POUND THE ROCK STARS - On a nightly basis, no matter how good or bad the Raps play, no matter if they blow out a team or if they get blown out and no matter if they win or lose, these are the Raptors with the best 'Pound the Rock' status for the night.
FINAL SCORE: RAPTORS 97, MAGIC 86 SEASON RECORD: 3W-7L
POUND THE ROCK STAR #1: JOSE CALDERON
LINE: 9 pts (3-8), 18 ast
Being on the receiving end of Celtics Rajon Rondo’s 20 assists in a Raptors loss clearly influenced Jose’s performance in the Raptors win against Orlando a day later. As impressive as the 18 assists from Jose Calderon are the mere 2 turnovers he gave up make it all the more amazing. Many including myself have viewed Calderon as the point guard to slow things down when coming off the bench behind Kyle Lowry. Truth be told that was only part of the equation yesterday afternoon. Calderon did in fact take his time getting to half court when running the offence on most possessions, but sped things up dramatically with a game of hot potato which ended with him getting his teammates great 3 point opportunities, layups and alley-oops. Another undeniable truth is the Raptors have two starting point guards. With Kyle Lowry out, the silver lining is that Jose Calderon will get more playing time and build his confidence. This also great because when Lowry returns Jose will have had time to once again find his comfort zone.
POUND THE ROCK STAR #2: DEMAR DEROZAN
LINE: 20 pts (8-16), 3-5 FT, 9 reb
After scoring a tough 10 points in a loss to the Celtics just a day earlier, DeMar DeRozan bottled up the anger and let loose on the Magic. DeRozan had 14 points by halftime and was mixing up his game with jumpers and layups leaving the Orlando defence unsure as to how they should guard him. Leading the Raptors with 9 rebounds earned the right way by coming to help teammates on defence and forcing opponents to take bad shots. The way DeMar is playing should make the next 3 games on the Raptors schedule (76ers, Bobcats and Pistons) very winnable. A 4-0 winning streak would not be easy with 3 of those games being on the road. Then again, 1 of those wins are already out of the way and ending the week with a 6-7 record would have everyone who has anything to do with the Raptors grinning from ear to ear.
POUND THE ROCK STAR #3: ANDREA BARGNANI
LINE: 17 pts (7-19), 5 reb
Even though Bargnani had 11 points in the first half and only 6 in the second, similar to DeMar DeRozan he left Orlando defenders scrambling. With his pump fakes, made jumpers and drives to the basket Magic players who have had years to adapt to Bargnani's skill set never really knew what to expect. Andrea did miss shots he would normally make as the game continued, but his presence on the court as a legitimate threat indirectly helped Linas Kleiza and Amir Johnson have great games coming off the bench. This appears to be the most level headed I've seen Andrea Bargnani in years. He knows he is no longer solely responsible for leading this team to victory which alleviates some of the pressure and prevents him from forcing up bad shots as the got to guy at the end of close games. He may never admit it but the better his teammates play the better he plays.
SHOUTOUTS TO THE MAGIC:
GLEN "BIG BABY" DAVIS
LINE: 16 pts (8-17), 12 reb
All-Star Dwight Howard is gone. Coach Stan Van Gundy and General Manager Otis Smith were fired. It has not been easy for the Orlando Magic as of late. With those type of dark clouds following them everywhere it is sure to be a distraction on and off the court. To make things worse after two early season wins, the Orlando Magic went on a 5 game losing streak. For Glen 'Big Baby' Davis though, he seems to be focused with his eyes on the road. Win or lose he is keeping on track averaging 15 points and 8 rebounds becoming the Magic's anchor. Checking the Orlando Magic's roster stats it's clear they are not short of scorers, but not all as consistent as Davis. Glen Davis did all he could against the Raptors which is what he always does. Just so happens it wasn't enough.
Next up for the Raps: @ Philadelphia (Tuesday)
(Photo via Yahoo! Sports)
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