Joey Dorsey still doesn’t know what his one-game suspension will cost him, but he does know it won’t change the way he plays. Asked if he was surprised by the one-game suspension he got from the league on Thursday, Dorsey replied, “Yeah, a little bit, but that’s how I play.” Dorsey earns his money playing tough, physical basketball and that’s all he was doing when he tried to box out Brian Scalabrine in the final seconds of Tuesday’s loss in Chicago. On the replay it looks like Dorsey is trying to take Scalabrine’s head off, but that was not the intent. “I was just trying to box him out,” Dorsey said. “He got out of the way. It was not intentional.”
“We need to rebound as a team,” Triano said. “We don’t have a guy who is going to get 10 a game. I don’t think we do. We do have to have a bunch who can get eight of them.”
When Triano looks at his roster right now the two guys on his team he expects to lead the way in rebounding are Reggie Evans and Linas Kleiza.
“Those two are probably two of the better ones we have at it,” Triano said. “They are a little bit tougher. They are not afraid to make the contact. ”
Triano said those players that do not possess the hunger and make-up to go get a rebound have to do their part.
“We tell some of our guys your job is to keep your guy off the boards. We don’t care if you don’t go and get it,” Triano said, “ just as long as your guy doesn’t get it. It’s hard to tell some guys that, but we are trying to define roles and when we get to that point that’s what we’re going to tell them.”
They cannot lollygag. They cannot act like a collection of milquetoasts. If they do, they have no chance to win and if ever that lesson was hammered home, it was Friday night at the Air Canada Centre.
Soft as ever for most of the game and unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to make up the difference in talent, the Raptors dropped a 117-112 decision to the Boston Celtics that was far closer than it ever should have been.
“We got our asses kicked in the first three quarters,” said coach Jay Triano, whose back-ups outscored Boston 39-16 in the fourth quarter.
“Are they better than us? Absolutely. So we have to make it up somehow and we have to make it up by outworking teams and we didn’t do that. We didn’t win that category tonight at all.”
The Raptors have known all along that they aren’t blessed with the talent they would like. They don’t have a dominant scorer or flashy one-on-one stars, and they’ve been in a collective shooting slump for most of the pre-season.
Triano has been hammering home the need for hard work to make up for the deficiencies and not getting it ticked him off.
He doesn’t want “dirty,” he wants “hard.”
“Guys should not be able to drive down the lane and lay the ball in without getting fouled, especially when it’s early in the game,” he said. “They tackled us three times when we got layups; we tackled nobody. Until we learn it’s going to take a little bit of that . . .
“I told them, ‘You guys foul out, foul out. Send a message that at least we’re not going to allow layups . . . don’t let them think they can lay the ball in.’ But it was layup line for them.”
The team’s network — formerly known as Raptors NBA TV — is no more, replaced and re-branded as NBA TV Canada and will increase the number of non-Toronto games available to subscribers.
The newly-named station will show more than 100 regular-season games starting later this month, which gives fans not specifically interested in the Raptors access to other games.
“It was a great opportunity to flip the model and take it from Raptors TV to NBA TV Canada so that fans who have a great passion for the NBA across all of Canada can tune into the teams they want to see,” said Steve Hellmuth, the NBA’s executive vice-president of operations and technology said.
Bench: First on the floor were Amir Johnson and David Andersen to relieve Bargnani and Evans, who received an early technical foul for questioning a referee’s call. Calderon split time with Jarrett Jack. Leandro Barbosa subbed in for Kleiza. But the players of the game wer much deeper down the bench: it was Markus Banks, Solomon Alabi, Julian Wright, Sonny Weems and Joey Dorsey who almost stole the game from the Celtics in the final five minutes – the first most had seen on the floor.
The game: Bargnani and Kleiza were the Raptors’ top scorers with 15 points each, while Nate Robinson led the Celtics 23 points. Although Bargnani had trouble sinking the shots he generated in the paint, (he was 5 for 16 from the floor), he looked more aggressive than he has so far in the preseason, battling more under the basket.
“We believe the name change of our network better reflects the expansive programming we’re offering and will appeal to a wider range of basketball enthusiasts,” said Tom Anselmi, Executive Vice-President and COO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.
The channel will carry 102 live HD basketball games while still remaining home to the Toronto Raptors pre-and-post game show: “Raptors Game in an Hour” and “Raptors This Week.”
The launch also included a panel discussion on technology and emerging media trends and their effect on the NBA. The discussion was moderated by NBA TV Canada anchor David Amber, NBA TV anchor Ahmad Rashad and Raptors Assistant GM Marc Eversley.
Highlights included the integration of 3-D TV and social mediums like Twitter and Facebook offering direct interaction with the consumer.
Anselmi added that NBA live game viewership on the channel has increased by more than 140 per cent over the past two seasons.
The preseason isn’t the time to pass judgment. But more than any other moment since he was drafted first overall by the Toronto Raptors, Bargnani must step up this season. Toronto will need all his weapons: His height for rebounds, his ability to score – both in three-point land and under the hoop, where he’s less comfortable. All this, without Bosh to draw away defenders.
Those who’ve watched his career say Bargnani is up to the challenge. the Raptors senior vice-president of basketball operations, Maurizio Gherardini, says he’s watched him thrive under pressure, whether leading the underdog Benetton to Italy’s Lega A championship, or moving to a new continent as the NBA’s No. 1 draft pick in 2006 at age 20, and consistently scoring in the double-digits.
“I have witnessed a guy that was always ready to face the challenge,” he said.
