The Raptors dominated yet another Eastern Conference minnow at the Air Canada Centre on Friday in a 99-78 rout of the Bobcats.

Here are some thoughts on the game:

Raptors 99, Bobcats 78

- Like a lot of these big wins lately, the Raptors controlled the game from the opening tip and never looked back. After starting the game on a 10-2 run and outscoring the Bobcats by 13 in the first quarter, the Raptors opened up a 20-point lead early in the second quarter and never let Charlotte closer than 14 the rest of the way.

- It was the second straight wire to wire victory for the Raptors, who have now won 10 of 13 games by mostly dominating weak competition that they should be beating. Other than the disappointing loss to the Kings last Friday, the only other teams to beat the Raptors over the last four weeks have been the Spurs and Thunder.

- The competition hasn’t exactly been offensively gifted, but how about this…

Toronto has now held opponents under 100 points in 11 of their last 14 games, and dating back to the tough home loss to the Nets that started this stretch of improved play, the Raptors are holding opponents under 45 per cent from the field.

- I know I mentioned that I was hoping to see a tight rotation in the pre-game thread, but a blowout victory isn’t the time to run up your key players’ minutes, so I was fine with the fact that 11 of 12 available players got some burn (only Mickael Pietrus finished as a DNP-CD), with John Lucas III getting some run for the game’s final few minutes.

I’m conflicted with respect to the 23:05 Ed Davis logged in this game, though. On one hand, Davis has emerged as a key player for this team, especially while their frontcourt remains thin, so I can understand why Dwane Casey might be trying to keep him off the floor in blowouts. On the other hand, Ed is still a young big man that needs time to develop and I would have liked to see him get at least 30 minutes in such a breeze of a game.

- One positive that came out of Davis’ reduced minutes was an extended look at Quincy Acy, who actually logged over 18 minutes of action and first entered the game in the first quarter. Acy’s offence is still a major work in progress and he picked up four fouls in those 18 minutes, but his defence looks more than NBA-ready (his D against DeMarcus Cousins last Friday left me impressed as well) and his hustle on the glass could earn him more looks over the next little while. Quincy finished with six points, six rebounds and two blocks.

- After playing just 17 minutes against the 76ers on Wednesday, Kyle Lowry actually logged the majority of minutes at the point tonight (25:14 to Calderon’s 22:46), but it was his supportive enthusiasm on the bench that I noticed. You’ll remember that I mentioned on Wednesday that the whole “leaving early” and “not speaking to the media” thing was probably blown out of proportion that night. Well tonight, Lowry could be seen jumping up and down, hollering and waving a towel in support of Jose Calderon and whoever else was on the floor while he manned the bench. I’m sure there’s an eventual line in the sand, but for right now, Lowry seems content with his role on a rolling team.

As for his on court productivity, I’d still like to see Lowry attack the basket more. He doesn’t have to start playing hero ball or looking for his shot on every possession, and I do appreciate his efforts in trying to get his teammates going (especially Acy), but unlike Calderon, Lowry is at his best when he’s breaking defences down and putting the opposition under pressure. He hasn’t been doing enough of that lately and the Raptors will need him to once the schedule gets tougher next week.

- Calderon had the better game again, but as a tandem, he and Lowry combined for 24 points and 12 assists in the 48 minutes at the point for Toronto.

- The fundamentally sound combination of Ed Davis and Amir Johnson, meanwhile, combined for 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting to go along with 16 rebounds and three blocks, but it was their swarming defensive presence inside that really impacted this game from the onset.

- Landry Fields still can’t hit the broad side of a barn with his shot (he went 2/8 tonight), but he continues to rack up rebounds while proving to be a dynamic defender for coach Casey, as Fields can be seen guarding up to three or four positions on some nights. His second straight 11-rebound performance as the starting small forward makes it 46 rebounds over the last six games for Landry.

- It’s a shame that Terrence Ross only finished with seven points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals in 14:36 of playing time, because the rookie actually recorded all seven of those points, one rebound, one assist and one steal in his first three minutes of floor time tonight, which included this.

