February 10, 2013 by slewfeet
TSN tells us Bargnani’s out with flu-like symptoms, making the team considerably less bearded on average. We’ll see how this affects their chemistry, as Amir Johnson will be forced to carry twice the facial hair weight for his position – particularly as Jonas is newly shorn as well. If Dwane Casey is smart, he’ll give Quincy Acy plenty of playing time to balance the load.
Gay misses a big dunk early but picks up the offensive rebound to pitch in the second attempt – clever way to pad his stats. Looks like Landry’s got some competition.
Aaron Gray enters the game for Jonas, and the crowd goes completely indifferent. Right away, Lowry takes a dive to steal the ball and Gay collects it with the chance to set up a trailing Gray. Unsurprisingly, he elects to slam home a crowd-pleasing dunk himself, which is really a shame. If the Hornets had somehow allowed an Aaron Gray alley-oop, I’m pretty sure they’d have just resigned and gone home in humiliation.
Not to worry; Gray sinks his own dunk on the very next play in a slow-motion jump that takes him maybe two inches off the floor in a generous estimate.
Alan Anderson arrives on the scene and makes his first shot, which in his head justifies the next dozen missed shots he’s planning on taking.
The first quarter ends at 32-21 Raptors, and the Hornets have been even worse than expected – and considering they were desperate enough to acquire old friend Dominic McGuire off waivers, we expected them to be pretty awful. They did at least have the sense to waive him themselves within the week though, so there may be hope for them yet.
New Orleans responds with a 12-point run to open the second, following some embarrassing defensive breakdowns by the Raptors. A III from John Lucas stems the bleeding, but the Hornets get it right back to keep a 36-35 lead. Only Lucas can save us now; he’ll hook up with another trey despite wasting half his possession with a slew of fancy dribbling that accomplishes nothing.
Matt Devlin refers to the Hornets as the future Pelicans, and I now really want them to become the New Orleans Future Pelicans. Their logo can be the egg from blank Twitter profiles. Either that or pelicans from the future, I’m not picky.
Ruben, on Monty Williams: “His face isn’t as smooth as his head suggests.”
The third quarter opens with some more momentum for the Hornets, particularly in some easy shots for Robin Lopez. Incidentally, Robin Lopez is the only specimen of Homo erectus still living in the present day.
After some goal horn errors, we’re treated to the fourth run of this Kevin Durant commercial with his lensless glasses. The room agrees unanimously – OKC is the most hipster team in the league.
Despite their struggles, the Raptors are consistently just a bit less awful than the Hornets and are maintaining a 3-5 point lead. It helps that the Hornets are getting a foul on just about every play, giving us plenty of shots of the pitiful face Greivis Vasquez makes whenever a call goes against him.
The stanza ends with a 69-66 lead, which confuses me because I hardly even remember anything happening in it. Did I fall asleep? Landry Fields makes a cameo appearance towards the end, which must be nice for him because he barely exists these days outside of PS Vita commercials.
Spoke too soon – Fields makes a hook shot off the first stretch of productive dribbling Lucas has done all game. Lucas follows it up with consecutive shots to energize the team and salvage a poor shift from the bench.
Jonas makes a jumper from twenty feet, which I think might be the longest shot he’s ever made in the league. Lucas hits a three, Gay makes his own putback, and suddenly the lead is opened up to double digits. On the bench, Kyle Lowry flails around in absolute ecstasy. Dwane Casey, however, remains stern as he has the unenviable job of watching Lucas try to defend Vasquez.
When’s the last time Alan Anderson actually made a pass?
Rudy Gay makes the Raptors’ hundredth point, and Jack Armstrong spends a minute talking about pizza toppings. To be fair to him though, it’s probably the only thing the audience cares about right now.
Hold that thought – Anderson just made a pass. Granted, it was to a Hornet, but we’ll take what we can get from him.
The game ends in a 102-89 win, but I’m not sure it counts if we play the worst team in the league and they play poorly even for their standards. Luckily, a week from now we’ll forget all about it and just remember the score. Well, that and Robin Lopez’s beard, which is burned into our memories forever.
Game Goat: Robin Lopez, for his scraggly facial hair. But among the Raptors, it was probably Terrence Ross, who was ineffective on both ends of the court and deservedly stapled to the bench for the second half.
Game Toad: DeMar DeRozan didn’t accomplish much, but all three of the shots he did make were huge and gave the team some much-needed life. He had four turnovers, but a couple of them were off pretty rough hacks and he was at least better than Erick Gordon.
Game Bench: John Lucas III, who singlehandedly forced the team out of their twenty-minute funk and went five-for-five from downtown. Bonus points for being the only Raptor off the bench who didn’t suck.