Toronto Raptors 115, Seattle Sonics

We lose the one fucking game that everybody thought we could win on this roadtrip. The Sonics who are 12 games under .500 and one of the worst teams in the NBA look like the ’85-86 Boston Celtics and punish the Raptors for a 123-115 win. Yeah, that’s right, they scored 123 points on us in regulation. We were torn to shreds by their passing in the paint and were lazy and disinterested in playing defense especially in transition. Maybe we thought this game belonged to us and Seattle would just lie down and hand over the W but that didn’t happen, just ask Carlos Delfino who doesn’t check whether he’s inbounds or not before taking a critical wide open jumper late in the game.

But it should never come to a fourth quarter comeback when you’re playing a team like Seattle and you profess to be one of the better teams in the NBA. The Sonics were up by 18 points in the fourth quarter and this almost turned into a laugher. If it weren’t for their youth and inexperience they’d win by 25 but they were nice enough to let us back in the game. When it actually counted and we had a chance to really come back, Bosh bobbled the ball and Delfino stepped out. Rookie mistakes from veteran players.

How about that Chris Wilcox demanding the ball pregame and then delivering with power and style over every Raptor forward, for a while there I thought he was Dwight Howard. Or Wally Szczerbiak getting wide open look after wide open look. We might want to cover this fucking guy after his fourth three, no? Carlos Delfino doesn’t think so. Let’s get to Jose Calderon and his stellar OFFENSIVE game of 15 points and 16 rebounds. Why is the offensive in uppercase, it’s because his opposition of Luke Ridnour and Earl Watson had 10/6 and 10/7 which takes their tally to 20 points and 13 assists, pretty much offsetting Calderon. There’s bad defense and then there’s lazy defense, the Raptors perimeter is by nature bad, but when you add the laziness that’s when the shit hits the fan. To finish with Calderon, I absolutely cringe every time we have a 4 on 3 or a 3 on 2 and Calderon pulls the ball back and sets the offense – run the break man!

Let’s talk about transition defense. Did we not have a day off yesterday? Did we fucking run here from Portland instead of flying because that sure is how we played. Kapono, Parker, Bosh, hell everybody was just late getting back on defense despite knowing that Seattle’s obviously trying to speed up the game and make this an up and down affair. The basic rule of defense is that you stay between your man and the basket at all times unless you’re fronting them. That rule just didn’t apply today for the Raptors, how they allowed Nick Collison, Wally Szczerbiak, Jeff Green and everybody else to just beat them down the floor was a thing of beauty if you’re a Seattle fan. However, if you’re a Raptors one (and there were many who wasted their money making the trip from Vancouver), you can only shake your head in disgust and lament why you even tuned into this one.

Kevin Durant’s going to be a great player in this league some day but he’s not great just yet. Doesn’t matter though, the Raptors made sure he got some nice and clean looks to start off the third quarter and get himself into the groove and the Sonics back into the game. Fight through the fucking screens and shove a hand in his face!!! It was damn comical to watch the Sonics make 7 foot passes in the paint to carve open poor Humphries and Bosh who were both oh so quick to crowd the initial receiver that they left the other guy wide open right under the rim. I wanted to pull my hair out and eat it after the fourth time the Sonics did that. The initial penetration by Ridnour and Watson happened so easily that it forced help from the likes of Parker, Delfino and Kapono and they were always late to recover which set the wheels of the Sonics layup drill in motion.

Let me sum this shit up: Bad, no, non-existent transition defense, lazy perimeter defense, lack of a legitimate #2 option, stagnant offensive sets where the only guys who’re ever going to get points in the paint are Bosh/Hump and that to on rare occasion, Jamario Moon getting smoked by everybody on defense, ineffective Bargnani/Rasho and jumper after jumper cost us this game. I remember when Jamario Moon wanted to lock down his man and was focused on just that, now he’s just leaving his man wide open to help on the ball-handler every time which ends up throwing the matchups off, and since the Raptors aren’t good at rotational defense as it is, it makes things a bit of a mess. I just thank God that his stupid block streak came to and end, Swirsky must be devastated.

Coming up on the road we have Phoenix (ouch), San Antonio (oh, no), Houston (revenge mission) and New Orleans (Chris Paul, ‘nuf said) which amounts to a 1-6 roadtrip (this just in, Las Vegas just gave 1-1 odds on this). The Raptors miss an opportunity in Portland and completely blow one in Seattle, suck ass to be a fan right now. I didn’t even mention Bargnani, he had a great game, well, great by his standards: 4 points, 2 rebounds on 2-7FG (28%). Great to see him coming out of his funk. #1 pick indeed. Oh, I’m sorry Bryan, I’m supposed to judge him after 14 years, sorry, my bad.

I’m out.

One-Liners:

* Do you blame the coach if the team is just playing lazy defense?

* What happened to the defense we saw in the second half against the LA Clippers, was that a one-time thing?

* I forgot what Maceo Baston looks like.

* We need to decide if we’re going to help on the opposing point guard or not. Right now we’re helping sometimes and not helping other times resulting in very confused defensive sequences.

* I don’t think Chris Bosh can finish around the rim, I pray for him to get fouled because I know the shot’s not going in.

* Where do you go from here?

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