- I’m not going to lie, I’m taking a lot of pleasure in how pitiful the Bobcats are again. The reason being that when Charlotte got off to their “hot” start (can 7-5 really be considered hot?), I continued to write, talk and tweet about how bad this team still was, and I maintained that they would still lose 55-60 games this season despite that start. A lot of people wrote my Bobcats pessimism off as me being a “hater” or just a bitter Raptors fan, but if you actually watched any of those first 12 games, you’ll know that the ‘Cats had no business winning seven of them, and are much more in line with their 2-21 record since then than they were with their 7-5 start.

- As you may have heard, there were quite a few people booing during the final few seconds of this game because the Raptors finished stuck on 99 points – one shy of getting those disappointed fans a free slice of pizza. The majority of fans in attendance stood and applauded the effort to wind down the clock, but those that actually did boo are a disgrace to the real basketball fans in this city, and I don’t say that lightly. If you boo your home team after a 21-point victory because they fell one point short of getting you a free slice of pizza, or whatever the equivalent is in pro sports venues across North America, then you’re a disgrace to real sports fans in general.

As for what the organization can do to prevent said disgraceful fans from getting a chance to act like this in the future, I maintain that they should try changing the promotion to free pizza whenever the Raptors hold opponents under 100 points. At least that way, the passion will manifest itself in fans cheering for Raptors defence despite a big late lead (which would actually be kind of cool) as opposed to foolish fans booing their own team in victory for dribbling out the clock or for missing a meaningless end of game jumper.

Raptors Player Of the Game: Amir Johnson – 13 Pts, 6/10 FG, 1/2 FT, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk, 1 TO in 30:49

Bobcats Player Of the Game: Kemba Walker – 12 Pts, 4/10 FG, 0/1 3PT, 4/6 FT,  8 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO in 29:22

With the win tonight, the Raptors move within a half-game of Philadelphia for ninth in the East. More importantly, with the Pistons beating the Bucks, Toronto is now 4.5 games behind Milwaukee – their next opponent – for the eighth and final playoff spot. There will still be 45 games remaining on the schedule after Sunday afternoon’s matchup with the Bucks at the ACC, but it will be a solid litmus test for the Raptors, who will either be 3.5 games out or 5.5 games out by the end of that contest.

In addition, Sunday’s homestand-ending game against the Bucks will be the Raptors’ first of seven straight games against either winning teams, on the road or against the Lakers. Suffice to say, it’s as big as game no. 37 can get.

Comments (46)

  1. Maybe I’m just naive, but I really think the booing and ‘pizza!’ chants are done in good humour. Saying these people are a “disgrace to the real basketball fans in this city” is silly and a little bit humourless in my opinion.

    Nevertheless, I completely agree on changing the pizza promotion to holding opposing teams under 100. It especially makes sense with the Rap’s relatively new defensive mentality.

    • Chanting “pizza” is tacky, but I can live with it. There’s a big difference between pizza chants and actually booing the home team off the floor after a 21-point victory because you didn’t get your pizza. If all that happened was a chant for pizza here and there, then I wouldn’t have mentioned it. It’s the actual booing that I find disgraceful, and that’s coming from a guy who feels the home team should get booed when they deserve it. I just don’t think after a huge victory is when they deserve it.

    • Yeah, it’s all in fun

      • Totally all in fun. I feel like I’m defending a comedian who says something that people get up in arms against, quoting out of context. I also get the sense that those who find it a disgrace are media types (or bloggers) who aren’t in the stands with the people. It’s just fun and they are in no way booing seriously the team or any of the players and nobody went home unhappy. Guaranteed.

      • Ya, I agree. I’m pretty sure the Raptors don’t take the boos too seriously. They showed a shot of DeRozan on the bench during the pizza chant/boos and he was laughing, presumably encouraging the players on the court to give the fans what they wanted, in jest.

  2. Good game. I really want to see lowry get more aggressive on offence as well. Also, Anderson needs to stop jacking up so many shots. Know your role, man. And people hate on lowry for being selfish, jeez.

    • Alan Anderson has pretty much been the MVP of this recent run. He is always getting the hardest defensive match ups night in and night out. He of all players deserves all the shots he takes.

      Stop the hating and be happy that we won the game

      • Ah, there’s always something to whine about in Raptorland! It’s what makes the fans… er… uh… special.

        • AND he is just under 40% from 3 since his return, so if anyone is going to be taken more 3′s it should be Anderson. He has been great and I think his role IS tough defense and instant offense.

