Toronto Raptors 95, Philadelphia 76ers 99

As you finished watching this game the taste in your mouth was probably the Raptors’ fightback falling just short, but it shouldn’t be. It should be the miserable third quarter where we got outscored 34-16 and didn’t play a lick of defense or showed any intensity. Philly on the other end couldn’t do any wrong, maybe the prospect of getting swept by their division mates was motivation enough to step things up – I sure hope the Raptors feel the same way coming up in Boston. After the Hawks game I was relieved that the third quarter bug didn’t finish us off but last night it took us out in cold blood.

One of the problems with the Raptors is that if things come easy for them early, they turn their level of play down and almost feel that their early success will be extrapolated over the entire game. It didn’t matter that we played well in spurts in the first half and the fourth quarter, the game was decided in the third where we couldn’t buy a rebound or a stop, and I don’t remember anybody fighting through a screen or rotating properly which resulted in open lanes to the rim for Dalembert and Iguodala. This is the quarter where it felt like Philly got an offensive rebound every time they missed a shot and converted on their second chance. Kris Humphries or Andrea Bargnani couldn’t keep Philly of the boards and even the reliable Bosh fell asleep on box outs. We went ice cold from the field and made bad passes that were picked off, here’s the offensive stretch to finish off the third quarter. It was like we got hit by a train.

4:46 Jamario Moon misses layup
4:43 Jamario Moon makes tip shot
4:13 Jose Calderon misses layup
3:13 Chris Bosh misses 16-foot jumper
2:33 Rasho Nesterovic misses 13-foot jumper
2:06 Chris Bosh bad pass (Andre Iguodala steals)
1:50 Jason Smith blocks Juan Dixon's layup
1:28 Joey Graham misses 15-foot jumper
0:51 Jamario Moon misses 23-foot three point jumper

If you notice more than a 24 second difference between offensive possessions it’s probably because Philly was owning us on the offensive boards on the other end. When the third finally ended, we were down by 20 and the game was practically over. Juan Dixon and CB4 led a fourth quarter fight back which would’ve been almost complete had Anthony Parker drained a left-wing three but God was smiling on Philly and it rimmed out. Bosh explained why the comeback fell short:

“It was just way too big of a deficit. Being the team we are, we’re going to try to force the issue and come back until the end, but you can’t dig a hole that big and expect to climb out.”

Game over, week wasted. Let me tell you why.

This was supposed to be an easier week for us and good judgment told us that we should go 3-1 and go 2 more games over .500. Instead we finish 2-2 and completely waste the golder opportunity to climb in the standings, it’s like we took zero advantage of the schedule, something that we must do in order to secure a reasonable playoff seeding. The Sacramento and Atlanta wins went all for naught and the week as a whole was a disappointment because when it came down to it, we couldn’t take advantage of the schedule.

I saw this game on a raptorsnation.net stream (props to aRapsFan4Eva) on mute because I was at a party and the only one stuck to a computer, needless to say I looked like a loser. Anyway, point being that I probably missed a lot of stuff here and there that one absorbs when watching on a big TV so I’m not sure how to read things. But despite my limited viewing resources it did appear that Bargnani sucked ass yet again. The box score backs me up on this by reading 12 minutes, 3 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals and 3 personal fouls. Fuckin ‘eh. You don’t have to be an analyst to realize that a line like that can only mean that you had zero impact on the game and judging by the personal fouls, likely had a negative one. Bargnani’s fondness of rebounding has never been that great but how can a 7 footer not grab a single rebound?!? From what I saw of him in the third quarter, Reggie Evans and Dalembert were going around him (and Bosh) to grab offensive boards with seeming ease. There’s nothing much to say about Bargnani except that I should probably expect zilch out of him and shouldn’t be pissed off, but something about him being the #1 pick tells me otherwise. Anybody see that foul he picked up bumping Miller, does this man even know the rules?? Imagine how solid we’d be if he gave us 18 and 8 every night like he was expected to coming into this year. I can even convince myself to look past the horrendous play but what frustrates me even more is that I don’t see the needed effort or intensity from him. Based on his demeanor and play, it almost looks like he’s not even bothered by his struggles.

On the bright side (and you really have to look hard) Jamario Moon had a great game on both ends, 17 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and a block from the D-League scrub (contrast this to Il Mago) drove the Raptors in the first half where they allowed a Philly team to hang around. Lapses in their defense allowed Philly way too many easy baskets and instead of probably being up by 8 or 9, we were down 2. If you watched the first half you’ll know that Philly was right there for the taking. They weren’t playing defense and were spotty on offense, unfortunately the Raptors matched them on both ends. I thought CB4 should’ve gotten Dalembert out of the game early by drawing some fouls but chose to stay passive. Dalembert didn’t pick up his third foul until 10 seconds left in the game. If you allow him to stay in the game, he will kill you. And he did.

On another note, Joey Graham and Juan Dixon had strong offensive games which is great news because they’re both probably being showcased for a trade. I have a question, how bad is Maceo Baston in practice? Let’s put this guy on the floor and see what he can do for us. Let’s match him up against Evans or even Dalembert and at least see what he can do, let’s see just exactly how bad he is or whether he’s actually deserving of one of the 450 best jobs in the world.

The Raptors should return home with a DVD of the third quarter and watch it over and over and over again until they get so angry at themselves that they’ll never dare to repeat that performance.


One-Liners:

* Nobody talk about fatigue being an excuse, just like the Raptors, Philly’s starters played extended minutes last night in Boston.

* An inexcusable loss which falls entirely on lackadaisical play, lack of intensity and horrible defense. I don’t think there’s any reason to point the finger at the coach, this game was lost on the floor, in the third quarter.

* We lost by 4 and missed 5 FTs. I know it’s unfair to point to this as the reason we lost but we’ve been missing some FTs lately and today it came back to haunt us. Having 16 turnovers (4 by Calderon) didn’t help much either.

* Delfino + Kapono + Humphries = 2 points. Carlos needs to stop flopping and play some defense, this disease is carrying over to Joey Graham who instead of playing defense and challenging a shot opts to draw a charge. The NBA needs to fix this because a) it’s stopping potent offensive players and giving advantage to scrubs and b) it’s encouraging flopping.

* Check our Rasho’s statline. He literally didn’t do anything. Iguodala and Evans dominated us on the boards when it mattered (3rd quarter) and in that crucial stretch our bigs fell short.

* Calderon and Parker’s defense on Andre Miller and Willie Green was atrocious. Parker is the king of running back to put a hand up in vain while Calderon allowed Miller to blow by him simply too many times. Make the man shoot the J and see how far he gets before you start showing him respect. No?

* Yes, Anthony Parker struggled but let’s not start saying that his career is over and he’s a washed up flash-in-the-pan. He had a bad game but so did Calderon, Bargnani, Nesterovic, Delfino, Kapono and Humphries.

* I’ll be posting more often (not just on gamedays).

* If you missed the Podcast #3 where I touched on how easy the schedule is (shows what I know) check the podcast page.

Pissed off tonight.

Tags: , , , , ,