The Raptors held on for a tough victory tonight over a New York squad that just wouldn’t go away. Despite the Knicks overall record they do have some nice pieces on that team in David Lee and Danilo Gallanari. The Raptors rode a big night from Italian Andrea Bargnani and the Rookie Demar Derozan to a big victory that points the ship in the right direction.
The Zan for three (plus the foul)
Warm up for the Dunk Contest
Demar Derozan was named Friday as one of the contestants in the first ever NBA Dunk-In. Participants would have to win a mini dunk contest of two dunks in order to qualify for the NBA Dunk Contest at All-Star weekend. Derozan showed off some of his moves tonight and had a couple of great alley-oop jams in the first half . He looked more confident and was given more time to become comfortable with his defensive assignment. Derozan ended with 19pts but he went to the line 14 times which should tell you something about how he played. He also got some of his first minutes in the fourth quarter. Don’t these kids grow up so fast?
This was basically a must win for the Raptors. After Monday’s horrific defeat and the ensuing days off, there really wasn’t any other result Raptor Nation would accept. This was simply a must win. The fact that they did it by taking a huge first half lead and with the help of a rookie is something to be excited about. The lead was lost in the second half but the Raptors battled back to reclaim the victory. This was a game to show the league that the Raptors are not a team to be taken lightly come playoff time.
Two – headed monster
In an earlier post my writing partner and I discussed the affects of playing a two headed point guard monster as opposed to a three headed point guard monster. Tonight Jose was on fire as a spot up shooter, Turk performed better with the ball in his hands and Jack took it to the rim. The positives of these three players were made possible because the players played to their individual talents.
In playing all three the Raps took advantage of the defensive setup and created matchup problems all over the court. Hedo controlled the ball more and Jose shot the ball more. This needs to be the game plan more than not for the Raps. Utilizing players in the correct situation leades to wins. Jack, Calderon, Turk need to play at the appropriate time and not all together as it causes confusion on the offensive end and limits effectiveness.
Return of the Mack
Both Jose and Hedo had pretty solid nights. Jose came off the bench to lift the Raptors while Hedo Turkoglu had the ball put into his hands more often and was therefore effecient and productive. He also continued to find ways to get his teammates involved. This is more of what these two players are supposed to be bringing to the table game in and game out. Hedo looked more like the million dollar man out there and the hot shooting Calderon of old has hopefully returned. It is good to have them back.
Zan of the Night
He was on fire tonight. He shot the ball well and celebrated Italian Heritage Night by simply domintating the Knicks. He looked confident, dominant and energetic. His attitude has changed over this last stretch of games. He looks meaner, angrier, and is more consistent. We may see big things yet to come for Bargnani this season.
Not Zan of the Night
Chris Duhon. Have you met the video guy on your team? Have you wached any highlights? Have you done any research? You can blow by Jose Calderon with ease. You need to get more involved in the game. Toight Jack and Calderon did a number on you and there was no excuse for it.
Better luck nexe time, I guess
Zan Tabak Herald