      • Uhh no. Having anderson jack up that many shots against teams not named the bobcats is not a recipe for success. Just because he had that one hot shooting game against okc doesnt entitle him to start playing like the star on the team. The guy scored 16 points on 17 shots!!! If that isnt horrible efficiency i dont know what is. I’d rather those shots go to somebody that has more talent on offense like lowry. Raptors fans are so blinded whenever this shitty team beats a worse team that they dont want to recognize the ugly truth. Its not about whining, just point out something that is going to have to change if this team is going to beat better teams then the charlotte freakin bobcats.

        • yea ppl complained about bargs putting up 20 points on 20 shots bur r ok if anderson shoots ith the same effiiciency

        • @ad says, “going to have to change if this team is going to beat better teams then the charlotte freakin bobcats.” Um, this team is 10-3 in their last 13 games so they’ve managed to beat better teams than [note correct spelling] the Charlotte freakin’ Bobcats already.

    • @Ad
      “Good game. I really want to see lowry get more aggressive on offence as well. Also, Anderson needs to stop jacking up so many shots. Know your role, man. And people hate on lowry for being selfish, jeez.”
      THANK YOU – I like Anderson, but he he is starting to have Klieza disease with the no passing – Lowry does it and gets ruined for it by media, fans and from Doug Smith of the Star. Glad you mentioned that!

      • Apples and oranges, @youngjames. Anderson is shooting off passes, just the way a non-selfish team needs to. Lowry was shooting after bringing the ball up the court and not passing. But I agree he’s gone a bit far in the other direction now. Lowry’s now passing up shots that are passed to him and he’s open. The whole point is to get the ball into players’ hands when they’re open and then those players take the shot.

  3. You know, I think on this blog and elsewhere I have written about the pizza thing before and basically I agree but when it comes down to it:

    The players all think the fans are nit-wits who don’t know anything about the *real* in and out’s of the game and it’s basically true.They don’t care about the boo’s. Crowd was appreciative all game at the right spots, it was clearing out anyway and players from both teams were mentally checked out well-early into the 4th. As much as I despise the average fan they’re just messing around. Like, I was courtside tonight(first time, exciting!) and obviously the fans there don’t *need* the pizza. In fact, no fan anywhere *needs* that slice. It’s just something to keep people occupied in another game out of dozens played by two teams who will yet again be out of the playoffs(most likely).

    It does not *mean* anything and the players(who have not tuned us out, so the minority) are not that bothered.

    I think.

  4. I also get annoyed when people insinuate that it’s a Toronto thing.

    There are similar promotions in lots of other cities and the same nonsense occurs.

    • Which other cities/sports teams have similar promotions?

      I’m more inclined to agree with Casciaro on this one…sure, fans paid their hard-earned cash to buy a ticket to a game and thus you could say that they can boo and cheer whenever they want. You can also say that it was all in good fun.

      But, the real question is whether something like this happens to any other major sports teams in THIS city. To me, this is just another example for the argument that says basketball is not taken too seriously by the “general” public in this hockey-crazed city.

      Serious question: Do the Leafs, Toronto FC, Blue Jays have similar promotions?

      • I know the 76ers have 100 pt=free big mac promotion

        There was a game where the sixers scored 99 points so Coach Doug Collins said the big macs were on him or something so they could still exchange their ticket for a Big Mac.

        I bought a big mac the other day, it was over $5! Thats better than pizza

        • I’ve received a free chalupa in Portland when the team scored 100 points. Are you guys so seriously provincial that you don’t know this is league-wide — and sanctioned by the NBA?

          • It’s not too much of a stretch to be a Torontonian and not know about this. There are people in their 30s in this city that have NEVER been to a basketball game and thus wouldn’t even know that the Raptors have such a promotion. Obviously anybody here who hasn’t been to an NBA game in the States (which would likely be a lot of people) likely wouldn’t know that such a promotion existed for teams in America.

            But, yes you are right. I did look it up and it took awhile to find specific references to such promotions so it’s not likely you’d know about it unless you actually went to a game.

            I found out that Washington and Chicago have similar promotions (apparently there was actually a game in November 2012 where Joakim Noah attempted a three at the end just to get the fans a free big-mac. He missed…lol…not only did the fans boo but his coach wasn’t too happy about the unsportsman-like act when the game was already decided).

