We did a live chat last night so I never did a re-cap of last night's game. Jeremy Lin was the star going in and he left that way, hitting a dagger three to complete the Knicks comeback. This season the Raptors have both battled back from some large holes and blown some large leads. Last night after one of their better first halves of the season they let it all get away from them in the 4th. Jose Calderon put together arguably his best to games back to back in his NBA career. At least from a scoring prospective. Lin who had his struggles in this game came alive in the 4th and started to find some chemistry with Amare Stoudemire, returning to the Knicks line-up after the death of his brother. Only the 2nd sellout crowd of the season at the ACC, many of whom came to see Linsanity, got to see what they paid for. The Raptors gave a good fight overall but let one slip away. Lin's 3 pointer left the Raptors just .5 seconds to respond and they could not, 90-87 Knicks and the Raptors face a back to back with the Spurs tonight.
San Antonio with little hype and fanfare has quietly made their way to 2nd in the Western Conference at 20-9. They are on their annual Rodeo Road Trip with Toronto being stop 5 of the 9 games away from home for the Spurs. They are a perfect 4-0 so far with the latest win coming at the hands of the Pistons. After an injury early in the season Manu is back and Spurs seem primed to make a push at getting first place in the West.
Canadian Cory Joesph makes his first appearance here in Canada and his home of Toronto. Joseph has seen some time in the D-League, while he has been hard pressed to see any action with Spurs because Tony Parker is having an All-Star season. Also his back-up being T.J Ford the former Raptor it has been hard to find time but has to be quite the learning experience. Ford never content to be the back-up in his time here is happy it would seem to accept the role and live close to his home of Houston. T.J after being traded from Toronto fell out of favour with the Pacers and signed with the Spurs as free agent once the NBA Season got started after the lockout.
Also, when the Spurs come town, that means the return of Toronto resident and former Raptor Matt Bonner. The Red Rocket married a girl from Toronto and makes it his off-season home. He has been trying to this point unsuccessfully become a Canadian to play for the national team. He is one of the more loved figures in Raptors history. The biggest highlight that made him so, might have been a game vs Minnesota, in which he got into a mix-up with Kevin Garnett still on the T-Wolves at the time. Bonner would get ejected and leave the floor to cheers from the ACC faithful. Since leaving Toronto in a trade that landed him with the Spurs, he has become a key role player for them and can be found a top the NBA in terms of 3 point percentage for the past few seasons. He has really developed into a legitimate NBA player. He was also in the front lines as a VP in Players Union during the NBA Lockout.
Raptors have had 3 impressive performances and only 1 win to show for it. They will need a 4th impressive performance if they hope to hang with San Antonio.
Value Possessions: Last night how the Raptors let the game get to that dramatic moment with Lin nailing that three was very simple. The Raptors committed far to many turnovers and it cost them in the end.
Jose vs Tony: Jose Calderon has been playing out of his mind. Even at times on defence which is something I don't think we have ever said in the DNB. Tony Parker is playing at an All-Star level and will be heading to Orlando. It is going to be a tough challenge for Calderon to compete for a 3rd straight game. Jerryd Bayless is said to be a game time decision and might make the load on Calderon a little less.
Perimeter D: Manu leads a cast of characters that can make their shots behind the three point arc. Be aware and get after them or it could be a very long night at the office for the Raptors.
I am heading down to the ACC to cover the next 3 games. Looking forward too it. That and hosting our contest winners on Friday. I figured in this NBA Season I should pull a back to back to back. Although mine is over the span of a week. Raptors are just 1-3 on this 7 game home stand despite some great efforts of late. Making it 2-3 will be no easy task at all. What will be an easier task is trying to win our final set of tickets for our MGDDNBVIP Contest that with happen sometime Thursday before Noon.