Wednesday, October 28, 2009
View from Above the Tunnel: Game 1
I must say tonight was unexpected.
Well, I'll be the first to admit that I was totally expecting a double
digit blowout loss to the Cavs tonight. The Raps completely surprised
me on multiple fronts.
1) Andrea scoring 21 in the first half, and was well on his way to 30 plus if the refs had not nailed him with multiple dubious fouls on the "Big Fossil". His willingness to attack the rim, and taking full advantage of his mid range shot was very Dirk-esque. I was very impressed by Andrea's work on Shaq as well. He gave up a lot of bulk, but he was still able to control Shaq without much double team help. If Bargnani plays like this every night, I'll elated.
2) Relatively solid FG% defense, and they protected the paint fairly well. The Cavs got hot from behind the arc in their 3rd quarter run, but overall they were able to do a good enough job on LeBron to keep him from penetrating at will, and setting up the Cleveland shooters. Let's hope that the Raps will keep working hard on the defensive end, and keep this up.
3) They DIDN'T FOLD when the cavs made their run. I was totally expecting the Raps to pack it in when the Cavs got it to 69-69. Instead they go on a 21-6 run. What the hell? Who are these guys? That run after the Cavs tied it up was HUGE. I had mentioned to a friend the other night that the Raps big problem the last couple of years was their inability to bust a game open with a big run. I think a big reason for that was the horrific defense, but I think another major component was the fact that none of the Raps really seized the moment. Hedo (more on this below) and Jarret Jack definitely stepped up and attacked the basket to extend the runs offensively, Wright was excellent on the perimeter defense, and Bosh hedged every pick and roll extremely well and hovered up every defensive board he could get his hands on.
4) I didn't think Hedo did much, but he hit some very big shots down the stretch. His left handed layup to get the Raps back to an 8 pt lead was huge. I definitely thought the Raps were still in the danger zone, but Hedo settled the team down with that bucket. I think this might be indicative of what we will see out of Hedo this year. Not
huge numbers, but when the game is on the line, he will know what to do with the ball.
5) Bosh took his game down on the low block tonight, which was vital to the Raps victory. In fact, the Cavs made their run right when Bosh decided to be a jump shooter again. I don't think CB4 can keep this up because his body will breakdown, but if he does, the Raps are legit.
6) I am TBD on Antonie Wright, but there is definitely man crush potential.
So its game 1 of 82, so I am going to keep it all in perspective, but I think the Raps definitely showed me something tonight, especially when I fully expected the King to spank them coming off his loss to Boston. I think the key for the Raptors is to build on this win by keeping up their intensity. Friday is a big night, the Griz are terrible, the Raps need to come out and rip their hearts out in the first half.