Raptors 98, Blazers 109 – Box

I want to start things off by extending my condolences to Scott and his family for their loss. I actually met Scott via blogging, and over the last few years, he has become one of my closest friends and confidants.  I speak on behalf of everyone at RR, the writers and the community at large, in sending our love and support during this difficult time. God bless brother.

…so the Raptors, different game, different night, different team, same problems. These guys are going through the motions, and are playing the least inspired brand of basketball I have seen in a very long time. I’m actually forced to stop and take stock of my own life, and really question the level of commitment I am giving in covering a team that is seemingly better than the performances they are giving. You know how hard it is to say the exact same things over and over about why the Raptors loss, changing the team name and switching out which Raptor player stepped up to be the #2 after Bosh?

I don’t have the stomach to cover this quarter by quarter and really break it down because frankly I don’t care. The formula for this team used to be that if they shot the ball well, they won more games then they lost. Now, it seems that in-spite of shooting well, they lose them. The problem lies in stopping the ball, we can’t do it to save our life. This team has kept their opponent under 100 points – 14 times all year. In contrast, they gave up more than a 110 points – 23 times, and more than 120 points – five times.

First things first, Bargnani can’t cover power forwards who have size and range. He does a good job on the Dwights and Shaqs, because those guys are not threats outside of 7 feet, and he can thump with them on the block; but a guy like LaMarcus Aldridge, who can post-up and shoot from the perimeter will abuse him, and he did.

I need to know what the hell happened to Bargnani. Where the hell did your rebounding go? Two bloody rebounds in 32 minutes, seriously? At least grab a few defensive ones since you were covering Aldridge for most of the night in the block…oh yea, Aldridge grabbed 8 offensive boards, there was nothing for you to do. Might have helped if you boxed out, jumped, put your hands up, broke a sweat…but at least you can shoot the ball very well for a center. Too bad you were 5-11 from the field (0-3 from behind the arc) and only had 11 points. At least if you were scoring…jesus…

Hedo sucks. I said I wouldn’t talk about him anymore, but he does. Sure he put up 14 points, but they were inconsequential. Yea he shot the ball well, and grabbed a few boards, but 2 assists? It’s not like he was making good passes and the Raptors were missing shots, they shot 54.9% from the field, he just wasn’t making plays. No ball son, you suck.

You know who else sucks? Triano sucks. He is the worst coach in the entire NBA. I don’t give a rats ass what anyone says, the guy has no business being a head coach in this league. Early in the second quarter, with the Blazers starting to gain some momentum and on a mini 5pt run, he should have called a timeout to stem the tide, but no, he didn’t. In the subsequent plays, Rudy Fernandez threw two ridiculous alley-oops to Aldridge, and the Raptors answer by taking and missing two shots that were so bad…they were horrible shots ok? Horrible. I threw up in my mouth a bit.

So he finally calls the timeout after the second ridiculous alley-oop and the entire crowd is out of their seats going nuts. What happens on the play-out of the timeout? Raptors hold the ball till there was 1 second left on the clock, and miss a deep three. Brilliant. That was the point the Raptors lost this game. Early in the 2nd quarter, sure they came back and gave it a go, but it was written.

On the other hand, in the 3rd quarter with the Blazers up 10, DeRozan gets out in the open court and puts down a ridiculous dunk, cutting the lead to 10. McMillan QUICKLY calls a timeout to kill momentum, Andre Miller hits a jumper out of the timeout, and any threat of a run was thwarted. That my friend is bloody coaching. Next time I see you at the Starbucks at Brookfield place, I’m cursing your ass out. I might even throw a lemon poppy seed loaf at you. God I hate you.

The Blazers grabbed 43.1% of available offensive rebounds (almost every other rebound) that led to 20 second chance points. Factor in that they got to the line 27.7% of the time and hit 21 of 23, that’s 41 points from sheer effort and determination. They shot a great percentage from the field from all those open looks, it’s no wonder they won. The game wasn’t handed to them, but they won easily.