            I also read an article ( that says the money that the sponsors of the promotions get actually goes back to the NBA.

            So I guess that settles that. You learn something new everyday.

            But, like someone mentioned, if you want to make the fans engaged for the right reasons, the best thing to do is to change it to holding the opponents to less than 100. Booyah!

  5. “- Calderon had the better game again, but as a tandem, he and Lowry combined for 24 points and 12 assists in the 48 minutes at the point for Toronto.”

    Calderon was better, but .. no buts, Calderon was better, again, and the Raptors won, again. Give the man some f*ckin credit. You guys love to hate on him when guys like Westbrook blow by him every play, and rightfully so, but give at least give him an equal amount of credit when he has a good game, like today and almost all the games since the Raptors have turned around their season. He came out firing, put up 10 points in the first quarter alone and basically helped blow this game out before it even started!

    And I know someone will come along and talk about Lowry. Well this is about Calderon as a basketball player not Lowry or the Raptors point guard situation.

    • Sorry, Tony, that simply doesn’t fit into the narrative on these blogs. Get with the program. Calderon is trash. Any good game he has is either a fluke or the result of someone else doing something better. You can’t change these guys’ minds. Once you accept that, you’ll be able to enjoy the games so much more.

      • I don’t recall Joseph/Oliver ever saying he is trash or even close to it. They’ve just made the point that any team reliant on him to be a key cog has a glass ceiling (A very low one at that) because of his defensive deficiencies which is a fair point as we’ve seen with the performance of the team over the last few seasons.

        He’s playing well this season, continues to do so and they’ve given him more than the fair share of credit, but we’ve (long time fans) seen this movie for coming up on 8 years, so we’re all just tired of it. We know what he is and we’ve seen him fail several auditions to be the full-time starter every time he usurps a starter so why waste another audition when you know what he is when you have a more well rounded player sitting behind him who might have more of a future with the team?

        It will be interesting to see how the team performs as the schedule hits another tough stretch over the next two weeks and how fans disproportionately dish out the credit/blame for their play.

      • Also let’s not forget that it’s the Bobcats; most veteran players know what to do against bad teams.

        • Let’s also not forget the team is 10-3 over the last 13 games, and it wasn’t 10 games against the Bobcats. And let’s not forget they have one more loss and one fewer win than the mighty Lakers. Quit demeaning everything.

          • At home as well makes things easier; call me a skeptic but I believe when you show up against bad teams but not against good team that you are not the best of the best. Now if Jose had amazing games against teams like the Spurs then I’d give him the credit. All I’m saying is that the last stretch of games have been easier and that as a veteran, playing well against bad teams like the Bobcats should be expected. Also I know the Lakers are struggling as well, but that’s i the west which is much more difficult than playing in the east.

    • @ Tony Starks – and you love to love him (JC) when he blows by competition that he should blow by. Your giving credit to a player (who’s getting paid 10+ million) for beating up on “minnows”. When the checks are high – so is the expectation of winning. A few decent games in a long insufferable contract of disappointment doesn’t make Calderon worthy. If for a second you don’t think JC all-of-a-sudden elevated play has anything to do with him being a contract year – the you are a fool, sir!
      Let’s see, an athlete who has never lead a team to the play off game as a starter, never won a play-off round as a contributor, never average over 12 pts a game in his career (North American or International) is 31 and most likey facing his last big contact. Now he is playing like the 10 million dollar player he should have been all that contract, and you can’t stop loving him. For what??? Playing good in a last contract year and for doing so, by beating up on lesser talent! We’ll see what JC is made of the next few weeks. I say he is as good as gone. A player nobody wanted and now he is playing like he should – cash Raps, cash in! In fitting with the salary cap we could have 2 Lowry or 1 Calderon.

      • Your own words betray you as the fool. You are illogically blaming Calderon for this team’s performance since his arrival as that was the only time these guys were in the playoffs.

        I have never seen anyone play as well in their first 3 or 4 years as they did over the next few (unless it was injury related). A majority of players need time to adjust to the speed of the play.

        For years the coaches ran pick and rolls through Bosh as he was the only offence the team had. Jordan or Bryant could not have won with this team so blaming Calderon is ridiculous.

