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Jose, Amir and the rest of the Raptors had the ACC rocking on Friday night

Over 16 000 fans were on hand to see a dandy of a game inside the ACC on Friday night.

The Raptors got off to a good start, the Rockets kept up, and we had a solid back-and-forth ball game going all night.

Sure, the Raps had a couple of lapses here and there that resulted in Houston making some runs, but give credit to Jay Triano and the coaching staff for calling timely timeouts and switching up Toronto’s defensive schemes to stop those runs.

A 13-point first half lead for the Raptors had actually become a six-point deficit late in the third quarter, but the Raps recovered with a 7-0 run to end the third with a slim lead.

Then, for the second straight game, Toronto dominated the fourth quarter with (mostly) quality possessions and timely stops to pull away down the stretch.

The Raptors outscored the Rockets 31-22 in the fourth, as the liveliest ACC crowd of the young season cheered on.

It should be noted that in the last two fourth quarters combined, the Raptors have outscored their opponents 56-37. For a team that had so much trouble closing out games through the first few weeks of the season, perhaps the last couple of fourth quarters were indications of growth.

This was truly an all-around team-win for Toronto. Bargnani led the charge, but all nine players that saw action chipped in. Sonny was hot early and battled through foul trouble. DeMar decided to relentlessly attack the rim in the second half. Kleiza abused whoever was defending him. Amir and Reggie continued to do what they do, the dirty work. David Andersen consistently nailed his jumper from the top of the key, and the two point guards combined for 14 points and 15 assists, while committing only three turnovers.

Jose was the better point-man again tonight, but credit Jarrett Jack for sharing the rock and spreading the wealth when he realized his jumper was still M.I.A. Jack had eight dimes and just one turnover in 23 minutes.

One thing I wanted to mention tonight has to do with plus/minus. Usually, I know it’s a useless stat. But in a close ball game like tonight’s, when you look at the boxscore and see Amir Johsnon at +29, Calderon at +27, and Kleiza at +20, it has to mean something, no?

It’s a rather irrelevant point, but has anyone noticed the Raptors have been outstanding on Friday nights this season? They blew out Cleveland, stunned Orlando and slipped by the Rockets all in Friday night affairs, and their lone Friday night loss came in a great effort against the two-time defending champs in L.A.

Next up, the Celtics, who the Raptors haven’t beaten at the ACC since the 2006-07 season and the team who has won eight straight versus the Raptors. No one’s expecting a W, but it would be nice to see this young team at least stick around.

Raptors Player of the Game: Andrea Bargnani -36 Min, 26 Pts, 11-17 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 3-3 FT, 6 Reb, 4 Ast (Andrea looked unstoppable, offensively, tonight. Inside, outside, he had it all going)

Rockets Player of the Game: Kevin Martin – 40 Min, 31 Pts, 8-16 FG, 4-7 3Pt, 11-11 FT, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

Goat of the Game: Chase Budinger – 14 Min, 0 Pts, 0-6 FG, 0-3 3Pt, 1 Reb, 2 TO (Not to mention, he was absolutely abused by Linas Kleiza in the post.)

Comments (8)

  1. More games like this and their chances of getting the top pick will get worse and worse. Of course, I’m not expecting these sorts of games all that often.

    And speaking of fourth quarters, does anyone know what DeRozan’s stats are during fourth quarters this season? It’s funny, because he’s the mirror image of Bargnani, who usually does most of his scoring in the first half, and then disappears in the second half.

  2. Im so pumped for this Bargs run u dont even know. I feel like ive been his lone fan during all these moments. Interestng note on the Fridays too. Looks like it was the most solid win for them this year

  3. Tim can’t you just enjoy the victory. I think its the hockey nation mentality when we lose its the end of the world but when we win it was either the other team lost or we were just lucky.

    Jonny you werent alone always been a big Bargs fan its just the people who really know nothing about basketball that are hard on the guy. he actually was going after some rebounds last night which was nice to see. keep it up bargs

  4. News Flash:

    Raptors trade Jarret Jack, Marcus Banks and David Anderson to New Orleans for Peja Stojakovic and Bayless.

    Thoughts???

    is this trade made solely to get Bayless???

  5. @David: “its just the people who really know nothing about basketball that are hard on the guy”

    Really? Funny you post here since Scott has been pretty hard on him and I can’t imagine you’d frequent a blog whose host knows nothing about the game. I’ll never understand Bargs defenders who criticize other fans’ b-ball intelligence. What exactly does Bargs do well out there, compared to what he is either below average at or terrible at?

    Does he set good screens? Does he pass well? Does he rebound well? Is he a good help defender? Does he hustle? Do adjusted +/- or any of the stats that have consistently showed how bad he is matter at all?

    Again, if he scores around 25 or more and does it efficiently, there’s a decent chance he’s doing more good than harm out there. Otherwise, he’s a liability because he brings little else to the table apart from scoring talent. For most of the games he has played in his career, he has been a transparent liability.

  6. Would you rather have Brandon Roy now????? I bet not because that is the main complaint about Bargs.” WE COULD HAVE HAD BRANDON ROY” there was a reason he sliped all the way to the 7th pick. He is never gonna be the same player again.Does any player in the NBA do everything good?? Maybe you can an them on one hand. There really is only one other NBA player in the NBA that can compare to Bargs which is Nowitzky. Dirk is by far a better player.

    See it is obvious that you are really limited in your knowledge of the game. Barganani is a good on the ball defender that is why he always covered the main big man on the other team even when Bosh was here. He does alot of good things all people focus on is his rebounding. Its pretty obvious “MR DRIBBLES” that you have no idea what your talking about and you should stick watching the leafs. Any other team in NBA would love to have Bargnani in there lineup. Its just incredible how stupid people are

  7. Jarret Jack was seen at practice wearing a white t-shirt and a hoody. He did not practice and left with assistant GM Mark Eversly. Word is trade could be completed within the hour. There might have to be two trades because Bayless is only allowed to be traded one for one because he was traded alredy this season. BC work you rmagic

  8. I live in Ottawa and hate hockey, David. But thanks, I’ve learned a lot from your insight.

    The Bargnani pick was bad because we had a finesse PF we were building around in Bosh. Nobody had Roy first but Gay would have filled a need at the 3. With no clear cut #1, BC should have considered trading down instead of deluding himself that Bargs could become some viable 5 to pair along Bosh.

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