With Hedo Turkoglu out and Sonny Weems already filling in for DeMar DeRozan, Raps head coach Jay Triano chose Marco Belinelli to start Tuesday's game at small forward. Triano went to Antoine Wright on Sunday when Turkoglu's evening ended a minute into the game, but didn't want to disrupt the chemistry he's seeing when Wright, Amir Johnson and Jose Calderon come off the bench together.
– Both teams are playing the back end of a back-to-back set. In other words, mental toughness will be an issue. The Raptors, at least, have shown more of it in recent weeks.
– Given their season-long plight, the Nets don't have many matchup advantages at any position, but Brook Lopez's presence in the post will test T.O.'s interior defence.
It’s going to be more Zorro than Hannibal Lecter, but chances are the mask Hedo Turkoglu was fitted for Monday night when the Raptors arrived here, isn’t going to be around for too long at all.
Turkoglu, who wore a mask for exactly one game after he broke his nose when he got in the way of teammate Dwight Howard’s elbow two years ago during a game in Houston, said Tuesday night this new mask will get probably as much use.
The area under his right eye where he has a small displaced fracture is still sore, but Turkoglu said he just can’t get comfortable playing with the mask on so he doesn’t give it very long. He’ll give it a try, but Turkoglu said it might be off by the time the second half rolls around.
Mentioned during the game a few times that the media seats at Conseco – front row of the baseline at about a 90 degree angle to the Raptors bench – are among the best in the NBA at affording opportunities for eavesdropping.
I can dutifully report a fair bit of trashtalking went on during the contest, most notably between ex-Denver teammates Sonny Weems and Dahntay Jones, and that the Raptors as a whole are a chatting group, shouting out plays and defensive assignments and encouragement.
"It's like a wave right now," said Triano. "Our bench wasn't very good but that's because two of them were starting and now Jose – I'm not sure of the prognosis on it, but it doesn't look good right now – is going to hurt a bit, too."
The game itself was just one of those dreadful affairs that are going to pop up every now and then. The Raptors saw their season-high five game winning streak snapped because they lacked any kind of defensive intensity from the opening tip.
"I think we could have done a better job earlier in the game defensively," said Raptor all-star Chris Bosh, who had 35 points and 15 rebounds. "They got a lot of easy layups and with a team like that offensively and playing at home, we can't let them build confidence.
"We didn't play defence well at all."
Bargnani said the defensive meltdown rendered his personal accomplishment meaningless.
“When you lose like that, it doesn't really matter,” he said.
The Raptors couldn't explain their lack of defensive intensity. It was the highest point total they've allowed this season.
“The reason we came out the way we did, I don't know exactly why,” said Toronto guard Jarrett Jack, who played for the Pacers last season. “We just didn't play our type of game at all.”
The Raptors, once again, were without two of their starters. DeMar DeRozan remained out of the lineup for a fourth straight game because of a sprained ankle. Although he has been taking part in shooting drills, his ankle appeared severely swollen on Sunday, and it seems doubtful he will take part in tonight's game at the Air Canada Centre against New Jersey.
And as was the case for 47 of the 48 minutes on Sunday, the Raptors had to play without Hedo Turkoglu. The small forward suffered a small fracture of the orbital bone under his right eye early in the last game, and without a mask to properly fit him, he did not play in the rematch against Indiana.
How’s this for a road trip: three games in four nights, followed by a visit to Cleveland. The Nets could use the rest, but will have to wait until the All-Star break. The first stop is across the border vs. the surging Raptors. After a slow start, Toronto has moved up the Eastern Conference standings, but their suspect defense gave up 130 points in a loss in Indiana Tuesday. Hedo Turkoglu and Jose Calderon are likely out.
The Toronto Raptors had one winning streak snapped in their last game, but they have a good chance to extend another in their next contest.
Coming off their first loss in two weeks, the Raptors try to bounce back with a sixth consecutive home victory Wednesday night when they face the lowly New Jersey Nets.
Chris Bosh scored 35 points and Andrea Bargnani added a career-high 34 on Tuesday, but Toronto (26-23) struggled on the defensive end in a 130-115 loss at Indiana that ended its five-game winning streak. The Raptors allowed the Pacers to shoot 52.4 percent, record their highest point total of the season and salvage a split of a home-and-home series.
"The reason we came out the way we did, I don't know exactly why," Toronto guard Jarrett Jack said. "We just didn't play our type of game at all."
The Pacers shot 52 percent from the field and had all five starters in double figures for the first time since Nov. 14 against the Boston Celtics. Two more Pacers reached double figures.
Forward Danny Granger led with 23 points. Forward Troy Murphy had 20 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out.
The Pacers' balanced scoring helped make up for the 35 points and 15 rebounds from Raptors forward Chris Bosh and a career-high 34 points from Andrea Bargnani.
"Wow, 130 points, I didn't see that," Granger said. "That's a big offensive game for us. We just moved the ball well. That's the type of game we need."
