Better late than never right? I apologize just not feeling my best last couple days. That is why once the season is done will look into building a staff here for the DNB. So the Raptors busted out the camo and looked like a different team for 3 quarters. Well that might be an exaggeration the Raptors did play well and hang with the Roseless Bulls for 3 quarters. The Bulls are still very good without Rose heading into last night they were 10-4 without last year's MVP. So let's get to some game notes:
The Old Andrea Is Back: No not the one from the start of this season. The one from the last 6 years prior. His defense has at best been regressing. His offense last night was pretty much a train wreck. The only positive was he was making some solid passes and getting some assists to his stat line. He had 8 points 6 assists and 5 rebounds shooting 2-10 on the night. That is not going cut it. If we don't see improvement Raptor fans may point to his start to the season as the opportunity lost to trade him in the future. If people want to use the injury as an excuse that is fine but that then calls into question his durability. I think the highlight of the regression on defense I am talking about is when Carlos Boozer turned Andrea into a tree and fake one way and left him standing there and went for a dunk.
4th Quarter Blues: The Raptors have proven this season that they are capable to hang with even some of the best teams for a time. But when it comes to the 4th quarter and time to win the game the have had some epic failures. You can argue that in the last two games they have been perhaps the worst. John Lucas and Kyle Korver hit back to back threes and you knew it was coming as the game was tied. Once the Bulls took the lead they were like a sports car running from a bicycle. The hope would be with a greater depth of talent next year the Raptors will be able to have more complete 48 minute efforts as a result. Last night the Raptors out played the Bulls for 3 quarters but when it was winning time the Bulls showed why they have the best record in the league.
Demar DeRozan: You still have concerns about him as a defender. Still his offense is growing to be more consistent and the worries that people had at the start of this season should be less. He got off to a hot start last night with 11 points in the first quarter. He still managed to keep his scoring up through the whole 48 minutes. He finished with 23 points and shot 11-25 in the game and had 6 rebounds. It would be nice to see DeRozan be able to grab a few more boards as part of his game. At his position his advantage his is athleticism at the end of the day and that is part of taking advantage of it.
James Johnson A Year Later: It was about a year ago that the Raptors acquired James Johnson from the Bulls. He would likely still be fighting to get minutes and barely see the floor if he remained in Chicago. Slightly more used than Solomon Alabi is here with the Raptors. He has shown through his opportunity he has gotten here that he deserves to be a rotation player in the NBA. He had a nice night against his former team 16 points and 7 rebounds and shot an efficient 8-14 from the field. The Raptors likely still need a starting small forward at the end of the day. Still, Johnson as a back-up that can bring it on defense with a developing game on offense is a nice fit coming off the bench for a winning team.
In the end the Raptors despite having a 7 point lead in the early 4th quarter and but the end the Bulls ended up with a 12 point win 94-82. The Raptors also had to go most of the way without Jerryd Bayless who tried to give it a go with a left hip pointer but after just 1:29 on the floor it was clear he could not play in this one. He would watch the 2nd half in suit and like all Raptor fans sit helpless watching the Bulls come back and take over this in the 4th.