Bulls 110, Raptors 93 – Box

For an NBA offense to be remotely effective there have to be double team threats on the floor, and if an offense lacks it, then it has to make up for it through super-efficient execution, great ball movement, and rebounding, none of which were present last night. The Raptors went up against the NBA’s 3rd ranked defense without Andrea Bargnani, who remains the only person a coach needs to plan for when playing the Raptors. Without Bargnani in there to shift the defense and create an environment for ball movement, the Raptors struggled against the Bulls’ excellent man-coverage and were soundly beaten to start a four game home-stand.

Andrea Bargnani’s numbers against Joakim Noah are in his favor, so you think he would have at least had some sort of say in the game if he had played. At the very least, the defensive-minded Tom Thibodeau would have had to account for him instead of simply playing man for the full 48 minutes and rely on their superiority inside to control the boards and the game.

The Bulls have a talent advantage at four starting positions and the fifth one is at best, even (DeRozan vs Bogans). The only times the Raptors didn’t labor when trying to score is when the Bulls were committing turnovers in the first quarter, and when Jerryd Bayless took it upon himself to drive the ball. Neither of those two things can happen consistently and so the Raptors struggled. Ideally, Sonny Weems and DeMar DeRozan would step up and find a way to assert themselves on offense, instead they went a combined 7-22, with Weems throwing in four turnovers for good measure. One of the signs of a committed player is when, despite having a bad offensive game, they retain their focus on defense and that is obviously not the case with either of these two or Kleiza.

None of them position themselves at an angle which is conducive to ‘bumping’ the cutter, the cutters are allowed to go anywhere on the court without any impediment. They don’t anticipate screens being set on them, instead they’re always trailing and trying to “catch up” with the play when all a quality NBA wing needs is a foot of space. Luol Deng’s movements against Sonny Weems were a manifestation of this phenomenon. They don’t read scouting reports, Weems’ coverage of Kyle Korver was nothings short of horrific, he was giving him jumpers when that’s his bread-and-butter. None of DeRozan, Weems or Kleiza have any impact on help-defense, the Raptors are dead last in the league in steals and a big part of that is these guys not making plays such as stripping the ball or picking the passing lanes. Their feet are glued to the court when defense is all about anticipation and reaction.

Keeping the Bulls contained is a challenging task on any night, let alone with the wing play the Raptors have going. Getting to the bigs, Carlos Boozer must have been licking his lips when he saw Amir Johnson and Ed Davis start in the Raptors front-court. The Raptors’ bigs were no match for Boozer, his bulk was too hard to keep out of the paint and his post-game is too refined to let eager shot-blockers get the better of him. Last week it was Amare Stoudemire who picked apart the Raptors’ interior man defense and last night it was Boozer who dropped in a cool 34 points on 13-17 shooting without breaking a sweat.

The Raptors were being suffocated on offense right from the start and the game’s trajectory wasn’t looking promising with the Bulls grabbing a 19-10 lead with 3:19 left in the first quarter. The Raptors capitalized on 6 Bulls turnovers in the first quarter and made up for their 14-8 rebounding deficit and 40% shooting. That was about it, though. The Bulls settled in to a groove after that with Derrick Rose pressurizing the Raptors defense which struggled coping with the excellent Chicago ball movement. When it came time to dump the ball underneath to Boozer, there was no answer. Amir Johnson was sent packing after two fouls and in came Joey Dorsey (12 points, 13 rebounds), he had a solid game on the glass and converted on a few desperation dumps (you know, where a wing doesn’t want the ball at the end of the shot-clock and dumps it to a big man whether he’s capable or not).

The Raptors sent a couple half-hearted double teams but seven Chicago threes kept everyone honest. The Bulls are a very well-coached team and you can’t help but notice the little things they do. Joakim Noah steps in as if he’s going to drive from 10 feet out, stops on a dime after attracting help, and passes to the corner to create a swing sequence. Boozer fakes a pass to create space to dribble for his post-move. Korver’s always moving at the wing making the pass out to him easier for his point guard. Deng and Boozer are on the same page on the baseline screens, and the screens set by their bigs are crisp and get the Raptors every time. There’s not much a team like the Raptors can do against a focused group like that. Jerryd Bayless and Leandro Barbosa tried to respond as best as they could, mostly in one-on-one fashion, but it was too much to overcome. At the end of the half, the Bulls had 38 points in the paint and Boozer was 8-11. More importantly, the Raptors conceded 63 points and were down 19.

