12/16/10

Raptors Go On A Boozer At ACC

It was Andrea Bargnani Bobble Head Night with no Andrea Bargnani. Late word the Andrea Bargnani would not play do to an issue with his left knee. Add this to the mystery foot injury of Jose Calderon that has caused him to miss the last 3 games make it 4 games. Along with Reggie Evans still recovering from his foot surgery and Peja has knee swelling that may well not end till his contract expires. The Raptors instead of having 14 bodies to choose from, Raps were down 2 from what they can dress with just 10 healthy bodies. While Rose and Noah who were said to be game time decisions both decided to play. Add in the fact the Raptors played last night while the Bulls watch from their hotel rooms in Toronto. Chicago coming into Toronto on a big win streak looking to win their 7th in a row and the Raptors coming off a terrible effort in North Carolina. The deck was sure stacked against the Raptors starting a 4 game Pre-Christmas home stand.

I ended up doing this game for The Score so if you would like a blow by blow account at it happened please go check out that Live Blog post facto. I for the terms of the blog will just offer some post game thoughts on this one.

First and foremost I am not going to beat up on the Raptors for tonight. Clearly they were up against it, and a loss like the one in Charlotte angers me far more than anything that happen at the ACC on this evening. Even a full healthy Raptors squad were going to be hard pressed to beat a Bulls team that has been red hot. To rip apart the Raptors would be far from fair in my opinion.

The under manned Raptor but up a game fight at least in the first quarter. That being said they had no answer for Carlos Boozer and that would be an on going theme throughout the evening. Amir Johnson would get 2 quick fouls in this one and that left Ed Davis and Joey Dorsey to fend for themselves with an already under manned front court. I have to say that Ed Davis has really surprised me so far. I never expected him to be this good with all the time he has missed in the last year of his basketball career. Half a college season, all of training camp and all of the pre-season. He sticks to what he is good at and tries to do that well. His first NBA start produced at double double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Jerryd Bayless has been picking up his scoring with out Jose Calderon but he was committing turnovers and not making the number of assists you would expect from your starting point guard. Leandro Barbosa has been doing a good job of adding points coming off the pine. He and Bayless have been playing well together.

The Raptors have never had much success against the Utah Jazz and the Bulls have added 3 players from that Jazz squad in Boozer, Korver and Brewer. All three of them contributed to varying degrees to this win tonight for the Bulls. Boozer just could not be stopped in basically 3 quarters of work he had 34 points 12 rebounds and 2 steals and block. Raptors just had no one that could check him all night long.

Sonny Weems and Demar DeRozan continued to struggle they were a combined 7-22 from field with just 19 points. They also have been struggling on the other end of the floor. While many are calling for their heads, to me it will only be a last resort to see them removed from the starting line-up. While Barbosa likely deserves to start in front of DeRozan he is perhaps the only spark the Raptors have coming of the bench in terms of scoring. Linas Klezia has done nothing to show he is any better than Weems at this point. While I share the frustration of Weems and DeRozan they are suppose to be part of your future and you have to let them grow and develop. If this was not a rebuilding year I would have a different opinion. However, the Raptors have always been saying this is a development year and if that is the case you need to let that happen. I am more confident they will figure things out on the offence and have a greater concern with their defence at this point.

Among the small positives in this one was Joey Dorsey seeing more time and cashing in with 12 points 13 rebounds and a couple blocks. The one thing that I failed to understand was given this game was basically done after 3 quarters is why we did not see Solomon Alabi with the game pretty much decided. If you are not going to play him on a night like this one, when exactly would you do it. Alabi spent some time in the D-League and did ok in his time there. It puzzles me why he never saw 1 second of floor time.

The Raptors made this score closer than what it really was as the Bulls were up 29 and played reserves in the 4th and they did not do well. It ended up a 110-93 victory for the Bulls. Raptors will hope to get healthy for Friday as they will be taking on the Nets. If they do not get healthy they will still be challenged to get a win vs New Jersey. Raptors are really at a point where they could fall of the map unless they turn things around and are able to get a couple wins before Christmas.

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