The only people who have been playing well over the last few games are Bosh, Calderon and Johnson. These were the only three people who seem to be constantly fighting without letting up. Short comings aside, when only three folks are giving it their all, good things can’t happen.

Say what you will about Bosh, but he is not to blame for our perimeter woes. He isn’t the guy who gave Batum and Roy and Fernandez open/uncontested/easy looks from beyond the arc. He isn’t the guy not scoring efficiently, not getting to the line, not grabbing rebounds, not assisting. Yea, he is turnover prone, but he does everything else. The guy has zero support. I wouldn’t blame him for up and leaving; I’m seriously considering doing the same thing myself.

These are my game notes if you are interested, I’m done with this post. Hate this team…

1st quarter
- Hedo nails a 3 off the tip
- Bosh rotates to help bargnani on aldridge on a dunk attempt, no dunk
- Bargnani leaves aldridge wide open from 17
- Bargnani aggressive in the paint early
- Bargnani steps in and hits a hit jumper
- Aldridge giving bargnani big time problems
- Bargnani with the dunk in transition
- Bargnani literally lost track of aldridge and didn’t even attempt to box him out
- Bosh with the great find, drops a dime to DeRozan in the paint
- Bargnani threads the needle to Bosh for a dunk, beautiful play
- Amir with a jumper at the top of the key
- Camby penetrates, draws a double, then dishes to Aldridge for a dunk, terrible
- Calderon looking for his shot when he got into the game, 1-2 quickly
- Calderon ball fakes on the run, creates some space, and hits the reverse layup

2nd quarter
- start the quarter on a 9-0 run (2 big alleyoops to get the crowd into it fernandez to aldridge)
- triano calls a timeout two possessions too late (should have been called after 5 straight points, he lets it go for 4 more – 2 alleyoop dunks)
- out of the timeout, the raptors ran a terrible play and jacked a deep 3 with 1 second on the shot clock
- Jack hits a three from the corner, nice
- Batum left open for some reason, obviously he hits a three
- Amir with a put back layup off of caldrons missed shot
- roy with a three, 8-11 from behind the arc
- Batum with another three, he was open again
- Calderon to the rack off the dribble and in traffic
- Caldron still competing, gotta appreciate it

3rd quarter
- DeRozan turnover leads to a Miller layup on the break
- Calderon throws the ball away, on a bad alley-oop attempt to Bosh
- MIller feeling it
- DeRozan finishes on the break
- Bargnani didn’t box Camby out, result: put back off the missed jumper
- how many open threes can a team give up?
- DeRozan puts it down on a break, cuts the deficit to 10, and the Blazers call a quick timeout. Take note Triano, that’s coaching
- Miller hits a layup out of the timeout
- Calderon throws the ball away
- Hedo with a dagger from behind the err, 7 point deficit
- Amir with a putback layup

4th quarter
- Bargnani gets open, and cuts the deficit to 5, sticking the jumper
- Jack should be on the bench.
- Batum with another open 3…I feel like it’s groundhogs day
- DeRozan with a terrible shot out of a timeout
- DeRozan goes baseline and finds Andrea in the corner for a jumper; Raptors down 7 with 9min to go
- Batum with a tough/contested jumper, that one hurt
- Jack splits the defense and feeds a cutting DeRozan for a layup; Raptors are 5 points back now
- Millers layup contested by Bosh, missed it
- Bargnani with a big rebound off the Aldridge miss
- Weems with a mid-range jumper cuts lead to 2
- Camby strips Bosh again
- Roy gets in the paint, and hits a layup in traffic
- Jack forces a three, obviously misses, where’s Calderon?
- Bosh with a jumper from the elbow, Raptors down 4
- Roy lucks out as the ball falls in his hand in the paint for an easy putback
- Camby blocks Calderon under the rim, and Batum draws a foul on the break, hits both from the line
- Bosh gets in the paint and draws a foul, hits both from the line
- Miller draws the triple team in the paint, and finds Camby for a dunk; nail meet coffin
- Bosh misses a three, and i turn off the tv

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