Indiana Pacers 122, Toronto Raptors 111

I want to puke. I just want to hurl and get this sick nauseating feeling out of my stomach. A home loss to the Pacers missing Jermaine O’Neal, Jamal Tinsley and Danny Granger to end the “easy” month of February at 7-5. Why are we surprised? We really shouldn’t be, this is the most inconsistent team in the league, it fools people into thinking that they’re good (just ask John Hollinger) when they’re just a bad defensive team which exclusively relies on the jumper and has trouble maintaining effort across games. We’re used to the dependency on the jumper, but the non-existing defensive effort can never be excused.

We might as well have had a gimp playing defense on Travis Diener, Troy Murphy or Mike Dunleavy because God knows that Jamario Moon, Jose Calderon and Anthony Parker can’t guard them for shit. The perimeter defense was the worst that it has ever been. I don’t recall a game where it was as bad. It was embarrassing to watch Murphy and Dunleavy get 3-pt play after play after blowing by our perimeter 3′s (Parker/Moon/Graham) with ease. I can’t stress this enough, they pulled their pants down, used the shiniest of vaselines and let it rip. There’s really no other simpler way of putting this. They fucking killed us.

Let’s get to tonight’s key play and if you saw the game you know what it is. After Indiana was pummeling the Raptors by 16 midway through the third, the Raptors found some pride, played a little defense and went on a 15-0 run kick-started by Bargnani and Parker. We managed to cut the lead to one and got the ball back. That’s when Jamario Fucking Moon managed to use his arm to clear out Kareem Rush while the ball was still in the backcourt. Turnover. Momentum gone. Indiana goes on a 10-2 run. Back to square one. Fuck. Moon has been playing D-League level basketball over the past little while, yeah he had a good game against the T’Wolves but he’s not doing the job that he was hired to do. He doesn’t play defense, that play where Dunleavy almost tore his ankle at the top of the three point line epitomized just exactly how bad his defense is. The guy can’t keep his body-weight even and defenders are exploiting it. Plus, he’s it’s become super-easy for players to make him leave his feet. Horrible game by Moon. Just brutal.

For all the perceived depth on this squad, without Chris Bosh we’re a lottery team. It’s cool to shit on Bosh at times for not taking to the rim and finishing strong but take him out of the lineup and you get this. CB4 is our one and only shot blocking threat, once he’s out of there it’s open season for opposing 2/3′s. The only reason our shit perimeter defense has gotten us this far is because once you come inside Chris Bosh is simply awesome on help defense. Mind you that the rotation behind him still sucks ass but at least he’ll make the defender think twice before trying any funny shit.

After Bosh went down, we countered with Jose Calderon and TJ Ford playing a good chunk of the entire second quarter together. It’s good to have them there at the same time for brief stretches but to play them the entire quarter is defensive suicide. I lost count how many times in the second quarter Diener had open lanes to the rim after catching the Raptors defense in transition. It was as if though the Raptors were playing transition defense the entire game. Nobody was dug in on defense at any time, we kinda wandered around, aimlessly switched on screen ‘n rolls, tended to just pick up the player that was the most convenient for us and were three steps too slow. It made you nauseous.

Why Sam went with a lineup where Joey Graham is the 5 is unexplainable. The Pacers are playing small ball but that doesn’t mean you have to comply We have Rasho and Brezec warming the bench, why not throw them in the game to rebound our misses and try to control the boards. Did Sam honestly think our 2/3′s can outplay theirs? Dunleavy must’ve been licking his chops when he saw that we have absolutely no big man in there to even contest his shot once he waltzes past our perimeter D.

People wonder why the American media doesn’t talk about the Raptors and respect them as they should. It’s not because they’re biased or prejudiced, they just know that come playoff time when it counts, we have no ammunition to compete. This team has serious, serious holes starting on the defensive end which are just itching to get exposed in the playoffs. But tonight what pissed me off even more was our non-existent effort. It was pathetic. Ughhh.

What did you think of Bargnani’s performance? I liked it. He was 12-25 for 27 points and only 9 rebounds. I liked the way he played, he was aggressive, he was confident, he was driving, he was pulling up, unfortunately, he wasn’t hot enough early to keep us in the game. He needs to find his offensive rhythm so he can be a little more consistent, it’s games like these that might help him, with the playoffs coming and us being locked somewhere between the 4-6 seed, I say give him the green light so he can warm up and hopefully be a real contributor in the playoffs.

Anyway, to some up the night in two words. Fucking disgusting.

Sorry for the shit language.

Liners:

* It’s hard to sweep even a bad team but Indiana was there to be had.

* Jason Kapono is useless to us. He’s about as useless as an asshole on your elbow. It doesn’t matter if he plays with TJ Ford, Jose Calderon or fucking Bob Cousy, he can’t help this team because he’s too easy to cover and our coaching staff is too dumb to utilize him.

* Chuck, I don’t believe your lying ass when you say you have that much trouble telling part Joey and Stephen Graham that you make the same mistake like 5 times. Here’s a little hint that might help: THEY WEAR DIFFERENT UNIFORMS!! Also, did he just blame the lack of energy in the arena on the fucking weather?

* I’d even excuse the Raptors for allowing the Pacers to blow by them so easily on the perimeter if they at least took away the outside shot, but they didn’t even do that. The Pacers made 12 three and countless 18 foot jumpers. I’m telling you this was the worst I’ve seen them play. Ever.

* We managed to crawl only 2 games over .500 in the softest part of the schedule by playing 7-5 ball. I don’t even want to know what March will bring.

* Why am I shocked? I saw this coming. It’s just that when it actually happens you can’t believe it.

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