The Raptors rose to the challenge last night as they beat a fiesty Sixers team that just wouldn’t go away. The Raptors battled back from being down most of the first half and came away with a huge victory. The team looks to finally be gelling and Triano is finding his rotation. Players were doing what they do best last night as Bosh and Bargnani went to the basket, took smart shots and came through in the clutch. This team is rolling right now and is finally looking like the team everyone was expecting at the beginning of the year.
The Zan for Three
Give me the Ball!
Triano said after the game that on the Raps final play “Chris Bosh demanded the ball”. What more do you want from the team’s best player? He demands the ball in a key situation, takes it to the rim (something he hasn’t always done), and scores the games winning basket on a three point play. It was sensational to watch because it is what all of us beleive Bosh can and should be doing. This is a star playing like a star, and willing his team to victory.
I know there was a lot of negative press about Jay Triano in the first chunk of the season and how he had trouble figuring out who should play and who should sit. Well, by jove, I think he’s got it. Jay Triano has been making excellent use of his bench the last 10 games or so and the Raptors are responding with big victories. Jay should get an award for best use of a Jose Calderon. He looks good coming off of the bench and, for the first time in ages, Jay is subbing him out in key defensive “Stop” situations and subbing him back in on offensive possessions. Triano has also managed to make the Jose/Jack situation work at the same time by allowing Hedo to control the ball at key times. Antoine Wright is also being used sparingly and wisely. Now he just needs to give Demar and Sonny a little more burn and we are ready to roll.
An Oldie but a Goodie
I’m not even going to pretend that Allen Iverson doesn’t look older, he has aged quite a bit in the last few years from a physical standpoint but last night it was the Allen Iverson circa 2001 out there against the Raps. He had some pretty epic one on one battles with Vince back then in the midst of breaking the hearts of Raptors fans. Last night he nearly did it again. Some tough perimeter defense at the end of the game from Wright and Jack stopped him from being the hero but it was good to see a flash of the old Iverson we all loved to hate.
Zan of the Night
The Twin Towers. Maybe it was because I was in grade 11 at the time but I was always a fan of naming the Raptors team the Towers back when the franchise had that phoney “name the team” contest. Raptors has worked well for us but Towers always seemed to make sense. Last night Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh were the Towers for Toronto. They took the ball to the rim, shot the ball with confidence and made clutch plays. Chris had the shot to win it and Bargnani had the block to save it earlier in the game. Chris is rounding into a supertar and Bargnani is beginning his annual second half tear. They are both on the top of their game right now and the Raps are better for it.
Not Zan of the Night
Don’t get me wrong the guy is playing well but he got beat in the last moments of the game by Bosh that erased his big putback dunk to take the lead on a earlier possession. Can’t Sammy just catch a break? He has been looking good of late but just couldn’t get the job done against the more dominant Bosh. The Sixers only gave him seven shots…..what is up with that!? Honorary mention goes to Andre Iguodala whose technical foul for doing a chin up after a dunk really looks silly at the end of a close game, doesn’t it?