Needs: SF and C
Summary: Bosh is a monster. Monster meaning he scores at will and crashes boards like no tomorrow. Back ups are this team’s key to making a strong playoff push. Other than Bosh, I can’t think of anyone else scoring 20 or more points every week. The starting line-up will need a lot of work in the second half of the season.
THE FAN presents all of the highlights (1) and Eric Smith's game recap (2) from Tuesday's 130-115 Pacers win, in which the Raptors had both their five-game winning streak snapped, and potentially lost point guard Jose Calderon to an ankle injury.
The soon-to-debut Raptor joins Eric prior to Tuesday night's game in Indiana to discuss his progress in rehabbing from a foot injury, the mental aspect of returning for a long-term injury, and the setbacks he's had since aggravating the ailment.
I am a big proponent of Andrea Bargnani when it comes to his man defense. Tonight just seemed that he never got his head in the game until it was too late. Roy Hibbert abused him down low and with no communication on the floor there wasn’t anyone coming to help either. Bosh doesn’t have the same strength as Bargnani when it comes to holding guys out of the block but atleast he looked like he was trying.
I know this is just one game. Even though the Raptors gave up 130 points and allowed 7 guys to score in double figures, they can get right back on track with a win against the struggling New Jersey Nets. A good team would make sure to bounce back and make it look like that one loss was an anomaly. This team needs to keep the winning attitude and brush this game off.
The Raptors had just won 5 games in a row, a season high. Confidence was high and they’d just been able to easily handle Indiana. In the game in Toronto against Indiana, the Raptors were pretty much in charge the entire time, and despite the Pacers staying close for most of the game, the Raptors were able to kick it into high gear when it mattered and put the game away. Great, but don’t believe you can always do that.
A poorly played game is tough to take but there were some positives. Belinelli played well on the offensive end as a starter. And you have to like what Bosh and Bargnani were able to put up on the offensive end. The best medicine for a tough loss? Knowing that the next game is against the New Jersey Nets.
The classic example of the Raptors lack of defensive effort was a play in the third quarter when Bargnani cut to the basket, made the lay-up, ran back on defense and contested the 3 Pacer players at the rim. If anyone else had bothered run back to defend, the Raptors would have had the stop. The Raptors didn’t get many stops!
In a game where the Raptors could have easily won up until about the 3 minute mark by clamping down on defense and the brick layers, Jack, Weems, Wright deferring to players making shots; Raptors fans have to be disappointed.
Check out the game between the Raptors and Pacers all in just six minutes!
Chris Bosh talks to the media following the Raptors loss to the Pacers.
Jose Calderon talks to the media following the Raptors loss to Indiana.
Jay Triano talks to the media following the Raptors loss in Indiana.
The Raptors are buyers this year as they, like the Cavaliers, are trying to convince their franchise player to stay past this year. They need defense, and lots of it, as they have had trouble closing out games, and have been inconsistent throughout the year. They could use a player like Shane Battier to plug the leaks in their system, although Reggie Evans will contribute when he returns from injury.
They do have quite a bit to give up as well, Marco Belinelli has potential and DeMar DeRozan is a project, but certainly has potential to become a lethal scorer. A deal involving some youngs players and contracts as well as a draft pick to Detroit for Richard Hamilton or Ben Gordon would appeal to both sides, as Detroit doesn't really need those chips, and has a surplus of quality guards.
Troy Murphy had 20 points and 14 rebounds for Indiana, which ended a three-game skid. Roy Hibbert had 18 points and nine boards, and Earl Watson added 15 points and a season-high 11 assists.
Lester Conner coached the Pacers in place of Jim O'Brien, who attended a family funeral.
Chris Bosh had 35 points and 15 rebounds, and Andrea Bargnani scored a career-high 34 points for the Raptors.
It was a season scoring high for the Pacers, who had scored fewer than 100 points in six of their previous nine games. They lost 117-102 in Toronto on Sunday.
After ripping through several different starting lineups and other rotation combination searching for some sustainable success, the Pacers tried a little bit of everything against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night and showed that varying the style of attack and sticking with what works is the way to go.
Since no five can impose their will on opponents over the long haul, a more gimmicky approach with bursts of different looks appears to be the best option to keep the opponents off-balance and adjusting instead of the other way around. The results spoke for themselves as the Pacers attacked the league's least efficient defensive team while getting just enough stops to roll to a 130-115 win.
Lester Conner, filling in for Pacers head coach Jim O’Brien, threw the Raptors a bit of a curve by going back to Roy Hibbert as his starting centre. Hibbert, a more traditional post player, repaid Conner’s confidence in him with a strong inside presence that helped lead to a huge edge in the points in the paint stat in the first 24 minutes where the Raps were dominated 32-14.
The Raps eventually got that back to a respectable spread but by that time the Pacers were already well in front and on their way to the victory thanks in no small part to Hibbert’s 18 points.
Normally the Pacers are a team that beats you from the three point line but on this night it was their foul shooting that kept the home side in charge most of the night.
The Pacers went to the line 35 times Tuesday night and converted 33 of them for a stunning 94.3 success rate. The Raps meanwhile got there 34 times but only made good on 25 of them.