To their credit, the Raptors didn’t trot out any excuse about the game being the second of the season’s first back-to-back against a well-rested opponent.
Triano alluded to it early in his post-game media session but bristled later on when it was brought up again.
“We have 19 of them,” he said of back-to-backs. “What are we going to do? Just mail it in 19 times when we have a back-to-back? That can’t happen. We have to find a way to fight through it with mental toughness.”
Chris Bosh, who has now lost all seven games he’s played as a professional in his hometown, led Toronto with 26 points and 12 rebounds, but he had just 11 and two in the second half. Andrea Bargnani started slowly but managed to finish with 22 points while Calderon had 13.
Flying up and down the court the way they were, Dallas definitely made it look like the Raptors were fatigued.
"We'd like to blame it on coverages but it was man-on-man stuff," head coach Jay Triano said. "We were just a step slow tonight and it showed. They went past us when they wanted to and they scored over top of us when they wanted to."
As reluctant as he was to use fatigue as an excuse, Triano had to admit that's the way it appeared to him.
"This is a team that was sitting here waiting for us, watched us the other night and were very prepared for us," Triano said. "We are on a back-to-back but you can't use that excuse 19 times a year, so I'm disappointed but they had more energy, more movement and better confidence shooting the basketball."
RAPS CATCH BREAK
San Antonio is never an easy place to get a win, but the Raptors' effort to get another road victory got decidedly easier when Tony Parker rolled over on his left ankle Friday and will be out at least a week. In two games against the Raptors last season, Parker averaged 23 points. The Raps play the Spurs tomorrow.
JUST NOT IN DALLAS
The Mavericks played the first five games of the season without forward Josh Howard but he returned last night along with guard Quinton Ross from a bruised back. Howard, a key piece in the Mavericks lineup, had ankle surgery in the off-season and has been slow to heal.
As good as Chris Bosh is playing right now, every Toronto fan knows there’s a decent possibility he’s gone after this year. If that happens, how good do you think the Raptors can be with a core group of Andrea Bargnani, Hedo Turkoglu, Jose Calderon and DeMar DeRozan? Bargnani has been tearing it up, averaging 20.7 points on 51% shooting from deep. If he’s your best player, do you have a playoff team?
The Mavericks' assistant and former head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks joins Jonesy to talk about Dallas' expectations in 2009-10 and to shed some light on former Raptor (and current Maverick) Shawn Marion.
The former Raptor and current Maverick joins Eric to talk about his transition from Toronto to Dallas and whether or not he plans to play a similar role with the Mavericks as he did with the Raptors.
Keys to the loss:
- Lack of energy. Chris Bosh is probably the only guy who shows energy trying and fighting.
- Defense is a work in progress for this team. If they can get a team to shoot under 50%, they have a good chance of winning. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen often enough. Allowing another team to shoot over 60% is embarrassing.
Granted, this was all before Dallas pulled away in the third quarter, but I'm looking a lot at just how the Raptors chose not to go inside during the second half. Yes, Chris Bosh was their primary inside presence, but that's not Chris Bosh's fault. After all, it seemed as though he was the only person hitting from the field over the course of the game. Andrea Bargnani continues to be looked off while posting up or within the arc and it frustrates me to no end just how many times Turkoglu would take the ball and swing it around the arc to the other side when Bargnani had firmly established his post position.
These are all areas where this team will need to tighten up especially when their 3's aren't falling.
The Mavericks scored a season-high 129 points on a season-best 62.4 percent shooting from the field. They shot 74.4 percent from the field in the second half. Last season, Dallas' season-high field goal percentage in a game was 60.3 against Miami. Since 1991-92, the Mavericks have had only three better-shooting nights in a game:
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was impressed with Howard's first-quarter effort.
"He's definitely one of the high-energy guys," Carlisle said. "Josh was aggressive, which is his nature."
"You've got to be ready when the lights go on," said Howard, who was counted on to provide first-quarter offence for the Mavericks last season. "I want to be the guy who gets things going. I don't want to lose that job. The one person besides myself who does a great job in the first quarter is LeBron James."
Stats that stood out:
- Toronto gives up 56 Points in the Paint to the Mavs
- The Raptors cough up 21 points off turnovers
- Mavs opened the game shooting 2/9 (22%). After that they went 51/76 (67%). WOW. And they finished the game a WHOPPING 62.4% from the field.
- Tight on the Glass: 42-39 REB advantage for Dallas
- Mavs win every QRT … scoring 30+ in both the 3rd (30 points) and 4th (44 points!)
- Outside of Chris Bosh’s play, it’s hard to give a thumb up to anything for the Raptors in this game. Their defence was weak, and they couldn’t muster-up anything offensively for most of the night.
- The second unit. Ya, the defence overall was TERRIBLE in this game. But the reserves have already earned a name for themselves as being hustle guys and solid defenders (especially Jarrett Jack, Antoine Wright, and Amir Johnson) and they showed little-to-none of that in this game. Offensively, Jack: 3/8 FG … Wright: 1/9 FG … Johnson: 1/3 FG
“It was our first back-to-back, and they got off to a track meet,” Bosh said. “We kind of played into their game. We settled for too many jump shots. They got long rebounds and were off to the races.”
The Raptors set a club record with eight three-pointers in the third quarter against the Hornets, but Toronto made only 8 of 22 from long range against Dallas.
“They went past us, and they shot over us,” Toronto coach Jay Triano said. “They had more movement and energy and had confidence in their shooting. Our energy level was low.”
Toronto vs Dallas Game Flow
Chris Bosh was their best player, with 26 points and 12 rebounds but only 11 points and two boards in the second half. Andrea Bargnani had 22 points and Jose Calderon 13.
Bosh, who went into Saturday night's action fourth in the NBA in scoring (29.0 points per game) and tied for second in rebounding (11.8 per game) has been playing with a decided "edge" through his first five games.
He seems more demonstrative on the court and more aggressive on the glass, facts not lost on his teammates.
I swear, if Disco Dirk Nowitzki got to play the Raptors 82 times a year, he’d average something like 62.1 points and shoot about 80% from the field. Something like that, at least. The German Sensation went to work again tonight, scoring 29 points and adding nine boards before calling in quits early in the fourth. Dallas shot an unheard of 62.4% and scored 74 points in the second half against Toronto’s usually rock-solid D (not).
It has always been said here that chemistry would be one of the biggest issues facing the Raptors and how quickly they can develop into a cohesive unit. But some players, namely Bosh and Jarrett Jack, already have a jump on the rest of the team. It was interesting to hear Jack in the locker room after the win over the Hornets talking about how he "pushes" his former Georgia Tech teammate. Jack says he doesn’t let Bosh settle for jumpers and always finds him during a timeout and gets in his ear regarding the game. The rest of the team seems to be coming together as the friendly jabs are flying across the locker room and the popular refrain seems to be "(insert name here) gimme a shout out" whenever a microphone or notepad appears in front of a teammate being interviewed.
Has Calderon gotten of the kind of start fans envision? No, but a large part of that is due to the complete roster overhaul this summer. When a point guard enters camp with only two other familiar faces from the previous season, there are bound to be some growing pains.