Still, his shaky start this season, following a strong showing this summer playing for Italy at the world championships, suggests something might be off.
If Bargnani is feeling the pressure of suddenly being thrust into a leadership role, he wouldn’t be the first.
Andrea Bargnani had three offensive rebounds in the first quarter alone, including one sequence with a pair that he punctuated with a sledgehammer jam. (Bargnani had yet another putrid shooting night, going 5-for-16 from the floor, and he was stuck on those three rebounds for another two quarters before he grabbed a fourth.)
There was also the usual poor defence from Bargnani, a bigger concern as he continues to look for his shot. At one point in the fourth quarter, Bargnani had words with the coaching staff.
“I think everybody got an intense conversation. I can go through everybody if you want,” Triano said. “He wasn’t very good. He wasn’t alone.”
The thoroughbred Celtics are really not a fair standard for the Raptors to compare themselves too. Even without Paul Pierce and Shaquille O’Neal playing, the Celtics have so much swagger, so much size and so much talent that they naturally obliterated the Raptors on this night. Even with Chris Bosh on the roster, a Boston dismantling of Toronto was a given. Why should it be any different without him?
It was only the pre-season, but Kevin Garnett was in his usual vociferous form. The Raptors wilted. “They’ve been around for a while, a long while,” point guard Jarrett Jack mused. “[Garnett] has been in the league for 16 years? That’s crazy. You’ve got to add like four of us up to get to 16 years.”
With only three practice games left, it may not be too late for Triano to try something new schematically to get the Raptors play more formidable defence.
He has tried to make use of the team’s athleticism to press and trap, but against the kinds of point guards that are encountered on a night-to-night basis in the NBA, the strategy may be too high risk.
There were two instances in the game when Toronto attempted to trap Robinson, and both times he was able to use his speed to dribble right through.
Instead of taking such a gamble, Triano may want to attempt a zone and see what happens there. If one idea is not working, why not attempt a different one?
They may say they are Raptors but they play as soft as Barney thus far. The Raptors were no match for the Celtics tonight. The Celtics lead this game from about midway through the first and never looked back putting their foot on the dinosaurs throat midway through the third with a consistant 20 point lead throughout the quarter and leading 101-73 at the end of the third. The Raptors clawed their way back in the fourth against the Boston bench going on a 39-16 tear in the fourth to make the game very interesting at the end with a final score of 117-112 but again this was against C level players for the entire quarter minus Nate Robinson. The Celtics deserved the win tonight, both the bench and starters played well the entire night.
Doc Rivers might not be overly satisfied with the fourth quarter play of the bench brigade, but the Celtics still managed to survive a furious Toronto rally and win, 117-112. The score is not an accurate representation of what went down in this one. Toronto closed the gap in the fourth quarter, but the Celtics led 60-43 at halftime, and 101-73 after three quarters.
With the current state of the East I don’t foresee a playoff birth from the Raps this season. But in my opinion, we got rid of our biggest impediment to future success in CB4. If he re-signed, Bosh would have weighed down the team for years and years. Again, not that Chris is a bad dude or bad player (in fact he is a consummate professional and great basketball player), he is just not a franchise player caliber leader. And in losing him the club has gained much needed and valued flexibility going forward. Flexibility is nice, but only if it leads somewhere. The club does have a lot of interesting, disparate talent and potential and even though we will likely struggle this year, it is still an interesting time to be a Raps fan.
This team certainly has a chance at 31 wins, but quite a bit has to go right.
Coach Jay Triano and Bryan Colangelo will have to take some sort of responsibility for the way things have gone pear-shaped. Jose Calderon has to become the all-world offensive player he once was in order to make up for his terrible defense. Jarrett Jack will have to make sound decisions, consistently. Not just as a bit of gravy. Kleiza will have to take more charges than he gets whistled for on the other end, Barbosa will have to put up a ton of points, and Julian Wright will have to stop acting like Julian Wright.
This is not a 31-win team.
The Raptors are selling youth, verve, athleticism, hustle on defence – all the stuff that a lousy basketball team runs out en route to a lottery pick. They have six guys who are essentially the same player: athletic players who would best be sixth men on a serious team. Their “big” star, Andre Bargnani, is at best Dirk Nowitzki Light on the rare occasions where he is engaged.
Even by the modest expectations of an NBA preseason – and even with the caveat of Raptors guard Jarrett Jack, who cautioned after Wednesday’s double-overtime masterpiece against the Philadelphia 76ers that “we haven’t put in all the sets for him, yet” – Bargnani’s first four games raised the spectre of an even more pronounced indifference.
Eric recaps Friday night’s 117-112 Boston Celtics victory over the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors play their sixth pre-season game Sunday at ACC against the Phoenix Suns.
Nothing is too far out of the ordinary for the Raptors so far, apart from the play of Jose Calderon. If he plays like this during the regular season, the Raptors are going to struggle to break 20 wins.
That’s right – 20.
On the mistakes coming during the preseason: “It is preseason, that’s just the reality of it. No matter how good or how bad you play it doesn’t count, yet. If you go 8-0 in preseason, but you go 0-8 the first eight games, what really are you upset about? Not trying to negate preseason because it’s an important time for us as a team. We need to use these games as learning tools leading up to when we play New York. We’re not a talented enough team or a more experienced team where we can just let any opportunity go the wayside and not use it as a learning experience. With that being said, we’ve still got to come out, still got to execute, still got to learn the things we’ve been learning in training camp and not let it go by without a day where we get better.”