Monday, October 18, 2010

The Rook Checks In!

Raptors shine against Suns, Lakers crumble?

Do you think if the Raptors were really polite they could send a letter to David Stern and ask him if he’d consider matching the Raptors and Suns up all 82 games this season? Probably not. However, through two games against the Suns the Raptors have taken control winning by 51 and most recently 21.

It’s obvious at least for now that the Phoenix Suns are in trouble once they make a substitution to their starting five. The Raptors bench clearly had the upper hand on the Suns all night while Phoenix gave up a big second quarter lead once again to drop their record to 1-4 in the preseason.

Linas Kleiza lead the way for the Raptors with 23 points and eight rebounds while Jarrett Jack continued to prove why he deserves the starting role at point guard with a 17 point five assist night including one dime to the aforementioned Kleiza.

A few notes from Sunday’s game:

Andrea Bargnani woke up in a big way for the Raptors going 7-12 for 15 points after a horrid start to the preseason. He also finished with five rebounds and two steals.

DeMar DeRozan continued his furious preseason play attacking the rim and getting to the line six times.

Amir Johnson made himself look like a steal in free-agency going 8-9 for 17 points and 11 rebounds in just 24 minutes of play. And his plus minus rating? A monster +20.

The bench was huge for the Raptors accounting for 54 of their 121 points.

Former Raptor Hedo Turkoglu was welcomed ‘home’ on Sunday afternoon to Toronto.

When asked how it felt to be back at ‘home’ in Toronto Turkoglu replied, “I’ve never seen a home like this before.” He also was booed by his head coach Alvin Gentry during pre-game warm-up and returned the favor to the crowd by booing them while sitting at the scorer’s table waiting to check in to the game.

What’s next for the Raps?
Next up the Raptors take on the Chicago Bulls at home on Wednesday night. The last time the Raptors played the Bulls they were beat, and beat bad. The Raptors had no answer for speedy guard Derrick Rose and his point guard ability. The one bright spot for the Raptors; the Bulls are 0-3 so far in the preseason on the road while Toronto is 2-1 at the ACC in October.

Other NBA news:

The Lakers took on the Jazz last night at the Staples Center. Without Deron Williams who’s lost to injury the Jazz were still able to pull off the preseason ‘upset’ thanks in LARGE part to rookie Gordon Hayward who finished with 26 points on 8-10 shooting and a blistering 10-11 from the free-throw line.

Weird fact: Since losing the opening game of their 2008 preseason the Orlando Magic have not another preseason game. That marks a two year span with no losses – impressive for a team that finds a way to lose when it matters most.

Another weird fact: During the Raptors 900+ consecutive game streak with a three pointer a lot has happened. The iPod was invented, YouTube was invented, the Hybrid Car has been invented and the Bluetooth device came into stores. The streak is over 10 years now and during that time the Raptors have shut out eight teams from hitting a three while knocking down 5,603 three-point field goals of their own.

Pretty impressive for a team that doesn’t turn a lot of heads!

I just want to give a shout out to Sharone Wright, the newest member of The NBA Breakdown. He’s been around the league for a while, and while I’m The Rook, I guess you could call him The Vet!

Make sure you check out his work, so far it’s been amazing to read!


Be sure to follow Mat on Twitter!

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