        If you think Calderon is playing for the contract year then you haven’t been watching this team for very long nor have you been listening to his interviews over the years. That is not how he thinks. Try not to insinuate the way you think into someone else’s actions.

        Every coach he has played for has acknowledged that his defence is the worst part of his game but his other skills more than make up for it. The same guy who stood up to KG of the Celtics when his team mates wouldn’t. You are entitled to your opinion but you don’t know squat about basketball and that is my opinion.

        • I have multiple times admitted to not being a fan of JC; maybe he just needs to have less minutes. As we have seen his production go down when he is a full time starter. Without Lowry taking a lot of the minutes I don’t think JC would have the ability to do what he’s doing right now.

          • So are you guys also blaming Deron Williams for being on teams worse than the Raptors some seasons? If an all-star isn’t able to elevate a bad team, why should Calderon be held to different standards? Look, every single player (below the superstar status) have different strengths and weaknesses. Lowry is better defensively, but he’s not as good at running a team (yet — he may still get it at some point).

    • I agree with you Tony. But not much made of Amir and Ed getting together on the floor. Some great passing and team work on defence. I like what I see and hopefully it improves. Even DeRozen mad a nice dish to Amir drawing in defenders. These are all good signs.

      As for people assuming that if you aren’t for Lowry as starting PG then you are slagging him is just ridiculous. If I like Nash then Bryan must be a bum? Lots of talk about what Jose has not accomplished on a bad team. What has Lowry accomplished on a good teams? Championships where he played meaningful minutes? MVP awards? Starting role on a team?

      Lowry’s a good player and if I were Casey and wanted his scoring punch on the floor I would be moving Lowry into the 2 occasionally when Jose is running the offence. To Lowry’s credit he is looking to make the good pass but he misses so many open mates. That will come with time and practice.

      If Lowry is the PG of the future he has lots to learn about running a team on the floor. He needs to develop those “eyes in the back of his head” as Ross noted about Jose. That no-look pass up the floor was a great example.

      • Well said, Hope Caper. I like Lowry, too. I like that the team has two very competent point guards with different strengths. That can only help a team. This isn’t a zero sum game where you can only like one of them and trash the other.

        • “Sorry, Tony, that simply doesn’t fit into the narrative on these blogs. Get with the program. Calderon is trash”

          At least stick with you opinion dude. All of a sudden Calseron is competent when you just called him trash.

          These haters can’t even stay consistent with there arguments

  6. I know the game was over halfway through the first quarter so there isn’t much to talk about in great detail but I was really hoping we wouldn’t rehash the “pizza” debate for the hundredth time. I knew it would come up with the “Pizza” chant and the booing at the final buzzer followed by Jack’s comment about the chant but it is what it is at this point ie harmless fun and both the fans and the players are in on it.

    Yes, the Bobcats suck, happy? They’ve still had the Raptors numbers over the last few years and when you consider that they are in the midst of one of the worst stretches of play in NBA history, I’d say that’s pretty sad. But revel away in their ineptitude.

    Interesting stat about the last time the Raptors held the opponent under 80 in back to back wins considering it came under Kevin O’Neill. I’ve made the comparison between him and Casey multiple times and it’s very interesting to see how differently they were/are viewed by Raptor fans having been VERY similar coaches.

    • Yes, when the Raptors beat a poor team… hey, they only won because they played a lousy team. When the Raptors lose to a poor team… see, they suck, they can’t even beat bad teams. It’s a no-win situation.

      The Raptors, with their swarming defence and commitment to rebounding and sharing the ball tonight would have beaten many teams tonight, not just the lowly Bobcats. Yes, the Bobcats had something to do with it, too, but how many times have we seen the Raptors lay an egg against an inferior opponent. So let’s celebrate it when they win instead of making excuses.

      • To add to what you’re saying, I’ve seen the same type of hate/logic from different comments with back-to-back games as well.

        Raptors lost to a team playing on the second night of a back to back? “WOW, they suck so much, they couldn’t even beat a tired team.”

        Raptors beat a team playing on the second night of a back to back? “Hooray, congratulations, we beat a tired team that didn’t put in any effort.”

        Raptors are on the second night of a back to back playing a team and lose? “This is the NBA, you can’t make excuses about back-to-backs. We just suck, and this team has no toughness.”

