The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Normally a 20 point win in Cleveland would make me cream my pants

Posted by Arsenalist on October 8, 2008

After a sluggish and defense-free first half where the Raptors gave up 28 points in the only meaningful quarter, we got our act together and led a third quarter charge ignited by our starters and finished off by our bench. The bench led the assault with Will Solomon and Andrea Bargnani netting 17 and 15, respectively. Mitchell let Solomon play a game-high 32 minutes and he preformed well under constant pressure from the Cavaliers defense (Mo Williams), something which was great early on but eased off as the evening wore on and the enthusiasm for the game shifted into truer presason-mode. Check out the highlights and a good CBS game report.

From all accounts it appears that Bargnani looked confident in his approach while Jermaine O’Neal was working hard at shedding the rust off of his 29 year old body. Andrea Bargnani was a big positive as he led the team in rebounding with 8. At the end of the day its pre-season and the only thing you can read into this performance is that we showed up to win the game and not just stretch our muscles. Its a good approach to have from Day One and hopefully the effort that was present in this game is maintained throughout the season. As Sam Mitchell points out:

“We have a lot of work to do … but we got better as the game progressed. We made a lot of mistake defensively, especially in that first quarter. We can’t give up 28 points in the first quarter. But the effort was there.”

When was the last time a Raptors team was commended for consistent effort? Let’s move on and if you’d like more on the game maybe you can check out Dime’s take on it. This game does remind us of something: our big-man situation is quite enviable, with Chris Bosh, Jermaine O’Neal, Andrea Bargnani and a resurgent Kris Humphries I think this was the first time in a long time that I felt we could hold our own against the Cleveland bigs (Wallace, Big Z and Varejao). Again, its one game but its better to win than to lose.

Bryan Colangelo is comparing Andrea Bargnani with Danilo Gallinari and disagrees that Gallinari is a better prospect. Colangelo’s argument seems to be based on size alone and sounds damn sure that Bargnani is the better player and will have a better career. I think Gallinari’s a different type of player, he’s quicker and more athletic than Bargnani but is almost a prototypical small forward. Bargnani on the other hand has the unorthodox tools to be successful in different situations and can pose matchup problems on a nightly basis, the only question is whether he’ll be able to refine his technical skill and play with a confident approach so that he may utilize his God-given advantages.

Charley Rosen’s Atlantic preview has us finishing third in the division and the best case scenario for the team is deemed to be a second-round appearance. Obviously he’s more sold on Philly and Brand than on the Raptors and O’Neal. Check what he says:

..the roster remains top-heavy with shooters: Marshmallow-soft Andreas Bargnani. High-flying Jamario Moon. And Jason Kapono, who has no other NBA qualifications. Only Anthony Parker has a complete game, and is in fact one of the league’s most underrated players.

I would normally agree with that assessment but I’m going to give Bargnani the benefit of the doubt right now. Let’s see how he’s improved, I don’t think Rosen would’ve made a comment like this after Bargnani’s rookie season and given all the talk of improvement around the kid I think he deserves another shot. Besides, Rosen isn’t exactly a Raptors fan. Kapono is perceived as a a one-trick pony around the NBA but as we saw in the playoffs last year he can do more than just catch and shoot. This is where Sam Mitchell comes in and hopefully helps elevate a player’s game.

As for Anthony Parker, the problem with him is that he’s old. He’s 33 right now and seems to tire out in the fourth quarter and starts front-rimming his jumpers and FTs. That’s really the biggest knock on the guy, he’s a good player who’s playing beyond his means – 32+ minutes last year is stretching the guy to his outer limits. He’s probably the most complete guard we have and we’d all be even more happy to have him if he was 25.

I think that’s all I got today. There’s not much going on. Greg Oden made his debut for the Blazers. Is he eligible for Rookie of the Year this year?

15 Responses to “Normally a 20 point win in Cleveland would make me cream my pants”

  1. Tunez said

    “and given all the talk of improvement around the kid I think he deserves another shot”

    Is the Arse going soft on Bargs?? Can it be??

    And what’s Rosen’s beef with the Raptors… is it the typical “Canadian team” BS? He’s always cutting up Bosh at any chance, and putting down the Raps any other time

  2. AltRaps said

    Yup, Oden is eligible since he didn’t play a game last year.

  3. […] – The Arsenalist […]

  4. fluxland said

    I think you mean Dime instead of SLAM, Arse.

    Rosen is calling Andrea Andreas… riiiight. I do however agree with him on Bosh – highly overrated.

    And I see we are up to the old patented “let’s give up 30 points in the 1st” and dig ourselves out of a hole shenanigan. Some things never change. Then again.. it’s one MEANINGLESS preseason game.

    From the highlights : is CB4 a SG now? and 6 TOs for Will? Hope that’s not a sign of things to come.

    Regarding Gully – I really want to know the extent of his back injury. This has been going on for a long time and it seems NY is keeping things under wraps. That kid may be done.

  5. me said

    eeeew at the title. seriously.

