A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
A Record Setting Beatdown
TORONTO — Chris Bosh is back and even though the Miami Heat played their “D” string, the blowout was still ridiculous, for NBA level basketball. If the Raptors didn’t score after the first half, they still would have won the game by four points.
The 96-54 debacle started from the beginning of the game and then progressively got worse for the Heat as the game continued. “The worse that it got, the more heart we lost,” said Pat Riley, the Heat’s head coach.
Lately, the Raptors have also known what it feels like to lose. They just came off a five game road trip in the west and they lost all five games. Granted they did not have Bosh, but Toronto is a better team than that and a few of those games were winnable.
That is why this win should be all the more sweet; especially since Miami’s 54 points is the lowest by any Raptor opponent ever. “It’s always good to get a win I think we needed this win just to ease the atmosphere,” said T.J. Ford.
Ease the atmosphere is right, the Toronto fans were visibly happy to have Bosh back. His presence seemed to be inspiring for the other guys because they played with lots of energy and much focus from the beginning of the game.
In the first quarter, Andrea Bargnani, drove to the basket four times and was successful in either scoring or drawing the foul. He had nine at the end of the quarter.
With or without Bosh it is hard to gage where the Raps are after a game like this. The Heat roster is plagued with injury and everyone expected the Raptors to win. Where do the Dinos adjust their game now?
“Tonight I was really happy with the effort we played, [be] cause it’s easy when you don’t see all-stars across from you to kind of take a step back and relax,” said Anthony Parker.
“The challenge is to go out there and play the way you would play against Dwyane Wade or J. Will., or any of those guys so I was happy tonight.”
Every game the Raptors play from now on is very important because they are trying to clinch a favorable play-off position. Ideally, to have a longer stay in the post season, it would be beneficial for the Raps to be able to play a team like Orlando or Washington in the first round.
They match up well with these teams and have had some success with them throughout the season. Right now it looks like the Dinos might be battling the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round. That could be bad news for the Raptors. The two teams have met three times this season and Cleveland leads the series 2-1. The one win LeBron James was out with an injury.
The Raptors have to continue to look at what they are doing on the court and understand each other’s roles. Chris Bosh only played 22 minutes in the game and ended the night with eight points, eight rebounds and was 100 percent at the charity line. So it wasn’t a big night for CB4 but he came into the game with a greater understanding of what stimulates his team.
“I think it’s a boost for us, having those guys having to play in different situations and go out there and having to make plays themselves not relying on me sometimes is good for the team,” said Bosh referring to the 10 games he missed. “It teaches how to play without me so the bench is going to play better and guys are going to step up their game as the season continues.”
With just a handful of games left in the season the Raptors have only a few opportunities to jockey for playoff position. Bosh’s birthday is on the 24th and getting back into the fray feeling 100 per-cent is probably the best gift he can get right now.
A NIGHT TO FORGET
In the Friday meeting with the Cavaliers, the Raptors lost 90-83, but played an excellent game. They moved the ball a lot and it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Cleveland was able to pull away courtesy of King James.
On that night, LeBron James became the highest scoring Cavalier of all time surpassing Brad Daugherty in the first quarter. In just his fifth NBA season, James has already moved to the top of Cleveland’s scoring chart, a remarkable achievement for a remarkable player whose potential seems limitless.
He scored 23 points in the second half, including 11 in the final 7:19 as the Cavaliers won their ninth straight at home.