The trend continued last night for the Raptors …
EVERY loss this month for Toronto has been followed by a blowout victory in the very next game.
- Lose to the Lakers; hammer the Heat by 30+ points.
- Lose to the Clippers; destroy the Timberwolves by 20+ points.
- Lose to the Spurs; tear apart the Nets by 18 points.
- Lose to the Knicks; blister the same New York team two nights later by 20+ points.
That either shows the inconsistency of the Raptors … or it shows (as Gorilla Monsoon used to say) great “intestinal fortitude” … bouncing back time and time again.
The Raps beat the Knicks 115-92 on Sunday night … tallying their 30TH victory of the season.
Everything Toronto DIDN’T do on Friday night – when they lost to New York at MSG – they found a way to get done on Sunday evening. Zach Randolph was stifled; the perimeter was shut down (NY shot just 9 of 23 from long distance); the Raps outrebounded the opposition 51-36; and though Jamal Crawford still scored 26 points (after going off for 43 on Friday) he was held to just 10 in the entire 2ND half.
Plus, Andrea Bargnani returned to form.
Following 2+ weeks of solid performances that seemed to break him out of his 2-month funk, Bargnani appeared to have cooled off during the All Star break … struggling mightily in last Wednesday’s win over Orlando and Friday’s loss in New York.
But while some folks were ready to jump off the bandwagon again, Bargnani silenced his critics on Sunday night. The second-year forward/center blitzed the Knicks for 25 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocked shots in 35 minutes of action. And the Italian’s defense of Eddy Curry was terrific. He used he body well against the big man and proved to be far too quick for Curry as well.
Bargnani’s offense helped carry Toronto in the first half after Chris Bosh picked up 2 fouls early in the 1ST quarter and didn’t return to action until the 2ND half.
However, the Raps were glad to see CB4 back in the 3RD quarter …
Leading by 2 (54-52) at the break, the Raptors stormed out of the gate in the 2ND half … going on an 18-3 run to rip the game wide-open. T.O. outscored New York 30-15 in the 3RD and never looked back from there.
The big bulge for Toronto allowed Sam Mitchell to rest Bosh a little bit more and he was able to get Jose Calderon a longer rest as well … with the Spanish guard playing just 29:00 minutes overall (he had 9 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds).
TJ Ford played the entire 4TH … putting on a show … with 15 points in the final quarter. The extra time on the floor seemed like it did wonders for Ford in terms of his mental and physical play. The longer he was out there … the more comfortable he looked … still trying to get back on track following his wrist and abdominal injuries.
Finally, newly-acquired big man Primoz Brezec made his Raptor debut in this ball game. Brezec was activated before the contest (in place of Maceo Baston) and he stepped up big for Sam Mitchell. The Slovenian center was a perfect 5 for 5 from the floor … finishing with 11 points and 3 rebounds in just under 13:00 minutes of action. He was enthusiastic and energized as well … waving his arms in the air to fire-up the crowd; air-punching at center-court after a Raptor hoop; and flashing the trademarked Calderon “3-ball” signal as well. He was a ‘character’ if nothing else – and played very well.
Toronto faces the Pacers in Indiana tonight – tip off at 7pm on the FAN 590.