  6. Arsenalist said

    Sorry, yeah it is DIME. I don’t think Gallinari’s done, I would think the Knicks did their due diligence before making that pick but I wouldn’t be shocked if they didn’t. After all its the Knicks. Flux, he took a few jumpers but c’mon its preseason.

    Tunez – I’m warming up to the guy’s preseason work ethic. I have a tendency to give people second chances.

  7. fluxland said

    Yeah .. I know. : ) I don’t know I just don’t like Bosh shooting jumpers. Everytime he does I am/was holding my breath.

    Hey! You better stop the Anthony Parker excuse wagon now! :P He’s only coming off his rookie season..LOL!!

    Should I (we) hang back with the comments while you sort things out?

  8. Raps Fan said

    i don’t mind bosh shooting a couple jumpers, just to keep the defense honest, but anymore then 4 a game, and my blood boils. he can take any 4/5 off the dribble, with him popping j’s, it eliminates the penetration, and potential foul trouble he can put people in.

  9. fluxland said

    Yeah, Raps Fan….that’s pretty much where I’m at. I go into bananas mode when he starts taking those jumpers in the 4th or with 2 minutes to go. I suppose the counter argument is that he should have a jumper as banging over the years will wear him down.. but still… the jumper makes me nervous. And I am not even getting into the 3 point shooting.

  10. khandor said

    re: Gallinari’s back injury

    Saw him working out yesterday on

    The Knicks’ management team is being extra careful with him this season.

    Don’t be surprised to see him in the D-League for a good stretch this season, if not the entire year.

    Not to worry, though … for those latent Knicks fans who might be lurking here (Arsenalist?) … the Big Rooster is going to be just fine down-the-road apiece for this re-building franchise.

    Two seasons from today … it would not surprise me in the least to see the Knicks ahead of the Raptors in the Atlantic standings during the latter stages of the 2010-2011 campaign. Not in the least.

  11. FAQ said

    60-22 … yeah raptors ….!!!!

  12. magix said

    rudy fernandez and oden will be the 2 fighting for the rookie of the year award
    8 boards for bargs is good especially against a cavs team that has great
    ilgauskas varajao b.wallace
    rebounders and will solo-mon will play his 15 mins at least until January

  13. Dave said

    I was watching some of those Blazers highlights from last night and Rudy Fernandez …. wow …. brought me out of my seat 5 or 6 times with some of the passes he was making. The first one on the highlight real Rudy ran a pick and roll high on the right wing, Aldridge cut to the basket, the defender stopped halfway between the ball and the man as Aldridge rolled to the hoop, he was cutting off the passing angle decently well, so Rudy throws a bounce pass between his legs perfectly in stride for Aldridge. Slam dunk. It was beautiful. He had 5 or 6 passes that were just special. Martell Webster got three dunks because of Rudy. I think Aldridge got two.

    The Raps need a wing with that type of creativity and offensive versatility.

    I doubt Rudy gets involved in the RoY race though. My expectations have remained fairly constant since mid last season, and that’s a year similar to Manu’s rookie season. It was something like 7ppg, 2apg, 2rpg … but very good performances off the bench and clearly a man with possibilities for stardom. Someone who stands out off the bench and can do special things on the court. Better than his numbers suggest … but also someone who bought into his role completely and played it to a very high level. Biggest problems for Rudy and RoY are (1) minutes (2) touches (3) shots.

    Greg Oden is my frontrunner for RoY. I heard he looked good, looked good in the highlights too. Drew 9 fouls in 20 minutes. That’s a man that’s going to cause problems.


    Why do you think Gallinari will spend a good chunk of the year in the D-League? Is the injury that bad?

    I read the Knicks were considering sending Gallinari down there at the start of the season, but only because he would have missed camp and needed some game time to get back in game shape.

  14. khandor said



    i) The atmosphere around the Knicks this season, at least, until the dust settles regarding the whole ‘what to do with steph’ situation, might still be toxic … and, nothing close to what you’d want to drop a young stud like Gallinari into without trepidation;

    ii) See what Greg Oden’s done with the extra year he’s had to train and better prepare himself for the rigors [i.e. physical, mental & emotional] of the NBA.

    Based on what limited footage I’ve seen from Gallinari, thus far, he has the skill set and the body to be a ‘Larry Bird-like’ player for his team, in the NBA. What will determine how far he goes, is what he has for brains and what’s beating inside his chest.

    When he finally makes his debut, it’s important that the environment which surrounds him, in the Big Apple of all places, is nothing like the circus atmosphere which permeates the team at present.

    [As a point of comparison, just imagine if Oden had gone to Portland at the height of ‘Jailermania’?]

    Until the Knicks improve, there’s simply no reason/need to rush the kid, who is going to be the cornerstone of their franchise for the next 10-15 years.

  15. khandor said

    FWIW, there hasn’t been a Forward in the NBA with the passing creativity that Rudy Fernandez showed in that single game since Larry Legend plied his trade nightly in this League.

    In conjunction with his other highly developed skills, his aptitude for the game, his apparent work ethic, and his overall athleticism … this kid, too, is going to be a very special player in the NBA.

    There’s a very good reason that GOLD MEDAL GAME in Beijing was as close as it was in that 4th Quarter.

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