Used up all my good stuff earlier today. It is game 2 for Jackaron at the point guard spot. A.I is also a go as he was a game time decision. Raps are the better team and they need to play like it tonight. Starting to feel a little confidence in this team and not as worried about games like this one. Will I regret that by the end of this game. Will see but it is time to find out.
Sixers win the tap and Sam Dalembert hits a fading jumper? Leo loves it? He is as mentioned earlier today in the blog coming off a 20 point and 20 rebound night. Sixers had a chance to extend that lead but a couple turnovers and they fail to do so. Raptors finally would get on track with a Hedo jumper. Barngnani would drive and miss an easy lay-up no worries CB4 with the tap back for 2. A.I the hook up for his man Sam D and Raptors lead 6-4 over Sam D. Young would tie it up at 6's for the Sixers.A.I the basket and the foul meanwhile Andrea was unhappy with a bad call and gets teched up. That foul call on Andrea as well and it was 10-6 Philly and a sluggish start for the Raptors.
Andrea fired up by getting Teched up and drives and jams that is some good Andrea. A.I showing why he is the all-time leading scorer against Toronto in his career the jumper goes and it was 12-8 Sixers.This was vintage A.I early as he was at the line again with 6 early in this one. Andre Iguodala with the bucket and Sixers doubling the Raps 16-8. Bosh a sloppy start as well with 3 turnovers. But gets fouled makes a pair at the line looking to get on track. This was not looking good as Lou Williams hit a 3 pointer and it was 21-13. Andrea would draw second foul on on Sam Dalembert maybe that will help. Dalembert remains in the game though. Iverson uses a pick and leaves Demar in the dust but the rookie answers on the other end with a score. Raptors were having one of there worst quarters in quite some time. Actually that 4th quarter vs Orlando wasn't good and this has been a continuation of that. Philly getting lots of transition scoring and have a 30-21 lead. Sixers would keep the 9 point edge leading 32-23 after 1. Sixers shooting 60% and this game needed a major attitude adjustment on behalf of the Raptors.
Raps started the second still not looking great with Calderon at the controls at the point. But just as I type it Jose hooks up Amir Johnson on an alley opp for a very nice dunk. Another score in transition as Weems hooks up Marco for 2..Sixers still on top 34-27. Sixers would push back strong and build a 39-27 lead. Raps respond with back to back baskets. The improved defense was not looking very improved at the moment. Philly has dropped 8 of their last 9 at home and Raptors need to pick it up a lot to make it 9 of 10.
Raps were starting to get it in gear finally. Jose Calderon would draw a foul and cut the lead to 4 at 39-35. Calderon another aggressive take to the hoop after an Iggy basket. Andre Iguodala always seems to come up big against Raps and off to a good start tonight. Philly pushed lead back to 8 make it 10 as Iggy hit another jumper. This was an ugly effort and Chris Bosh who was not great in the Orlando win was again far from great tonight in the first half. This is only the 4 game in Division for the Raptors on the year and you have to get these games. Jack forced to shoot and he makes it to cut Sixers lead to single digits. Young and DeRozan trade baskets. DeRozan would get blocked by Willie Green the next time down the floor. Bosh would take it at the Dalembert drawing his 3rd foul. Should also be noted Elton Brand was no where to be found and had not played in this one. The foul call would get changed to Iggy. Bosh would just hit 1 of 2. Chris was actually leading the team with 9 point and he had 7 boards but he just was not being the big factor he normally can be. Raptors had trimmed the lead down to 7. A.I would make it 9 with a jumper. Then Bosh a slam and a big slam. Jack a jumper in transition and Toronto had an 8-0 and they needed it. Sixers lead was 54-49. Sixers would answer another Raptor push and before you could blink the once 5 point lead was 11 at the half. Raptors having on of those nights like earlier in the season down 60-49 at the half.