Ed Davis got his first NBA start and had his hands full, yet managed to have a good showing with 10 points, 10 rebounds and a block. It’s clear that he’s got a lot to learn, from setting a decent screen to making a proper roll, and of course, figuring out who he’s guarding after those interior rotations happen. However, nobody should have any problem with him playing despite these issues because the guy is trying on defense and gives you rebounding when he’s giving you nothing else; the trait I described above about staying focused on defense when the offense isn’t going for you applies to him perfectly. One might expect the interior help defense to be better without Bargnani, but that theory wasn’t fully tested since the Bulls’ primary attack didn’t come wing drives into the lane.

At the half I was thinking to myself what might need to happen for the Raptors to come back in this one, and nothing came to mind. The Raptors were simply outclassed by a much better Chicago side which is stacked to contend. There’s a lot to be learned from the Bulls over the years, although they’re far from an archetype for rebuilding, they do prove that persistence pays off. Following the six seasons after the Jordan era ended, they averaged 19.8 wins and relied on their draft picks to get them past the tough times. Elton Brand, Marcus Fizer, Chris Mihm, Eddy Curry, Jay Williams, Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon and Tyrus Thomas (via trade with Portland) were all lottery picks that never quite turned into franchise players. Then they struck gold with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, and added Taj Gibson as gravy. A key trade (Deng for Robinson) came along the way and they finally made a splash with the free-agent signing of Boozer, and now you have a contender.

What’s the lesson learned? There are no shortcuts to contention, the draft is where it’s at. The question is: Are DeRozan and Weems the equivalent of Jay Williams and Kirk Hinrich, or is their impact closer to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah? Are the YGZ® just a shot in the dark on the long road towards finding a jewel in the draft, or are they the jewel in the draft? You decide.

  • REM

    Nice ending.

    Nobody in Toronto will remember who Weems or Derozan were in three years. Even if they pan out they don’t have the talent to lead a team. YGZ is nothing but a waste of time but as you say, maybe paying these dues is necessary to strike gold in the draft.

    • Vincent

      Agreed about their talent level. Weems and DDR just aren’t at a level to be capable of leading teams. This team desperately needs an impact player, and has desperately needed it since Vince’s departure. Assembling a bunch of “nice pieces” (Kleiza, Barbosa, Bayless, Weems, DDR, Johnson) is all fine and good, but they won’t be anything but an also-ran until they acquire that type of talent.

    • KJ-B

      You right about Weems, who’s been drafting off DD’s flow since he got here, because that what NBDL/Euro leaguers do–but DeRozan will be averaging 20 ppg over his final 20 games of the season with his talent, work ethic + progress… I don’t think you play ball, or else you’d never make a statement like that!

      I question a lot of fans judgement that compare the 2 of these guys… DeRozan’s 3 years younger, an All-American, a lottery pick while Weems was JuCo and a cast off in the draft for good reason ((are we even watching the same games???)

      • Lucas Lopes

        I agree they are in different levels of talent. But DeRozan will not average 20 points in the 20 final games of the season. He has a long way to go before start doing that.

        • pran

          like never

  • Miles Boyer

    Desperate times call for desperate debates……DeRozan and Weems should never be mentioned in the same sentence as Rose and Boozer.

  • Dookielover

    pre-season was insane around here and other forums. morons were in full force with the young gunz hype and trade bargs cuz we have david andersen…this team needs its best player and jose. anybody who thinks otherwise is mentally challenged…..no bargs no jose and we got hammered on the boards and played the worst d ive seen all season.

    YUNG ONEZ YO!

    • Nilanka15

      How does having Bargnani and Calderon help us land a Derrick Rose in the draft???

      • slaw

        Agreed. Calderon and Bargs being out is terrible in that I never want to see anyone injured but it is excellent in that it means more ping pong balls. Unless you want to see more young gunz for years to come, you should be happy with the losses. It isn’t as though this team is winning 50 games if you add Calderon/Bargs back in the starting 5.

      • c_bcm

        What makes you think NOT having them will? It’s a fruitless exercise in asking these sorts of questions.

        • Nilanka15

          You’re right…not having Bargs/Calderon in the lineup doesn’t guarantee anything. But it does give us a CHANCE at landing a franchise-changing player. Winning 35 games (with Bargs/Calderon) completely eliminates that chance.

          • Vincent

            Last time I looked, Harrison Barnes has really sucked it up in College thus far. So in terms of timing, this is not a very good year to get lucky with the Lottery Balls.

            • Nilanka15

              On the other hand, Kyrie Irving is looking like Chris Paul so far…

              • c_bcm

                he’s going #1, which I doubt we’d get this year. Something about the not-so-random selection of draft positions.

                Anyways, we can’t crap this season and expect to get #1 overall, look at the Nets last year. They clearly were gunning for it and didn’t even get the 2nd overall pick. We keep developing the youngens, take the hits when they suck (liket he last 2-3 weeks), and hope for the best. I think there’s alot more to be gained by developing current NBA players than hoping for the chance to have the opportunity to develop a college player.

