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