The Raptors are in a the middle of a dire 5 game losing streak and things are approaching crisis level. Effort on the defensive end has been garbage (any defense that has been played is incidental/accidental). They aren’t doing anything that speaks of any desire to win. Sure, we can score, but when most of your guys need the ball to be effective, and the coach can’t find the right recipe, things go from bad to worse. Welcome to the 2nd team in a row that Colangelo has sold to this city, yay for us.
So that Hawks game was killer. I regret not being able to muster anything after that one, but I had nothing. Literally sat in front of my computer and stared at my screen saver then gave up. What could I say? That effort shouldn’t have to be asked for? That being a professional athlete means you are being payed to compete at a high level every single time you step on the floor? That you can’t make excuses when you have actually gone through a training camp? That when you look at yourself in the mirror, you need to be proud of the guy staring back at you? That when you get backed into a corner, you should scratch/kick/claw your way out and not crouch into the fetal position and hope it stops burning?
Triano needs to figure out a formula that works. If that means putting the ball in Hedo’s hands, so be it. If that means cursing out Bargnani till he cries, do it. If that means bringing Calderon off the bench, jam on. Maybe we sit DeRozan. Maybe we start Amir. At this point, everything is an option since the current plan doesn’t work.
Tonight the Raptors head into Washington to play the Wizards for the second time in three games. The last time these guys played, the Raptors suffered a 4th quarter collapse that ultimately was lost on three very bad decisions by Jack. Sure he had a great game, but he Ben Gordoned us (he shot the team into a hole, then tried to shoot us out).
The Point: Calderon/Jack need to attack Arenas constantly and aggressively. The guy is a poor defender who seemingly doesn’t have the foot speed he used to have. Jose started the last game 5-6 from the field, but then the ball was taken out of his hands for most of the rest of the game – can’t have that again. If the guy is hot, keeping feeding him, makes sense, no? Jack needs to do more driving and less shooting. It’s not like he’s shooting that well, 42% from the field isn’t stellar. Last game, Arenas was able to work himself into the game, after a slow start. Can’t let that happen either. Intensity and focus on the guy. He was scoring 29 a game and calling 40 point outbursts just a couple seasons ago.
The Skill: DeRozan and Young were not a factor in the last game at all. In fact, none of the 2-guards on either side contributed much of anything, not that they needed too. It would be good to see DeRozan follow up a career game against Atlanta with a solid performance tonight, same with Belinelli who was playing terribly until dropping 19 on the Hawks. These guys should really have no problem taking it to Young/Foye.
The Wing: Had Turkoglu not shot so poorly the last game, things may have been different. He got good looks on Butler, just couldn’t knock them down. This was an even match-up for most of the game with neither player really going off. As long as Butler is under control (I considered 19pts 7rebs under control), then I’m happy. Just shoot better ok? Antoine Wright as we came to learn yesterday has the worst PER in the league (3.1). Morris Peterson is 2nd worse, but 60% better. This should tell us all something in regards to what kind of shots he should be taking – none.
The Big: Bosh showed up for the 2nd quarter, and took the rest of the game off against the Wizzers. Still, he had 22pts 14rebs, but when you go 7-22 from the field, you aren’t helping anyone. After scoring 2 on Wednesday against the Hawks (yes, I said 2), you know he will be fierce from the tip. That fire needs to be directed at Jamison who played like he always does against the Ratpors: really freaking good – 30pts 12rebs. Granted, some of that was against Bargnani, but the majority of it came against our franchise. Jamison needs to be kept under control, not sure how, but that’s not my job, it’s Triano’s…oh wait… Amir gets spot duty, and I really have nothing to say but that I hope he gets more minutes, and keeps doing what he has done so far this season.
The Strong: I really-really hate Brendan Haywood. The guy has owned us for years, and always puts up huge numbers: 15pts 9rebs 3blks last game. For a guy who has a limited offensive arsenal, I wonder why Bargnani doesn’t do a better job of staying between him and the rim? That’s all he needs to do. Seriously, if he can box out, and put his arms up when Haywood is going up strong, good things will happen since most of the damage Haywood inflicts was on the offensive boards (he had 7 offensive rebounds last game, and probably 7 dunks/layups right afterwards). I shudder to think what Haywood would have done had Bargs not grabbed 7 defensive boards of his own. All Bargnani should be doing is standing between Haywood with an elbow in his chest, at all times. Do it.
The Wizards are 4 point favourites with an over/under of 216.
My goodness am I defeated. I’d like to say a Raptor win, but I can’t. I don’t see how one day, and some tape-watching is going to help anything. This team needs to be read the riot act. 103-94 Wizards.
Also, if you’re local a 416/905er, come hang in person with us tonight at the Sports Centre Cafe for Raptor Fans Friday.