Turkoglu and the Raptors will have a large challenge tonight, especially after a bad defeat last night in Miami against the Heat.
“I did what I could for the fans,” Turkoglu said. “They were great to me. At least I (should) get half cheers, half boos. Not the whole arena booing, that would not be nice.”
Through 27 games, Turkoglu’s adjustment to playing for the Raptors has not been swift. When Raptors coach Jay Triano was asked about Turkoglu’s conditioning, he paused and said: “He is not the quickest player in the league but his basketball savvy is one of the tops. He just knows how to play. I’d like him to play 36-38 minutes a game, if not more.
“I don’t know if he is finding his legs. He’s getting used to playing more significant minutes. We’re getting used to where he is going to throw the basketball and when. There was miscommunication on some plays.”
The question made Chris Bosh bristle.
Why only two rebounds last night against the Miami Heat in more than 31 minutes of playing time?
"Because I only got two," the Raptors forward said. "They were boxing out on me. Sometimes it just doesn't come to you, sometimes it does. I won't get stuck on having just two rebounds."
Going into last night, Bosh was third in the NBA this season with an average of 11.9 rebounds a game.
So easy was the win for the Heat that star guard Dwyane Wade didn't play in the fourth quarter.
On the whole, the Raptors lost the battles in the paint, on the boards and on fast breaks. Sound familiar?
Miami held advantages of 52-30 in points in the paint and 19-8 on fast breaks.
And Toronto tried just 11 shots from three-point range, hitting only two.
"Everybody outscores us in the paint," Bosh said. "What makes it disappointing is we have been talking about it for so long and we don't do a very good job at that.
"We're going to have to take the attitude it is not going to happen anymore, and until that happens, we will be a so-so team."
There has been speculation that Chris Bosh will sign with the Heat next year, or at the least, play with the Heat's Dwyane Wade, who also will be a free agent. Before the game, a fan behind the bench was heard to say about Bosh: "That kid right there, he'll be playing for Miami next year."
I was talking to a rival assistant coach one night recently and asked him for an honest assessment of the Raptors.
What I got was this, and I paraphrase because my tape recorder wasn’t on and the hand-written notes I jotted down are almost indecipherable.
But the gist of it’s right:
“It’s a good team, a playoff team. Probably fifth best in the East. But I have no idea why they can’t play hard every night. If you get them down, they go away.”
Pretty good assessment, don’t you think?
And maybe that’s where you’re going to be for the next 10 or 15 games, like you’ve been for the first 27. Highs and lows. Some good games, more bad. Effort lacking one night, effort there the next.
And all you can do, I fear, is hope they find some magical consistency, that they get on some kind of role and it sticks with them. There are no magical solutions, no huge trade, no shocking moves to be made. Maybe something big happens a month from now but for the time being this is what they are.
the Raptors laid down another unconscionable defensive performance in a 115-95 loss. The Heat shot a too-easy 52 per cent from the field, out-rebounded the Raptors 45-32, and scored 52 points in the paint to Toronto's 30. As the Raptors conceded defeat a disgusted courtside observer shook his head at his former team's softness.
"They don't talk on defence. They don't play any defence," said Charles Oakley, who owns a steakhouse in town and watched the game from the baseline. "The league's bad."
"We say it, and we write it on the board and try to preach it," Triano said of the club's unreliable energy. "Hopefully it's something that everybody buys into. I think the big thing for us is a consistent effort every possession."
Of course, poor effort can be an epidemic with this team, and it carried over to the starters once the bench had failed to make an impact. In that defining second quarter, in which Miami outscored the Raptors 36-24, Bargnani allowed Beasley to walk around him for an uncontested offensive rebound and put-back; Turkoglu, instead of committing a hard-enough foul on Dorell Wright, nudged him, allowing the Heat forward to complete a three-point play.
Who's hot? Dwight Howard had his third game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds on Monday, scoring 21 points and hauling in 21 rebounds in a win over Indiana.
Who's not? Jason Williams is 1-for-13 (8%) from the field over his last three games, and he has not scored in his last two.
As for Tuesday's game, Michael Beasley (pictured at right) was brilliant. The Heat needed him to just stay close statistically to Chris Bosh, and he did far more than that, especially with his work on the boards. So, speaking of trade possibilities, how much notice did the Raptors take?
Chris Bosh is a fantastic Toronto Raptor, and for a while he was fun to follow on Twitter as well. He used to give us an interesting insider perspective, a glance behind the curtain of NBA stardom. He was one of the few celebrities worthy of being followed.
Lately, Chris Bosh is all about selling his DVD. It's tweet after tweet about where to get his DVD, RTs of people who claim they've got it and instructions on how to order this DVD. Chris Bosh has gone into inventory sales hyperdrive and it's forced me to unfollow him.
Chris Bosh led the Raptors with 28 points, but the Heat outscored them 52-30 in the paint. Toronto fell to 0-10 when allowing 44 points or more in the lane.
"It was a key part of the game, but everybody outscores us in the paint," Bosh said. "We have to take the attitude that it's not going to happen anymore."
Oddly enough, the Raptors held Orlando to 28 points in the paint in each of two meetings at Air Canada Centre last month, but lost both.
The Magic, however, averaged 38 free-throw attempts in those games. Dwight Howard was the primary beneficiary, going 23 of 30 (76.7 percent) from the stripe.
