One team has 2 days off and the other team is on the second game of a back to back on the road, and without their starting PF. Well, guess who won the game? Yup, it’s a 4 game win streak.
Toronto: The Raptors were never in any danger after the hot start. You know things are going well, when the new guy is hitting a buzzer beating 3 pointer to take a 15 point lead after 1 quarter. The team has lots of energy to start the game. The Raptors build a big enough lead after the first half and even though the second half wasn’t as well played (especially the 4th quarter, where they are just jacking up shots), it’s still enough to beat a horrible and tired 76ers team. Reggie Evans has 10 rebounds in the first quarter, and 22 overall; just grabbing any rebound that came his way. And he added 12 points. No one on the court could stop him, he just out-works everyone. Bargnani has another 20+ point game, it seems like he is starting to understand that he is the Raptors go to guy. Jose has a very solid game with 16 and 9 in 31 minutes.
Let’s talk about the new guys. Bayless has 13 points in 14 minutes, 3/3 from downtown, which is usually not his strength. He moves well, can get to rim very quickly. When he drives, he looks to score. Over-dribble a couple of times, need to learn when to give up the ball. Defensively, he has the size and speed to defend in this league, did a good job on Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday. However, he did bite on a couple of head fakes, which is something that he needs to work on. A fine debut overall.
Peja didn’t play much but was productive. 7 points in 6 minutes. It looks like that they Raptors will play him as a stretch PF, and running the pick and pop with Jose. He can still knock down shots with his feet set (not so much when it’s off the dribble), but he is a pretty big liability on the defensive end. The 76ers eyes light up when they see him on the court, and attack him at will. He was pulled rather quickly in the 4th quarter. 6 minutes is about the right playing time for him, he could play more depending on match-ups and productions.
Philadelphia: Just an atrocious effort in the first half. The Raptors were scoring in the paint at will. Turnovers, bad shot selections and no one can guard Reggie Evans, which is an amazing thing in itself. Before the season began, I put the 76ers as a playoff team, but I am not sure that’s going to happen now. The team has bad chemistry written all over it. Having Iggy, Turner, Lou Williams, Young, and Holiday seems pretty redundant to me. None of them can shoot particularly well, and all 5 of them look to score with the ball in their hands, rather than finding open teammates. Iggy’s body language is not good. It reminds me of Pau Gasol’s last season with Memphis; frequently upsets when his teammates screws up. Unfortunately, he is not an all-star like Gasol. I do think if Iggy is on the right team, he could be an impact player, but he cannot/should not be a #1 option. He is a poor man’s Scotty Pippen, but he is being forced to play Michael Jordan. The 76ers need to trade asap, because this team isn’t going to win anything with him. Here is the thing about hiring Collins, he is supposed to make this team defend, but the Sixers are not doing that. They haven’t been doing it for the first 14 games or so. This is a team that used to work hard on defense and get points in fast break situation, now they are not even defending.
Next Game at Boston Fri. Probably end of the 4 game winning streak.
Tags: Toronto Raptors