The Raptors (10-17) lose 107-97 against the Spurs (16-10)
You really can’t expect much when you role into the Spurs house, and they are healthy. The road to championship in the West still leads through them, and the House that Popovich designed and Duncan built is still the standard of excellence in the NBA. Forgive me if my expectations are low non-existent. Actually, I expect my Bacon n Egg McMuffin to slow down the Spurs more then the Raptors (clog their arteries).
True to form, the Raptors came out, and played a pretty solid 1st quarter, holding on to a 5 point lead after 12 minutes. This was done on a combination of things, but mostly the Spurs poor perimeter shooting – 2/12 from behind the arc in the frame. Parker got into the lane whenever he wanted, and kicked to an open wing, who just couldn’t make them stick. You knew, I did anyways, that this wouldn’t last. Giving guys like Finley, Mason and Bonner open looks will end bad, as the Raptors found out int he 2nd quarter, when those shots began to fall.
Beating the Raptors is nothing more then a recipe at this point of the season:
- Add one part dribble penetration
- Add two parts double team
- Add a zest of kick out to the open shooter
- Let simmer at medium intensity
- And you get an easy basket that no one in the organization can do anything about
“It’s tough to beat a team like that,” Raptors coach Jay Triano said. “We forced the ball to the perimeter and they made the shots. Pretty awesome display of shooting.”
Seriously? That was the strategy tonight? Make the Spurs hit shots from the perimeter? Have you not been watching what the Spurs having been doing for the last decade? You really want guys like Finley/Bonner/Mason/Ginobli getting open looks at the rim? Although he may be old, Bowen can still knock a fair number of looks down, especially if they aren’t contested. Would it not been better to try to get the ball out of Parker’s hands, and make Duncan score 50? OR, if you want to make them beat you with shooting, why not leave only certain people open…say….Tolliver, rather then leaving guys like Roger Mason Jr., who was specifically targeted and signed by the Spurs for this very reason.
I must be taking crazy pills, because O’Neal seemed surprised by the Spurs ability to make shots too:
“Those guys just really seemed to make a lot of 3s.” O’Neal said. “Every time we would stop them it seemed like they would come back on the next possession with a 3. When we didn’t score, they did, and it mostly was 3s.”
This is the result of a well made team, the balance they have is incredible:
- You have guys who can knock down jumpers/3s
- You have guys who can create their own shots
- You have guys who can penetrate at will
- and You have Duncan, who hasn’t made a mistake in 10 years
It’s actually beautiful watching them play, Parker penetrates then either takes it to the rack, or kicks it out for an open jumper after everyone collapses The Raptors force perimeter plays, when their franchise player has a mismatch on the offensive end with almost every team/player in the league. It upsets me when Bosh has a player on his hip, is battling in the paint, calling for the ball, only to see Moon launch a three after hesitating with whether to shoot it or not. And you guys are wondering why Bosh doesn’t look very happy recently.
‘Dribble-Penetrations’ ugly sister reared her head too – the slut ‘rebounding’ was again another issue. I don’t have much to say about it really, other then to question why Humphries doesn’t get more burn. Actually, in general, why doesn’t Humphries get more burn? He is an energy guy, hustles, battles on the boards, sure he forces it on offense a few times too many, but he competes. Which is more you can say for this team that seemingly isn’t playing for Triano is in a funk at the moment.
What the Raptors do a terrible job of, IMHO, is getting Bosh the ball at the right time. How often have we watched him with with a mismatch on his hip, only to watch the ball get swung to someone say…Moon, who clanks a J off the back of the rim. Recently, I have been noticing the Raptors get the ball to Bosh late int he shot clock, and while he is out of position. Khandor always says this is a game of matchups, well, part of any matchup is timing. And if your timing is off, then you’re in big trouble.
Is it safe to say the Bosh/O’Neal experiment has failed? We are a third of the way into the season and…nothing, I got nothing. I wont get too dramatic, it’s not like teaming Randolph and Curry together, but it’s not much better. One excels while the other is stuck in pergatory. In fact, aside from interior defense, this O’Neal thing hasn’t quite worked out how BC planned. The Raptors are still need of a legit second scorer (sorry, but Kapono isn’t the answer, really, he isn’t; rebounding hasn’t improve dramatically, in fact, it hasn’t improved very much at all. Going from 37rebs a game, to 39rebs a game, and winning less games isn’t an improvement.
I’m just putting it out there, but do you think Bosh likes this new system? It seems as though he was much happier under Smitch. Before, Bosh was the centerpiece of the offense, he was charged with help defense, and was leading the fight on the boards. Now, seems like Kapono and Graham are getting a chunk of his shots. At least he isn’t being played for 42 minutes a game, thats good right?
Am I alone when I think the Raptors were better off with Smitch on the bench?