"It's hard to find the words," said forward Hedo Turkoglu, who finished with 12 points on 3-for-11 shooting. "You can't do much about it. It's one game. We didn't do much on defense. We had too many turnovers. We let them make easy fastbreak points."
Toronto (11-16) trailed by 10 at halftime, 60-50, and cut its deficit to 64-59 early in the third quarter. But after that Miami found its rhythm, pushing its lead to 74-63 on a jumper by Arroyo and maintaining a double-digit margin the rest of the night, leading by at least 17 the entire fourth quarter.
"This team got up into us today," Raptors coach Jay Triano said.
Smith said that hitting players above the shoulders "is in the rulebook. They just got to enforce it. I don't think it will get any easier. He'll still get wrapped up a lot."
Van Gundy and Smith agree that Howard might reduce the hard fouls if he improves his free-throw shooting. He went to the free-throw line 22 times Monday night, making just 13.
The league's decision favoring Howard might get a test tonight against the Toronto Raptors. Coach Jay Triano has employed a Hack-a-Howard strategy in both losses to Orlando this season.
# Toronto hit their first 14 foul shots, most of which came in the 1st quarter. While it took Miami a little longer, they also hit their first 14 foul shots and only missed two all night, finishing 20-of-22.
# Michael Beasley had 8 rebounds in the 1st half while Chris Bosh had none. Beasley finished with 11 and Bosh finished with 2.
# The turning point of the game was the beginning of the 2nd quarter. With D-Wade on the bench, Miami hit 6 of their first 7 shots and began building on the lead they'd keep all night.
The most agonizing and maddening season in Raptors' history only 27 games in? After yet another lackluster performance by the Dinos last night, Franchise ponders this question and compares the club to the hapless 2005-06 edition of the team…
"When a team gets 60 in the first half, they are in a pretty good offensive rhythm," Raptors guard Jarrett Jack said. "And it's tough to knock guys out of that rhythm."
Remember all the consternation — yes, I was a part of it — during the offseason when Smith decided to let the popular and likeable Hedo Turkoglu go in order to sign the less popular but more talented Vince Carter? Well, at least so far, this has been another Smith smash hit.
Not quite as astute as unloading Steve Francis and his bloated contract on the New York Knicks, but close.
Turkoglu, sent to Toronto by Orlando in a sign-and-trade this summer, is averaging 14.0 points, 4.0 assists and a team-leading 2.1 turnovers per game as of Tuesday.
Carter, meanwhile, is averaging 19.9 points, 3.0 assists and 1.5 turnovers.
I’d say Smith has once again been proven right in not signing the over-30 Turkoglu to the lucrative, long-term, 5-year, $50-million deal the Raptors inked him to during the offseason.
Back was the defense that got the Heat off to a 6-1 start. The Raptors shot only 45.2 from the field. Only Chris Bosh, who finished with 28 points, was able to do any real damage.
Back was the ball movement and offensive balance that was considered necessary for this team to succeed. Dwyane Wade scored just 19 points, eight points below his average, on 8-of-19 shooting.
It was Michael Beasley who led the Heat with 28 points, tying a career high, with three others contributing double-figure points.
THE FAN presents all of the highlights (1) and Eric Smith's game recap (2) of Tuesday night's 115-95 Heat win, in which the Raptors suffered their fifth loss by 20 or more points on the 2009-10 season.
The Raptors guard talks to Paul prior to Tuesday night's Raptors-Heat game in Miami to discuss the energy of the club's second unit, his memories of playing Dwyane Wade in Miami, and avoiding the "South Beach press" in South Florida.
Paul joins the Raptors swingman prior to Tuesday night's Raptors-Heat game in Miami to discuss his recent increase in playing time, playing alongside good friend DeMar DeRozan, and the energy of the Raptors' second unit.
The Raptors star joins Eric prior to Tuesday night's Raptors-Heat game in Miami to discuss his soon-to-be expiring contract, his opinions on athlete use of social media, and his newly-released DVD, First Ink.
Bosh led the Raps with 28 points but only managed to grab 2 rebounds for the game. Bosh did manage to make 10 of 11 free throws but couldn't hit the glass. The guard play wasn't there either, Jarret Jack followed up his 17-pt performance with a 6-point/1-assist game and Marco Belinelli was 0-7 from the floor. The Raps also continued to struggle from three-point land only making 2-11 from deep.
Michael Beasley tied a career-high with 28 pts and 11 rebounds for the Heat, while Wade had 19 points in his three quarters of play.
Last Meeting: The Magic got off to a terrible start in their last meeting on November 22, falling behind by as many as 11 points. Later in the game, Orlando crashed the boards much better and turned up their intensity on defense allowing them to come back and defeat the Raptors 104-96. Vince Carter, who was booed every time he touched the ball, finished with 24 points. Dwight Howard had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Chris Bosh led the Raptors with 22 points and 5 rebounds. You can read more about this game here.
Can you say Yellow Jackets connection? I knew it was kind of a coincidence having these two former college roommates play together in the NBA but they are lighting it up for the Raps. Chris Bosh is solid as usual but Jack is really starting to pick up his game. He started off here quite poorly but is becoming an excellent replacement for Jose Calderon. He’s scoring, assisting and rebounding the ball very well and is really getting comfortable with this team.
Hedo Turkoglu is starting to play much better as well. Jarrett Jack got over a slump and the beginning of the season and let’s hope that Turkoglu does the same. With Jose Calderon out for what could be a while these players will need to step it up as the primary ball handlers of this team. It looks like they are accepting that role with pleasure.