win over former teammate TJ Ford and the Pacers, the Raps got absolutely drilled in Charlotte tonight. Maybe it was the fact we were on the second night of a back to back, maybe it was because the Raps were depressed over Iversons retirement, or maybe the Bobcats just ran circles around the Raps all night long. There is something about Charlotte losses that sting. Last year the Raps were trying to put something together in the second half of the season, went into Charlotte and lost a big one, ending their playoff dreams…this one might be significant too. The Raps were looking like they might emerge from a tough opening 20 games with their spirits intact…but this one sets them back a bit.
The Zan for Three
Every year someone, somewhere, puts out a Gerald Wallace to the Raptors trade rumour. The guy has been rumoured to be a Raptor so many times it’s not even funny. Doesn’t sound so crazy after a game like this does it? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he beats the hell out of us every time we play him, but he certainly makes himself look good playing against the Raps. He made shots, got rebounds, drove the lane and took advantage of the defense. Definitely a game changer.
Sending a Message
Down 19pts in the thrid quarter, with loads of time on the clock, Jay Triano pulled his starters and put in Pops Mensah Bonsu and Sonny Weems. This was not a matchup issue, nor do I believe it was throwing in the white towel, but rather a message to his starters. Jose, Bosh and Hedo had terrible games, and Bargs wasn’t great either. Jay isn’t going to stroke his starters and make them feel at ease if they’re playing terrible. And although some of his rotation was questionable tonight at times, I liked this decision. Kick these guys in the ass! They have to bring it in games like this and fight through the fatigue. If the Raptors are going to get to the playoffs (and the thinking is they should) they need to show some physical and mental toughness. Tyson Chandler abused them on the boards and Wallace scored at will. Get tough, or don’t play!
There really isn’t much else to say about this game…it blows to lose like that to anyone let alone the Bobcats. We should take some time here to give a big shout out to one of the Raptors all-time nemeses. Iverson has been kind of a train wreck the last couple of years, but he put up some amazing clinics in scoring over the years. Who can forget his dual with Vince in the second round of the playoffs in 2001? Just incredible. Or his message to young athletes everywhere about the merits of practice? The guy was a player you loved to hate. I have a feeling we have not seen the last of him, but if this is the end, then we wish him nothing but the best.
Zan of the Game
There wasn’t a single Raptor worthy of the award tonight so Gerald Wallace gets it for having another huge game against a team he must lick his chops before facing everytime he plays them.
Not Zan of the Game
The Raptors Starting Five
Tonight they were tired. They did just have a crazy stretch of road games and it was the second night of a back to back…but we needed this one. We really did. Fight through it and man up! Hopefully they got the message loud and clear and will bring it next game. It’s either that or Jay is going to lose it on awhole lot more clipboards.
And Another Thing…
Nice to see Dell Curry in the crowd. I miss that guy and his clutch shooting. Just good to see him, that’s all.