I am back and the Raptors are winning!!!

Well, the month long vacation is over (sadly), but during that time, something happened, the Raptors become (dare to say it) a good team.

My last post was December 13 after the Houston game, and since then the Raptors’ record is 8-3. Of course, 8-1 in the last 9.

So what happened?

Well, defense, duh.

Ok, they did face some inferior competition (New Jersey, Philly, Charlotte, Detroit twice), but it’s one thing to have an easier schedule, it’s another to take advantage of it.

So let’s look at the defense. John Hollinger wrote something on Tuesday that explains this in a statistic point of view:

Toronto’s defensive efficiency in the 15 games since the Atlanta debacle is a healthy 102.9, which would rank 13th in the league for the full season. And it hasn’t been because of opponents missing foul shots — in fact, even with the San Antonio numbers, Toronto’s opponents have shot 77.7 percent from the stripe over the past 15 games, well better than the league average. If anything, the Raps have been unlucky in this respect.

Instead, the Raps have made it much harder for opponents to make shots. They’re allowing just 43.7 percent shooting from the floor and a measly 29.4 percent on 3s. The latter figure is probably a fluke, helped along by Houston’s 3-for-24 disaster on Dec. 13, but the overall picture is that the Raptors concede easier shots with much less frequency than they used to.

Well, how did they do it?   Couple of things happened:

Bargnani’s improvement on defense. This is huge, I was watching last night’s game and this isn’t the same Bargnani I saw earlier in the season. He’s actually at the right spot in rotation, helping his teammates instead of having a confused look on his face. Sure he isn’t perfect, but he is far better right now than he was during the 5 games losing streak.

Another reason? Sonny Weems added to the rotation. He struggled lately with his shot, but he is a pretty solid defender and actually works on that end.

Of course with Calderon hurt, Jack gets more PT and defends better. Marcus Banks wasn’t as horrible in a backup role as I expected.

The team also made some adjustment, playing closer attention to 3 point shooters against teams with good 3 point shooters, while giving other teams more room to shoot if they are a bad shooting team.

Meanwhile, the offense is still top 5 in the league.

I have said it before, if the Raptors can play league average defense, they can win a lot of games because the offense is so good. Right now, the Raptors still have the worst defense in the league, but it’s no longer the worst of all-time and if this continues, it won’t be the worst in the league.

Let’s also be realistic, this team will never be a great defensive team The best they can do is be average, but average is enough for this team.

I would also want to say something about Chris Bosh.

While I was away, Bosh became the all-time leading scorer for the Raptors. I think he is the best player ever played for the Raptors. A lot of people disagree and say Vince Carter. I respect their opinion but Bosh is playing at a level that could earn him a spot in the first all NBA team. Bosh has always worked hard, and give 100% in effort. This is something I don’t think Vince Carter can say. Carter may have more natural talent, but talent isn’t everything. Bosh knew he needs to get stronger, so he worked hard in the off-season with his strength and conditioning. It shows in statistic, he hasn’t slowed down at all. His PER is at 26.42, which is number 3 in the league right now. The Raptors could be the worst team in the league without Bosh.

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2 Responses to “I am back and the Raptors are winning!!!”

  1. Brothersteve Says:

    Well Bosh does own most of Carters records now.

    If he re-signs with the Raps, the issue will just go away!

    • pchu1234 Says:

      If Bosh doesn’t re-sign with the Raps, they are in big trouble. We will be a lottery team with horrendous contracts.

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