Wednesday December 30 2009 – 11:47am Eastern – Toronto, ON 

It has been a couple of days since I last checked in so I won’t return with an “I told you so” …

I’ll just say … some folks out there should be eating crow right now.

I told you a week and a half ago that this was a key stretch and that the Raptors had to go at least 3-2 in their final 5 games of 2009 to have a legit shot at getting their season turned around in the new year.  I even hinted at the very real prospect of going 4-1 and mentioned that 5-0 was a distinct possibility … given the level of competition the Raptors were/are facing in those 5 games (all teams that were/are under .500).  But, of course, many of the naysayers spelled doom and gloom for the Raps … while others opted to label me as a homer – or something close to that – for even suggesting that Toronto could go on a run of 4 or 5 wins.

Well, some of us were right … and some of us were wrong.  We’ll just leave it at that.

Tonight’s game is an important one.  As some of you have noted in previous blogs (in the “Comments” section), Charlotte does have talent.  They can be a dangerous team.  But I’ll stand by my comment that Toronto is the better team and they have more talent overall.  I know Jack Armstrong agrees with that sentiment as well.  I’m not just looking at individual talent (thought I would give Toronto the edge in at least 3 of the 5 starting positions and give Toronto’s bench/depth the nod over the Bobcats’ second unit as well) … I’m looking at how they play as a “team” – something we couldn’t say about the Raptors just a few short weeks ago – and I’m looking at things like the road woes the ‘Cats have endured.  While Toronto’s 5-12 road record is nothing to write home about either, Charlotte is a brutal 1-13 away from home!  That says something about the mental toughness and cohesiveness of a club if they can’t win on the road.  That 1-13 record is second-only to the freakin’ New Jersey Nets for “worst in the league” honours.

Now, if the Bobcats go out and get the win tonight at the ACC … good on them.  It’ll be a much-needed victory for a club that has 2 wins in its past 6 games. 

It should be a good one tonight … as Toronto will be looking for a little “revenge” – for the pasting they took in North Carolina earlier this year – and both teams will know the importance of this tilt as it relates to the current playoff positioning (TOR – 6th; CHA – 8th) and end-of-the-year tie-breaker scenarios as well. 

Here are a couple of key stats / stories to watch this evening as well …

For those that are singing the praises of Stephen Jackson’s impact in Charlotte … here ya go (there has been a slight improvement in the ‘Cats since Jax’s arrival):

                         Before Trade     After Trade

Record                3-6                        9-11
PTS/game          82.4                       95.3
FG%                  39.4                       45.6
3PT FG%           29.2                       31.9
FTA/game          22.4                       28.6

Toronto is a league-best 12-0 this season when holding opponents under 100 points … while Charlotte is 5-1 this year when scoring more than 100

Enjoy the game tonight folks. 

Jonesy and I will have the call at 7pm on the FAN 590 and we’ll be on the air after the ball game as well – ’til 11pm – with “The Rap”.

Have a good one

E. Smith

10 Responses to “Cats and Raps”
  1. 1.

    Two teams, with a combined record of 27-34, meeting on a Wednesday night in Toronto. No, this is not the stuff dreams are made of.

    Eric, “I told you so”?

    Are you just trying to get me goin’?

    Are you trying to drum up some drama when there just isn’t any?

    Charlotte is 1-13 on the road. Why would anyone expect them to beat ANYONE on the road?

    I’m sorry but I think we all deserve a bit more creative and interesting editorials around here.

    For a far more accurate analysis of the Raptors success (or lack thereof), can you please provide some home/away splits versus teams over .500. Then, if you must, you can also do the same for teams below .500.

    Just, keep in mind, the record against teams under .500 is completely irrelevant with regard to playoff success. Teams that cannot beat good teams will quickly become 1st round playoff losers.

    “I told you so”? What a joke.

    - brento.
  2. 2.

    Another fine example of:

    A – not reading (I said I wasn’t saying “I told you so”)

    B – not being able to interpret humour/sarcasm

    C – further to “B” … taking things too seriously.

    - Eric Smith
  3. 3.

    A – your “I’m not saying ‘I told you so’” is classic passive aggressive;

    B – You are speaking to the self-proclaimed King of Sarcasm, so please don’t take anything I say too seriously; and,

    C – further to “B”…don’t take things too seriously.

    Seriously.

    But, most importantly, Eric — all the best for a happy, healthy New Year.

    - brento.
  4. 4.

    Matt Devlin just referred to Gerald Wallace as a “sensational player”.

    If this is, indeed, true – what does he think of Koby Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard?

    Super-Sensational?

    - brento.
  5. 5.

    You too Brento … happy new year. Good health to you and yours as well !

    - Eric Smith
  6. 6.

    LOL

    Eric, Brento this was hilarious!

    - Raps Fan No More!
  7. 7.

    I’ve expressed many an intelligent thought on this site and never gotten a response. Maybe I should be more confrontational like brento (I’m smiling while I say this).

    A – The Raps have beaten the teams they should beat (for the most part).

    B – The Raps have lost to the teams they should lose to (for the most part).

    C – Chris Bosh is awesome. At one point they put up a graphic that showed that CB4 had 26 points and 13 rebounds. All I could think of was when in the hell did he rack up those stats. I hope he stays.

    - Michel G
  8. 8.

    Michel … between the radio show … the Raptors broadcasts … Twitter … emails … and this blog (plus the blog on Raps.com too) I sometimes get behind and don’t interact on here as much as maybe i should!

    I’ll try to be better about it in the new year. your comments/contributions do not go un-read or unrecognized.

    - Eric Smith
  9. 9.

    Michel…good post.

    I like Bosh, too. But, I believe he is one of those players who will greatly benefit from playing with another all-star. He can be a champion, but only with the right guy beside him on the court.

    If he does re-sign (which I believe he will), this team will likely remain mostly the same for the next several years. And, given the plight of this current roster, I doubt we’ll see many visits to the Eastern Conference Final (or, perhaps, the 2nd round).

    I think Bosh resigns in TO…there’s just too much money to give up, and that extra year is another heap of guaranteed cashola. Then, after a year or two of losing in the early playoff rounds, I predict he will (QUIETLY) request a trade.

    The only way he leaves TO this year, is if he gets a legitimate opportunity to play with a HOFer, a la LeBron or Kobe.

    I’d like him to resign here, too, but I worry about dragging him through further seasons of nothing but failure.

    - brento.
  10. 10.

    brento,

    I think people forget that playing basketball is first and foremost a job for these guys, so it will greatly surprise me if Bosh leaves all that money on the table.

    With the core that they have I think the team will be better in two years, and for better or for worse, it will all depend on Bargnani and his development. I might be overly optimistic, but I think him and Bosh will come to dominate.

    Eric,

    I wasn’t really complaining. The other Mr. Smith almost never responds to me on his blog (I’m still smiling while I say this). The access to the team you and Doug (and other members of the Raps media) provide us fans is very much appreciated. Have a good new year!

    - Michel G
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