The fact the Charlotte Bobcats warranted not just one, but two, of ESPN Sportscentre's plays of the day yesterday in their dismantling of the Raptors sums up just how bad a night it was for Toronto's basketball team on Wednesday.
The Bobcats normally get only marginally more of ESPN's attention than do the Raptors, which is to say about none.
But there was Gerald Henderson running and then soaring baseline for an uncontested thunderous jam at No. 8 among the night's best highlights. And the top highlight went to Gerald Wallace floating through the paint as he threw down a monstrous jam of his own. Amir Johnson got the business from the ESPN talking heads as Wallace's victim on that one, but at least he was there to provide some resistance.
The problem is, when Calderon is on the floor, the opposing point guard is putting up a PER of 23.7, according to 82games.com. For an example of an NBA point guard achieving a PER in the neighbourhood of 23.7, think Steve Nash, who the Raptors will see on Sunday when the resurgent Phoenix Suns come to town.
In other words, Calderon is such a non-factor on defence he is making all of his opponents look like Nash.
In a point guard's league, Toronto is a minus-6.4 in point-guard PER when Calderon is on the floor. A year ago, even with the awful Roko Ukic and Will Solomon backing up Calderon, the Raptors, as a team, were a plus-1.1 at the position.
In fact I’m thinking of introducing a new term to the local basketball lexicon: When an opposing player pulls a rebound off the defensive glass and dribbles the length of the floor for an uncontested fast-break layup; having to neither think of passing or even changing direction, it should be called A Raptor. As of now Gerald Wallace leads the NBA in Raptors though I think it’s a safe bet that Rajon Rondo will challenge for the lead by the time the Celtics are finished with Toronto on Friday.
Who's hot? Paul Pierce's coach, Doc Rivers, threw around those three special letters — MVP — after the forward's 27-point, six-rebound, six-assist, 43-minute performance against Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Who's not? Ray Allen, owner of one of the sweetest strokes in NBA history, is shooting 29% from three-point territory this year. Let that marinate.
The good news for the Boston Celtics is that the Toronto Raptors (7-9) come into the TD North Garden likely to leave with a loss, the same fate that awaited every other team in the Titanic, uh, Atlantic Division this season.
Despite their gaudy record at home against division foes, 10 straight dating back to last season, the C’s have no reason to be overconfident.
After an embarrassing performance against the Charlotte Bobcats fans and media alike have had the opportunity to vent and discuss. It was a terrible performance but as they say in the business – "The Show Must Go On!"
Up next for the Raps…the Boston Celtics.
Yeah, so the Raptors were pounded last night in Charlotte. How does that happen, even on the road and in the second of a back-to-back? Well, here’s how: The team just ain’t that good. And what’s this breakout year everyone is talking about Chris Bosh having? The team is 7-9! Not sure if you recall, but last November Bosh had even better numbers than these, then got tired at the end of the month and limped the rest of the way home. If you’re a superstar, CB, then let’s see it. Win some games.
We got a heavy hitter in for a Q and A here at Hip Hoop Junkies. Matt Devlin, the Raptors official play-by-play announcer, was kind enough to take the time to answer some of our Raptors questions. Matt, who is in his second season with the Raptors, has a nice broadcast background behind him and has covered everything from the Memphis Grizzlies to the Charlotte Bobcats all the way down to Olympic wrestling. Co-blogger Sean and I asked Mr. Devlin a few questions about the Toronto Raptors, his prior knowledge of Canada and what music he listened to in high school.
Akil and Sherm preview the Raptors' first test of the season against the Celtics in Boston on Friday.
Mark Strong talks to some of your favourite players about what their texting game is like.
Bosh's numbers may garner max money next summer, but right now no one in the association is afraid of Chris Bosh taking over a game. And maybe you can say Jay Triano doesn’t run a Bosh first offence (and you’d be correct) but this is the big contract year, what’s the coach really going to do if Bosh posts up and demands the ball? What’s he going to say when Bosh then turns and goes straight up to the rim instead of stepping back and settling for a jumper?
Bosh only seems to get aggressive after a play is over and a foul has been called (or not.) His constant arm flailing on every attempt under the basket is the NBA equivalent of "milking it" and doesn't seem to be gaining any sympathy from the refs. Simply put, Bosh needs to intimidate.
Antoine Wright should be in this game early. We don't want Ray Allen getting hot because he's burned us before. He just plays great against the Raptors partly due to the lack of talented wings we've had in the past. So, Wright getting in there and doing his job is key. I'm not sure Belinelli will be as effective with his risky play. His style is suited for the uptempo and Boston knows how to slow it down.
Rajon Rondo 1 on 1 against Calderon is an ugly match up for us. Calderon needs to sag off of him and cut off the lanes. Nuff said.
Wouldn't a little (actually a lot) of zone defence have made sense Wednesday night in the demoralizing blowout loss to the Charlotte Bobcats?
After all, aren't the Bobcats the weakest collection of jump shooters in the league (the answer is yes).
The last thing you want to do is get into a track meet with the Bobcats, a strong defensive team filled with top-level run and jump athletes.
Granted a ton of points against came about because the Cats are so good at defence and forced turnovers, but the rest of the time, on set offensive situations, Gerald Wallace et al could have been held in check if the Raptors had run a zone, forcing the gang that can't shoot straight to hoist up jumpers.
"You've got to stick to what you do," Allen said.
Allen's philosophy is shared by Toronto star Chris Bosh, who is going through his own woes from the field. Bosh has made 10 of 33 shots in the last two games, but said that isn't going to deter him.
"If I'm open I'll continue to shoot," Bosh said. "I practice that shot all the time. If it doesn't go in during the games, I can't worry about that."
So, by now we've all had a chance to let that Charlotte Bobcats 2nd half demolition job of the Toronto Raptors sink in right?
You know, the 35 point loss (The Bobcats largest margin of victory in franchise history), being outscored 64-35 in 2nd half, allowing 41 fastbreak points, and giving up 74 points in the paint (The 'Cats only scored 116 total points…). Yep, with the G.O.A.T. sitting courtside to watch his 'Cats do work on the Raptors (as shown above).
Well, here are Chris Bosh's post game comments and he made some poignant and matter-of-fact statements (ones I've personally been echoing as well here on the blog through these first 16 games):
As anyone who follows these posts or has read Hollinger’s analysis of the Jack-Calderon line-ups knows, everybody scores more against the Raptors when Jose and Jarrett play together.
Plus down by 18 points, where was the Raptors’ leading scorer in this game? With Bosh unable to hit a shot, why was the hot shooting Bargnani nailed to the bench?
The Bobcats cruised to 35 point victory in the fourth, the Raptors who got to play barely putting up a fight.
To put the game in context, this is just a road loss on a back-to-back. But it is still a bad loss.
Let's put it more plainly: if you were to take a look at the four players surrounding DeRozan in the starting five, what would you say that they needed to help them be more successful? From this vantage point it looks like they need someone who can slow down opposing guards, especially in light of the fact that Jose Calderon is ensconcing himself as one of the worst defensive guards in the NBA. It would need to be someone who didn't hang his hat on his scoring and could, ideally, guard multiple positions out on the court. Someone, like say, Antoine Wright, the guy I wrote a piece about this summer as the ideal starting shooting guard for this lineup.