In the fourth quarter, the Toronto Raptors found the gas pedal they had been searching for all game, and used it to pull away from the dismal Charlotte Bobcats. The home team, which had earlier fumbled away several healthy margins, used an 11-3 run to take a lead they would not relinquish. The Bobcats, down by only a point entering the quarter, managed just one basket and 10 points to finally succumb.
Amir Johnson was an unstoppable force on the glass, pulling down a personal record 21 rebounds while scoring 12 points. He also managed the unusual feat of providing more blocked shots (3) than fouls (2). Amir, who’s a complete afterthought when plays are being drawn up, gets his points on offensive putbacks because of determination, positioning and timing. Last night he embarrassed the ‘Cats big men.
Rudy Gay led the Raps’ scoring with 28. While his turnovers continue to infuriate, he somewhat compensated with an efficient 11 of 16 from the floor, and hit all 5 of his free throws. He also started to show some leadership (or pettiness – both interpretations are possible) by blasting Terrence Ross for a perceived missed assignment. Terrence didn’t hold the public scolding against Rudy, as he later drove and dished to Gay for a easy slam. Ross had a solid game, scoring 9 points with only 5 shots, and finished a team-high +20.
DeMar DeRozan didn’t have much fun on the night, making his only basket with 2 minutes to play. His jump shot wasn’t working, and the ‘Cats defense converged on him when he drove, so he drew fouls but had no and-1 chances. Sebastian Telfair, our backup point guard, outscored the starter, Kyle Lowry, 11 to 7, in fewer minutes. He also dished out more assists. John Lucas never saw the floor; I don’t know why he’s in the doghouse. Jonas Valanciunas seems to enter it every fourth quarter; he had played well, missing only 1 of 6 shots and grabbing 6 boards. However, his fourth foul was the cue for a permanent seat on the bench.
For the Bobcats, Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker scored 22 and 20 points, respectively. The rest of their squad should have stayed in the dressing room. Bismack Biyombo had one defensive rebound in 22+ minutes. He was outplayed by Josh McRoberts…yes, that Josh McRoberts.
The Raps’ next action is Sunday afternoon, against the Miami Heat, who last night won their twenty-first straight game. From the basement to the penthouse for our team.
Brian Boake is a co-editor for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.