I seriously don’t even know where to start. I don’t even want to do this to be honest. I’m not sure what has been going on out on the court
all season the last few games, but it isn’t basketball; nobody is competing; we aren’t a professional team. This is a bunch of guys, who have been brought together in an attempt to appease one guy, without any thought of how complimentary they are to each other. We have a bunch of scorers who can’t score enough to win games. It’s actually hilarious. At least this shtick is wearing out, and the stands are half empty, me complaining about what ails this franchise pales in comparison to the sections of empty seats in the lower bowl. The worst part: it was another boring loss.
Calderon was gunning from the opening tip: attacking Arenas off the dribble, finishing at the rim, lobbing alley-oops to DeRozan, hitting his jumper, my goodness. It was a very fluid attack. He didn’t force anything, JC just took what the defense gave him which was space, lots of it. Arenas had zero interest in playing defense, and our boy took advantage. Bargnani looked great too, his jumper was on, but more importantly, he was all over the boards on both ends of the floor. Somebody had to make up for the fact that Bosh was a miserable 0-6 with only 1 rebound. Calderon and Bargnani combined for 8-13 from the field, the rest of the Raptors were 2-14, disgusting. It all boiled down to poor playmaking by our playmakers, 2 assists in the quarter. 2 assists. Think about it.
The second quarter belonged to Bosh, who was an animal in the paint. Every one of his made field goals was inside 8 feet, except for one open jumper from the elbow. Say what you want about him, but he isn’t a finesse player anymore, not with him living in the paint for the most part of every single game. The problem in the second was utilization, sure Bosh was on, but Calderon and Bargnani who carried us in the 1st disappeared. For some reason, we had moved away from those two, and didn’t even think twice. They both had one shot that they hit (a layup and a dunk, guess who got what), and that was it. They were so efficient in the first quarter, but Triano decides not to use them in the second. Smart. At least Bosh got 18, yay.
Heading into the 3rd, we all fully expected the collapse, but other things were at play, namely basketball. Turkoglu creates an open three for Calderon, he nails it. Bargnani creates an open three for Hedo, he nails it. Calderon pushes the ball on the break, sticks a layup in transition, 8-4 run to start the quarter. I liked Bargnani all game, but I really liked him in the 3rd. Those trialling jumpers he sticks are daggers. They hurt, you could see it on Saunders’ face. Then it happened, not as dramatic and stretched out as in games passed, but the Raptors go scoreless for 3:40. No shot attempts closer then 17 feet. Antoine Wright with two of them. I don’t know how to stress this, but Wright should never shoot the ball. Never ever? Never ever! The Wizard score 7 points in that scoreless stretch, but the Raptors responded: 10-2 run in the last minute and a half to finish the 3rd, taking a 5 point lead into the 4th.
The 4th…the Raptors lost the 4th, but this wasn’t the story, Jack was. We have ourselves our very own Ben Gordon, the poor-mans Raptors version. A guy who digs us into holes, and tries to get us out, but more often then not, doesn’t. The rub is that he isn’t as good as Gordon. Yea, he hits some big shots, clutch even, in the 4th, but had he not, he would have been under the bus. No?
- Jack hits a three to push the lead to Raptors up 82-77 – Good
- Jack hits a layup to push the lead to Raptors up 85-81 – Good
- 13 seconds into the shot clock, Jack forces a jumper, no one there to get the rebound. Arenas hits a jumper on the other end Tied 85-85 – Bad
- Jack forces a three out of rhythm with the the rest of the team Tied 85-85 – Bad
- Jack draws foul and hits both from the line Raptors down 87-90 – Good (this ended a stretch of 3 scoreless minutes for the Raptors where the game was actually lost)
- 12 seconds into the shot clock, and the the Raptors all out of position, Jack misses a jumper Raptors down 89-93 – Bad
- 8 seconds into the shot clock, Jack hits a three Raptors down 94-97 – Good
- Jack draws a foul and hits both from the line Raptors down 97-99 – Good
- Jack hits a layup out of a timeout Raptors down 99-102 – doesn’t matter
So yea, he had some big plays, but his poor decision making directly contributed to us losing the game. When you shoot that early in the shot clock, it better be a damn good shot, actually, it better be a layup. Jacks shots weren’t, and they killed us. We had opportunities to take the lead, or extend the lead, but the offense wasn’t run. People were out of position and on a night where the Raptors were rebounding well on the offensive glass, that was a disaster. Out of those 9 plays, 3 of them were bad, but those three were bad judgment by a point guard who shouldn’t be making the same mistake three times.
What also killed us down the stretch was Hedo being asked to create for himself to score with the Raptors down 101-97. He loses the ball off the dribble, and fouls out of frustration, Jamison hits both, sealing the game. The guy is a playmaker, why Triano continually asks him to attempt to take his man off the dribble is beyond me. Whatever, you can’t lose 3 out of 4 quarters and expect Turkoglu to win the game for you, doesn’t work like that. There is so much more that needs to be said: the lineup to finish the game, not enough minutes for Johnson, what exactly is this Belinelli and how the f*** did we end up with him, but I’m a beaten down piece of meat that has nothing left.
Four Keys to Losing
Shooting the Ball Well
Bosh and Turkoglu were a combined 10-33 from the field, horrible. Nobody aside from Bargnani, Calderon and Jack, who were a combined 23-37 from the field, showed up to play. What the f*** happened to our great offensive players? At least we scored 102 huh Colangelo?
Raptors – 47.6%
Wizards – 51.1%
Taking Care of the Ball
Washington took care of the ball, but the Raptors didn’t. 1.2 assist to turnover ratio for the Raptors. Pathetic.
Raptors – 16.1%
Wizards – 10.1%
This was the one thing we did well, and the only good thing we did to keep the game as close as it was. Still, we conceded 11 offensive rebounds on the other end, that mostly ended up in dunks.
Raptors – 28.8%
Wizards – 22.9%
Getting to the Free Throw Line
The Wizard got there more, and had they converted a decent percentage of them, this game wouldn’t have been so close. The line has always been kind to the Raptors, but we would have needed to go to the line 50 times to have had won that game.
Raptors – 32.1%
Wizards – 38%
Bosh had the numbers, and seems to have lit up the chart a bit more, but Bargnani gets the nod for an efficient game on both ends of the floor. Turkoglu gets third. Doesn’t matter really. My stat of the night was Weems, who was a -2 in 0 minutes of play, lol. The Atlanta pre-game will be up after lunch.Follow @raptorsrepublic