Last night the Raptors broke their 10 game losing streak against the Pistons as Toronto took advantage of the fact that Detroit didn’t play any of their starters more than 30 minutes.
My love-hate relationship with Mike James continued last night. During the past couple of weeks I had started to hate the game of James as he forced shots late in games that was costing the Raptors wins. Last night however he only took 16 shots all night and was the pass first point guard I want him to be. James still managed to “get his” as he scored the Raptors last 14 points of the game.
Following the game James told the media gathered around his locker that, “Whatever it takes to win, I’m just thankful that we were able to pull one out tonight. That’s still a good team, even though they rested a lot of their starters, they’re still a good team. Their bench is going to have to step up in the playoffs to help them win a championship. Even though we played a lot against their second unit, it doesn’t matter, you still have a performance to go out there, you still have to play and those guys still have contracts. We still have to play the Detroit Pistons. I’m glad we played well enough to get a victory tonight.”
It looks like Jose Calderon found his confidence. During the past month the Spaniard’s been getting down on himself whenever he’s made a mistake on the court but last night he looked to be having fun again. He made some impressive passes to teammates and he didn’t look hesitant with the rock. As the season winds down one of the priorities for the Raptors has to be the re-building of Calderon’s shattered confidence. If Calderon can end the season on a high note there’s a possibility he could our starting point guard next season which would allow Bryan Colengelo to spend his money on a big man rather than split it on a point guard and a center. Calderon finished the game with 9 dimes, 6 points and just 1 turnover in 24 minutes of playing time.
Mitchell noticed the improved play from his rookie point guard and told the media following the game that, “I thought Jose came in and ran the show and made some good decisions, he had nine assists and only one turnover.”
With two game remaining in the season Raptors fans have to consider this season a success. In training camp we were predicted to be the worst team in the League and after going 1-15 in November Raptors fans were ready for the worst this season. Instead we saw a young team start to gel and there was even talk about a playoff run at one point in the second half. As this young team continues to mature and gel together I think the playoffs are going to happen sooner rather than later for the Raptors.
Sat 04/15/06, 8:23 am EST