We can overlook the fact that the Bobcats took us down to the final minute with no Jason Richardson. We can overlook the fact that Gerald Wallace seemed to be unstoppable for the first half of the game. We can even overlook the fact that Emeka Okafor seemed to be able to get any offensive board he wanted and kept the game close pretty much by himself in the fourth quarter.
What we can’t overlook is the fantastic game Chris Bosh played with 39 points and 11 rebounds and 1 steal and 2 blocked shots for his 8th double double of the season. We can’t overlook Andrea Bargnani who played alright on offense though he did have an off night with only 11 points, but with 9 rebounds and 3 blocks, he played a defense that Sam would love to see every night getting in guys faces and causing the Bobcats fits with his arms in the passing lane all night long. We can’t overlook the much maligned Joey Graham and his 17 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench and his much needed energy boost on defense as he pretty much shut Gerald Wallace down in the second half holding him to 6 points in the half. We can’t overlook the solid play of Roko Ukic off the bench in relief of a still hurting Jose Calderon. In 7 minutes Roko gave us 2 points, 3 assists including a sweet behind the back to Bosh on a break and 1 rebound. The biggest thing for Roko was 0 turnovers! He was much more comfortable out there and seemed to be in a much better flow which bodes well for the Raptors down the road. Jose had a bit of an off night on offense, but he held his own defensively which is more than we could ask for as he scored 10 points and added 3 rebounds and 9 assists and 2 turnovers. He is currently 2nd in the league behind Chris Paul in assists per game!
A couple of thoughts that I was pondering last night after the game might provide some more things we can’t overlook, I know from my perspective last nights game offered a good window into this team and the chemistry it carries.
Will Solomon sat on the bench and I suspect his chance to prove himself could be on the downside. An NBA team should be able to control the ball and last night we had 8 turnovers in the first half but only 4 in the second. That kind of ball control allowed us to hold the Bobcats off down the stretch as they committed 14 turnovers. It may sound petty, but in a 6 point game, 2 turnovers could be as much as a 12 point swing either way. Until Solomon can get on the same page and control the ball, I see a lot more minutes for Roko.
Anthony Parker last night was unable to find a jump shot, but was able to grab 5 rebounds and 5 assists and 3 steals as he chased and harassed D.J. Augustin and Raymond Felton all night long. Some nights when his shot is off, he has tended to disappear. It was good to see him add some good support defense while his shot was missing.
Jamario Moon and Kris Humphries both had bad games, but the problem is, Kris will recover and does know what is expected from him when he is in the game. His shot was a bit forced last night as he felt the need to provide Bosh some help. He stuck his nose in the paint and just didn’t have the shots fall. 2 rebounds and a block give us some solid results in 16 minutes. Sure we would have loved 10 points and 5 rebounds, but on a night when no one seemed to be able to score, he was able to give some much needed rest to both Andrea and Chris with Jermaine O’Neal on the mend. Jamario is another issue altogether. Last night we have an example of how little he understands what he can provide this team. 3 points, 1 assist and 0 rebounds. He was guarding Wallace as he went off for 17 in the first half. Jamario needs to get back to his defense and his rebounding game as he has very little confidence on the offensive end at this point and putting Joey on the floor saved the game for the Raptors.
I think Jason Kapono’s season was displayed on the first possession of the second half when he got the ball with a clear shot and did his now famous pump-fake-travelling show and turnover. He needs to shoot the ball and again last night he couldn’t or wouldn’t.
On a night when Chris Bosh displays his heart and his will to win, this team took until the second half to respond and support him with Joey Graham leading the way. 22 assists is not bad, but ball movement was a bit of an issue last night as we stagnated a bit in the 3rd quarter again. Over all, a much needed win for the team and with the Hawks and the Lakers up next, we needed a boost and got it.