Andrea Bargnani's reaction after he hit what could've very well been the gave-saving 3-pointer was epic. The last time he showed that much outward, obvious emotion of sheer joy was probably when he signed his contract in the summer, or when he got to do that Italian pasta commercial. In all seriousness though, that brute emotion running back down the court and doing the whole jump-and-bodychecking-his-teammates in happiness thing not once - but - twice was exemplary of just how much this game meant to the Raptors, and to the win streak as a whole.
You can't take away any of the wins before tonight as every one was earned, but let's face it, only the New Orleans game that went down to the final minutes in Toronto was one that truly tested the Raptors. They were down 5-6 games below .500 so its not as if the Raptors had anything to be proud about anyway, but that four game win streak before tonight was delightful if not expected (then again, you just have no idea with this team). But this...this game against Charlotte was the first time since facing the Hornets that a good team (regardless of their record) took us down to the wire on our home court and how the Raptors responded really gave a better indication of this team's bonding/chemistry/whatever you want to call it. They've grown.
So to beat the Bobcats, who absolutely destroyed and embarrassed us back in Charlotte earlier, is huge. And that's a huge understatement. In that way, this game was much more important and tougher than it looked on paper. It's officially a legitimate win-streak now - take that as you may. Now I can smile instead of gulp if I read on ESPN NBA's headline somewhere "streaking Raptors" or "surging Raptors".
Losing Turkoglu in the first half evened things out a bit as the Bobcats are missing Chandler, and other players had to step up, and step up they did - from the quirky, mind boggling plays of Ginobili..er..Belinelli, all the way up to Marcus Banks, whose confrontation with Gerald Wallace had to, HAD TO have had an effect on the Raps. It definitely rose the tension up a few notches and got things more heated.
I can't speak enough about the demolition that Chris Bosh is putting on other teams, night in night out; particularly the offensive rebounds in the clutch, and the aggressive drives to the hoop rather than settling for the jumper. Or how everyone contributed to a bona-fide victory. I'm just enjoying every second of it, and tomorrow will wake up and smell the coffee..and smile while reading up Raptors related posts all over the web for the last time this year.