Yes, the Raptors have finally reached that vaunted .500 by actually grinding out a win in Orlando. They’re looking like the team that many envisioned before the season started and are now now 11-5 since starting the season 7-13. I wish I had predicted that (okay, I’m done bringing that up- okay, probably not)!
Of course, pessimists will be able to say that they’re tied with Memphis!
As for the game, I have to say I was predicting a Raptor loss. Orlando had just lost two in a row, including a heartbreaker against a depleted Indiana team they should have beaten in their sleep. The Raptors seem to have a habit of facing good teams after they’ve lost a couple of bad games. It’s not a good thing, as good teams usually play with purpose when faced with adversity. It happened against Boston, despite them missing three starters.
Well, the Raptors were able to weather a determined Magic team in the first quarter, and actually outscored by Orlando by 22 in the second and third quarters by playing very good defense, passing the ball extremely well and getting some timely baskets.
Then came the fourth.
Now, there is much discussion among Raptor fans that the refs tried to give the Magic the win, pointing to the huge foul disparity in the fourth. While Bargnani was about as responsible for fouling Reddick and Barnes to foul out as I was, the main reason the Magic didn’t get whistled for any fouls was because you’re going to get very few calls from behind the three point line, which is just about where every player other than Bosh stationed himself in the fourth. It’s hard to blame Bosh since he had double and triple teams running at him the moment he touched the ball, but he could have forced the issue a little. The most disturbing thing about the fourth quarter was watching every Raptor wait for someone else to do something. The only players who seemed to really look like they wanted it on the offensive end were Turkoglu (who barely qualifies, since he should have attacked more), and Calderon.
Uh, yes. Calderon.
I promised a post about him, and I will get to it. He played a great game in limited minutes, which will no doubt cause many fans to demand to keep him on the bench. Well…you’ll have to wait for my argument.
It was a great game and a great win, and with the Raptors currently entrenched in the 6th spot in the East, they have a real chance of catching up to a struggling Miami team and of getting the fifth spot.
THE GILBERT ARENAS CIRCUS
Yes, he’s been suspended for basically being an idiot, but it’s amazing we haven’t heard anything about his gun-mate, Crittenton. I just read that Crittenton actually loaded his weapon and cocked it. In a locker room. I’m now thinking he’s not even going to last the month before the Wizards waive him and he’s banished forever from the NBA. Maybe he can call J.R./Isiaah Rider to find out where he played post-NBA.