Say this for this year's Raptors -- they certainly are starting to learn their lessons fast.
Three days after too many uncharacteristic miscues cost them a winnable game against the Utah Jazz, the Raptors found themselves in a similar position again last night facing the Charlotte Bobcats.
Despite taking a three-point lead into the locker room at the half, the Raps were by no means feeling good about their play -- particularly after a second quarter when they were outscored 26-19.
By head coach Sam Mitchell's count, they allowed at least 14 points on plays where guys were not thinking or remembering what their job was.
This time, instead of continuing to make those miscues, the Raptors turned things around in the second half. The Raps held a Bobcats club that had been hitting at a nearly 60% success rate from the field in the first 24 minutes to just eight points in the third quarter on their way to a 105-84 win.
Chris Bosh, who spent the majority of the first half on the bench with early foul trouble, was somewhat surprised by Mitchell's halftime speech.
"He just told us we had to wake up," Bosh said.
"We weren't playing well. We knew. That's the thing about it. He just let us know and then backed off a little bit and basically challenged us and we responded."
Bosh came back from his early foul trouble to pour in 14 second-half points for 20 in just over 24 mintues.
"I know foul trouble happens," Bosh said. "It's the first game I've had trouble all year. You just have to take it as a loss in the first half and regroup and come back and act like nothing happened."
Bosh watched Carlos Boozer take that very same approach on Friday night in Utah's win over Toronto and following the same script managed to come out and be effective in the second half.
The other big change in the third quarter was that the Raptors went to a zone defence and basically shut down the Bobcats.
"I just felt we were fouling too much playing man-to-man," Mitchell said. "They were a little quicker than we were. For whatever reason we were playing defence with our hands instead of our feet. We just felt like we would give them a different look, if even for a few possessions."
The eight points by an opponent in the quarter not only was a Bobcats franchise low but also a low for a Raptors opponent in a quarter this season.
The Raptors were without their starting point guard T.J. Ford last night, who was scratched from the lineup (sore right ankle) following the pre-game shootaround.
Ford said the pain he has been playing with just became unmanageable yesterday.
In his place, Jose Calderon gave the Raptors everything they could ask with a season-high 19 points and 11 assists in a team-high 40:15.
Calderon was asked after the game if he felt that was his best game of the year.
"I don't know," Calderon said. "We won. For me every game we win is my best game. I just try to win every day. That's our job."
B Offence: A 37-point first quarter without Chris Bosh for half the frame was impressive but a second-quarter lapse brought the grade down somewhat.
B Defence: Like the offence, the defence was good one quarter and only so-so the next. The B probably is generous but holding any team to eight points in a quarter deserves recognition.