Raptors were as flat as a pancake in that first half. Best way to describe it. Bosh hitting a jumper to start the 2nd half. A turnover for the Sixers and let's hope the Raptors can recover. Sixers in their last game did blow an 18 point lead to the Wizards. Bargnani with a turnover and Lou Williams eas bucket in transition. A Jack score and then an easy look for Lou Williams and the Raps just looked brutal on the defensive end. Bosh another careless turnover it might not have been a perfect pass from Demar but come on. Jack would hit a 3 ball after an easy transition basket off the Bosh turnover. Bargnani would make it back to back 3's the lead was 66-59.Terrible D in Transition as Lou Williams was left all alone for 3 and he nails it.
Bosh the basket plus the foul the 3rd now on Dalembert. Iverson taking advantage of rookie DeRozan and taking a shot and making it. Iverson would get tagged for the foul and send DD to the line and he made a pair for 10 in the game. It was fortunate for the Raptors that Sixers were even sloppier (Is that a word?) than them on offense. A silly turnover would lead to a break for the Raptors that eventually Bargnani would finish off cutting the lead to 6. Eddie Jordan had seen enough and called a time out. Again the Raptors get to a point and the Sixers push back and extend the lead to 9 with the score 79-70. Sixers were getting there type of game with a scattered style of play. Raptors were behind 81-74. Raptors were showing some fight and a hook in the land had cut the lead to just 3. A Sonny Weems jumper and the score was 81-80 Sixers with Raps on an 8-0 run. Marco Belinelli would hit a 3 ball with Raps down 3 and were tied. Sixers would get a long 2 pointer to take lead into the 4th at 85-83.
It has not been a pretty night for the Raps. But if they could win the 4th Quarter they will win this game. Jose Calderon a drive and score and game is tied again at 85. Now Bargnani for 3 and ladies and gentleman the Raptors have the lead first time since 6-4 back in first with score 88-85. Raptors Defense had woken up and Raps had a 90-85 lead. Thaddeus Young with a couple key baskets keeping the Sixers in it. Sixers were fighting back and A.I would tie it at 93. Andrea Bargnani was coming up big tonight and he would give the Raptors the lead back. He had 21 points which was great but his overall effort was even better.
5:20 to go and Raptors were in a dogfight in Philly and Micheal Vick was no where to be seen. Lou Williams the blow by on Calderon and that hurt. Jack and Calderon on the floor with Bosh Bargnani and Hedo. Speaking of Hedo a huge 3 ball in the corner and he nails it. Bosh draws a foul on Dalembert and that was 5 and he would take a seat. Bosh made both and the lead was 100-97. Again Lou Williams is left open and makes the Raps pay ties it up at a C-Note!!! Bosh again fouled and at the line and again a perfect 2 for 2. Calderon get abused by Lou Williams and we were tied at 102. Raptors would get the Killer B's hooking up with Bargnani on the finish. Bosh was fouled and missed the first that hurts as he had a chance to make it a 2 possession game. He made the second and the Raptors lead by 3 with 1:13 to play. Once again Lou Williams was abusing Jose Calderon this was beyond brutal on the defensive end. Raps despite that were hanging on to a lead. Calderon would fumble a bullet pass from Bosh but Bargnani bails both out with a block on D. But the Sixers would eventually score and take the lead 106-105. Raptors had the ball with 19 seconds left. Raps would but it in Bosh's hands and he would deliver with the basket and a foul the 6th and Dalembert. Bosh would make the and 1 free throw and the lead was 2. Sixers would be disorganized and have to go for a desperate heavy from Lou Williams but no....RAPS SURVIVE and GET THE HECK OUT OF DODGE a game above over .500.
Was not pretty and a lot can be learned from this one. However Calderon getting abused at the end of the game and the total lack of energy in the first half would not cost the Raptors. Bosh had 29 and a much better 2nd half than his first. Bargnani sold all night long with 23. Raptors are 19-18 and tied with Miami in the 5 hole in the East.
I am going to be hitting the airwaves in the MTL at 12:15 on Off The Bench feel free to tune in via the net at CJLO.com