        Raptors are on the second night of a back to back playing a team and win? “Well the team they beat is terrible/didn’t even show up/other.”

        I don’t actually think this team can sustain the way they’ve been playing. I shake my head when they throw out that 10-3 record, or that they’re 2nd in offense and 4th in defense (or whatever it is) since the whatever date it is. I also do think that once the schedule gets tougher we will really see things even out. However, one, I do hope I’m wrong, and two, I still like watching the basketball this team is playing and I enjoy watching the team win. I also give credit when credit is due. I don’t care if they had beaten the Bobcats by 1, I’m enjoying watching this Raptors team, and fans who like to hate and make excuses for every victory gets annoying.

        Also, we don’t even have a draft pick! The more the wins the better! Best to lose the draft pick this year somewhere in the middle of the first round (hopefully) and get it over with. Yes, maybe winning a few meaningless games and not getting into the playoffs might inflate the actual talent level of this team, and perhaps save BC’s job…but I enjoy watching wins more than losses.

  7. From now on , I will never ever read this blog. It seems totally focused in showing the good plays of an irregular player like Lowry, and tríes to look elsewhere when José Calderón, one of the key reasons of Toronto winning trend, drives the team to win.

    i usually agree on comments from Tony Starks, GM and Hope Caper. I will miss them, because they want Toronto to win, they are really supporting and they understand basketball..

    For the rest… Watch learn, please.

    • Thanks for the memories

    • We all have different opinions but at the end of the day we’re all Raptors fans. I’ve made it quite clear that I disagree with certain things, namely the lack of credit Calderon gets from the writers but for me that’s not a reason for me to stop coming here. They do a great job covering our team and it’s always interesting to hear someone else’s point of view, especially in the comments section.

  8. @Tarkun – so your saying unless they agree with you that Calderon is the reason why this team is winning, your no going to read…..Good! Talk about learning the game, how you doing!??!!! – it is so absurd and DUMB to think that the team is “winning” because of Calderon as the starting PG – just plain dumb! . Its you who needs to learn, kid….It’s actually laughable dumb. You should go visit the over 50 crowd on the Doug Smith of the Star blog – where the man love for Calderon is borderline sickening. Anybody who thinks that (after the gut check meeting) that Lowry couldn’t win with this team proves they have just “fan knowledge” not “talent knowledge” of this team and you certainly proved that here today. I noticed you didn’t mention the (at least) 3 games Lowry was better then Calderon off the bench saving the Raps some victories along this ride. You seem to have forgotten those games. BUT, you give those wins, full Calderon credit. Can’t wait to we get a SF for Calderon in the next few weeks!. …..Three way deal with Minny, Memphis and Toronto coming your way soon!

  9. Hey Mr Casciaro – how ’bouts an article on the “why and why nots” of signing Calderon to an extension or trading him by the deadline. Should be a good read!

  10. The Raps played a great game and I don’t care who the opponent is. They played some great games during their losing streak and were not rewarded with a win.

    I have read many fans who say that the price of their ticket gives them the right to cheer or boo as they see fit and that is hard to argue with. The ignorant and rude may buy a ticket as well as the civil minded. In fact booing or cheering at what many would deem inappropriate times only reflects their own jaundiced view of life.

    Combing the two PGs stats together is kind of fun because it does show the great play they are getting from the guards. I thought you were remiss however in not talking about two magical plays by Calderon. That is not counting his blow-by of the entire team when he went to the rim. The first was his no-look pass up the court. That is an incredibly difficult pass when you have time to set your body up for it. If you can catch a replay take a closer look at how far and how accurate it was. The second magical play was hitting Amir Johnson coming down the lane through an opening that couldn’t have been there for more than half a second. Both just unbelievable passes.

    In a one-sided victory like this it is hard to find fault with any of the coaching moves and missed plays are just that. Last night they made more than they missed by a good bit.

  11. JC’s trade value has to be higher than it’s ever been. Should colangelo make the trade? And what should he look to get in return?

  12. I actually do not see the switch from Lowry to JC as the starting PG being the main reason for the team’s turn-around. I think the road-heavy schedule for the first 22-23 games was one of the reasons but more importantly, we should thank primo barny for not being in the lineup.

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