Just when you think you’ve got this team figured out, they go and put on a performance like this. I’m a little dumbfounded, but I’m impressed. Anyway, let’s skip a lengthy preamble because it’s three in the bloody a.m. as I type this. Don’t ask.
Six thoughts: I has them. Opulence: I hasn’t.
1. DeMar DeRozan had his best game of the season, without question. He was confident, intelligently aggressive, and flat-out dominant at times. Naturally, he collided with Jose Calderon on a block attempt with about three minutes to go in the game and promptly hopped/limped right into the locker room. He’s probably OK, but I’m starting to think that one of the Raptors fans in Tank Nation has some voodoo dolls with Raptors jerseys on them.
2. Andrea Bargnani played like he the pre-injury Andrea who seemed to give a crap every game. That was nice to see. I’m pretty Zen about Bargnani these days. I try to ignore him when he plays like crap and doesn’t crash the boards, and I appreciate his talent when he drops a 20-spot or so with apparent ease. Of course, it helps that this entire Raptors season doesn’t really matter. In fact, that’s the entire reason I have this attitude about him right now.
3. Fun fact: Steve Novak shot 5-for-9 on three-pointers, while the rest of the Knicks missed all 23 attempts. Dwane Casey had the Raptors play a lot of zone defense and the Knicks apparently thought they could obliterate it with long bombs. Yeah, not so much.
4. Anytime Leo Rautins is working a Raptors game, I know he’s going to go out of his way to defend the big men and criticize the guards any chance he gets. I don’t know what his deal is, but he played with Andrew Toney and Mo Cheeks in Philly so I hope he doesn’t believe it’s their fault he didn’t have a more successful NBA career. Anyway, here’s something he said tonight after Bargnani was correctly called for a foul on a moving screen: “We see them several times a game, and I’d say 80 percent of the time it’s the guard at fault.”
5. J.R. Smith is a disaster. Is this really a surprise to anyone? “Oooohhhh, loogit! He can dunk nice and he’s got swag!” He’s an idiot and he’s going to hurt your team more than he’ll help it. You can’t convince me otherwise.
6. Jose Calderon’s reaction when Carmelo Anthony “tackled” him in the first quarter might have been the funniest thing I’ve seen in a Raptors game this season. Carmelo tried to wrap up Jose as he drove down the lane, and Jose went down pretty hard. When ‘Melo reached out to offer to help him up, Jose sprung up and waved his arms around while screaming, “WHAT THE FUCK?!?” Pure gold. Part of me will miss the fiery Spaniard when he’s gone.
Raptors Player of the Game: DeMar DeRozan — 30 Pts, 11-17 FG, 8-9 FT 3 Reb, 1 Ast
Knicks Player of the Game: Amare Stoudemire — 17 Pts, 6-12 FG, 5-11 FT, 6 Reb, 1 Stl, 2 Blk