Clearly, it was a bad sports day for Philadelphia yesterday. It's unclear how the city will handle the decisive loss suffered by the re-vamped 76ers at the hands of your Toronto Raptors.
It wasn't really close, although the 76ers closed it to within six a couple times in the fourth quarter. Impressively, the Raps always had an answer and local bouncy-bouncy fans should wake up today feeling just a little bit better about the world.
Should we plan the parade route (because we all know that T.O. sports fans are incapable of keepin' it real. Just ask the toy department at the TorStar). Well, no, but it was a pretty nice little basketball game.
First the good. Chris Bosh. Double-double. What else is new? Well, CB4 looked just a little bit better than he has ever looked in a Raps uniform last night. His 27 points, 11 rebound night was statistically on par with what you would expect, but he just looked...meaner. It was great.
Maybe it was because of Jermaine O'Neal, who was two rebounds away from a double-double of his own. Although it would have been nice to see O'Neal more consistently asserting himself as a force there were flashes. One third quarter get-the-fudge-out-of-my-way slam jumps to mind.
But, in some ways, those positives were expected. The real bonus of last night was the unexpected good stuff. That would be the hot shooting of Jason Kapono (6 for 8; 3 for 4 from three, for 15 points) and, to a point, the play of back-up point guard Roko Ukic (zero turnovers, nothing else matters. Well, as said, to a point).
But the best part of last night? They won. Forget the it's-only-October attitude. Almost every expert is picking Philly one spot above Toronto in the east. If the Raps are to prove those experts wrong, they are going to have to beat those teams. Getting a win, on the road, against a divisional opponent is huge. No matter when the game takes place.
There wasn't a lot of bad to focus on, but Jamario Moon was mostly invisible and Ukic was frightening on defense (Roko, please don't foul a 76er shooting behind the arc. Philly can't shoot. OK? Good). There was also that pesky 56-33 rebound disadvantage, but that's just getting old.
Oh, and and no one had onions while shooting from downtown Trenton while getting some salami and cheese. But that's just me.