Raptors 128, 76ers 123 – Box

Seriously, the guy does not deserve to be a head coach in the National Basketball Association with so many capable guys working at TNT/ESPN, this is getting ridiculous. He single-handedly almost cost the Raptors the game today with poor substitutions, terrible decision making and continually insisting the Raptors play zone defense for most of the 4th quarter. What was a 17 point 3rd quarter lead, ended in a ridiculous overtime affair that was more work than it should have been, considering he Raptors play tomorrow against the Warriors.

So lets pre-face things by saying that the Raptors won a must-win game. Today represented the 5th straight solid effort (while today’s effort wasn’t a full 48, it got the win) the Raptors have given in a row, with the Raptors going 3-2. Philly is a tough match-up for the Raptors for a couple reasons: they are athletic and Triano doesn’t know what the f&#k he’s doing.

The 1st quarter started pretty brutal. It was about as bad as Calderon has played all season. He couldn’t find his range, wasn’t moving the ball around well, and couldn’t keep up with Jrue Holiday, who was looking to build on his last game against the Raptors when he put up 21pts 7rebs 6ast. Bosh was also invisible early with a turnover, when the ball finally got to him. It was all one-and-done for the Raptors, who had zero movement off the ball.

In the meantime, the Sixers moved the ball around until they got the best shot available, capitalizing on early Raptor turnovers (6pts). They opened the game on a 13-4 run assisting on every field goal (4 field goals on 4 assists). Iguadala was a BEAST in getting the Sixers going early. He either scored or assisted on 17 of the first 18 Sixer points.

After a Raptor timeout, the guys got their act together, and started to move the ball around to get good shots. Turkoglu and Jack entered the game and got right to work; Turkoglu drew a double and kicked to an open Jack for a trey, then buried a three of his own. Miraculously, the Raptors had about 6 scoreless minutes of play in the 1st, but managed to get out of the quarter with a 26-24 lead thanks to the bench, who outscored Phillies 12-0.

The second quarter was more of the same. Both sides threw defense out the window and tried to score each other into oblivion. The Raptors went 12-17 from the field on 10 assists, while the Sixers went 14-21 from the field on 12 assists. It was actually some pretty entertaining basketball after that brutal start to the game, spearheaded by Bosh who dropped 11 after a rough start. When he wasn’t scoring, he was creating shots for his teammates by drawing the double in the post then passing out to open shooters 4 times. Beautiful.

You know when Matt/Jack/Leo/Sherman have one of their love-fests for a Raptor to the point of making you want to vomit? Well last night it was Sonny Weems’ turn, but the kid delivered. He dropped 10pts 5rebs 2ast in the 4th, and was the reason the Raptors took control of the game in the quarter. The Raptors pulled away from Sixers with an 11-4 run (sparked by Calderon with 4pts 2ast) in the first three and a half minutes of the quarter, then another 8-4 run (Sonny time with 6pts 2rebs 1ast) in the next two minutes twenty seconds, then another 9-4 (Weems with 2pts 2rebs) run to give the Raptors a 17 point lead with 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. Then Calderon gets swapped out for Jack, and things start to get interesting.

The Raptors start to show a bit of zone, but without the defense. They were just standing in their spots without doing much of anything. It was actually pathetic watching it with March Madness going on and those kids putting on clinics on playing an effective zone defense. Iguadala recognized the pathetic display, and just went for the jugular. In the last 3 minutes, he dropped 8pts 1ast by putting his head down and attacking off the dribble (5-6 from the line). Had Bargnani not hit that hail mary trey with at the end of the quarter, it would have been a 9 point Raptor lead heading into the 4th.

With the momentum clearly in the Sixers favour, Triano reacts to the Sixers (who are playing small ball) and fields a lineup of Calderon/Jack/DeRozan/Turkoglu/Bosh. After a great 4th quarter by Weems, he was nowhere to be found, and the Raptors struggled to score since we had three players (Calderon, Jack and Turkoglu), who need the ball in their hand to be effective, on at the same time. People were just standing around hoping for the best. The Sixers meanwhile were attacking the hell out of our zone defense, and cut the Raptor lead to 2 points in the first 3 minutes on a 10-0 run.

So just to recap, over a 6 minute span between the end of the 3rd and the beginning of the 4th, the Sixers went on a 23-8 run, because the Raptors had the wrong people on the court, and were playing zone defense. Clearly Bosh was dogging it and didn’t want to win the game, otherwise he would have grabbed that clipboard, and beat Triano with it until he cried and ran off the court with his arms flailing. It got so ridiculous that Jack Armstrong belted out:

“Rarely in the pros do you see the coach stay with the zone defense for so long.

Sigh.”

From there on in, the two sides went tit for tat; Calderon tied the game up with a clutch three, and Bosh had a chance to win the game for the Raptors going baseline on Dalembert, but he missed the reverse layup. In overtime, we saw some stone cold shooting from both sides. There was even 4 straight possessions where the Sixers hit a three, then the Raptors answered with a three of their own on the next possession. Bargnani was huge in overtime, and had a great game overall.

The Raptors kept the Sixers scoreless for the last minute of overtime, but Iguadala had a Stephen Jackson moment, and put up a ridiculous 3 point shot with 26 seconds left on the clock and the Raptors up 3. It was the same situation as in the Bobcats game, the Raptors put themselves in a situation to win the game, but it wasn’t written until the other team had a brain fart and made a stupid.

So to the Raptors credit, this was a must win game that they won, but Triano was the reason this game went to overtime. Sonny Weems sparked the Raptors to a 17 point lead with scoring, rebounding and playing making; but when the Raptors were struggling to score points, the guy rides pine. You insist on playing Hedo Turkoglu who wasn’t doing anything. You insist on giving Jack crunch time minutes when he was having a terrible game. You go with a cold DeRozan to start the 4th. Yet you don’t play the guy who was having a great game. I don’t understand…

Then for your encore, you play zone defense at a professional level for extended periods of time; shenanigans I say. Who does that? You mix it up for a possession or two to throw the other team off balance; not incessantly for a whole quarter while you watch your lead evaporate and let the other team back in the game. Jay you suck, and you are giving me freaking ulcers.

Seeing as Jay is having trouble with what’s going on, I have some advice for you, I’ll even use small words so you can follow along:

  • Play the guys who are having a good game.
  • Please don’t use the zone defense for more than 2 minutes a game.
  • Get yourself down to Harry Rosen and pick out a couple nice suits.

We got the Warriors today, pre-game will be up around 1pm.

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