                Best case scenario: We figure out who on this team is worth the effort, AND get a high draft pick. For this to happen, we’ve got to maintain this current trajectory for a while and see what happens.

                • sleepz

                  If Irving is injured for a huge part of this season why does anyone think he’s coming out?

                  Dukies aren’t often known for one-and-dones

                • smushmush

                  I would settle for Terrence Jones(wing that can shoot the 3, play defense and rebound) and Perry Jones(second because he tends to lose focus in games with inconsistent performances) and Jordan Hamilton(if we are in the 7-14 range, has same skills like Terrence Jones) in that order if Kyrie Irving is off the board at our pick.

    • KJ-B

      When will ppl get–WEEMS IS NOT LEGIT… Y’ALL KEEP COMBINING YMCA’s #’s with DD and messing up his stat line on the regular! Weems is NOT an NBA calibre player–they can’t even trade that guy for a bag of chips! At this point I’m wondering if he and Triano are neighbors, in-laws relatives or somethin: IT JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE WHY WEEMS PLAYS and Wright does not???

    • Pizzaman

      Dookielover not only are you right but the two you mentioned in Jose and Bargnani are the only legit starters this team has.
      The whole young gunz thing was blown way out of proportion on three guys that have proved absolutely nothing yet.

  • sangaman

    bargs defense doesnt look so bad anymore.

    • Bendit

      False negative I am afraid.

      • Dan

        It’s true, I thought we were supposed to be a solid defensive team without Jose and Bargs…? Whoops.

        • KJ-B

          @ aNy RATE, the Bulls have won, what is it now 7 in a row, while the raps have lost 5 of 6…ppl reacting to the final score like we were favourites or somethin–from the moment Noah dressed for the game, the outcome was sealed.

        • Hardcore Raps

          honestly… how do people think they can come to the conclusion that the team is good defensively without Jose and Andrea from 1 game? Not only one game, but a severly short handed game against one of the top teams in the league?

          If this team held CHicago to 15% shooting and 50 points, that wouldn’t automatically mean the defense was better either. Its about sample size… anything can happen in 1 game. Especially when you don’t bother to consider whats happening during that game.

  • sleepz

    At the game last night and at no time was there any thought of a Detroit-style comeback. Raps could have had Evans, Bargnani, Calderon, and Kyrie Irving and still lost this game. Chicago is impressive and are simply a much better squad. Their defensive schemes are scary similar to the Celtics (of course), and there is always a couple of Bulls impeding your progress to the rim. I was most surprised at how Boozer seems to have fit in seemlessly.

    On a seperate note, if anyone got to see the S.A.-Mil game yesterday, they got to see a fine basketball game. Ginobili is a menace and Bogut is a top 3 center in the league.

    • Bendit

      Saw parts (many…considering our own game!) the NY-Celtics game which was probably as entertaining a game as I have seen lately. Felton and Stoudamire (and the Knicks) showed something and will be reckoned with in the east.

    • Vincent

      It was only particularly scary because none of our bigs were viable threats at mid-range, so their bigs were always sitting in the lane waiting to cut off the drive. Their defence would have been much less scary with either a Bosh or a Bargnani on the floor. Also, when we went small, we really should have involved Kleiza in that pick and pop action that we were doing, because at least he can be counted on to shoot a foul-line jumper. Instead, we put him out by the three-point line where he did next to nothing.

  • Daniel

    Bulls sucked for 10 years before they got lucky and landed #1 pick in a strong draft. In the meantime shitty teams like detroit, Miami or Boston won the championship through good trades and free-agent signings. The jury is still out on the Bulls even though they have all the ingredients to becoming a real contender. One thing is certain though: only veteran teams are contenders. Our model seems to be Atlanta one: grow our own draftees and signings until they become good. Add one marquee player at the right time and hope for the best. I personally dislike this model as I think its plateau is at 50 wins and second round exit at best.
    I thought we are not tanking on purpose however seeing the line-ups and the minutes played by bad players I believe the management wants to tank. The coaching stuff seems to agree. It is sad to see Colangelo in his 5th year with us resort to this tactic. We all thought we would be way ahead at this time in his career. It is disgusting, in my opinion.

    • Nilanka15

      Honestly, what is the alternative? Playing Bargnani, Calderon, Barbosa, Kleiza, Evans heavy minutes in an attempt to win 35 games? How does that help this franchise moving forward?

      • Daniel

        I am not the GM. I evaluate only what I see. And what I see sucks. I have opinions about what should be done however I do not rpetend I have the answers. It is quite obvious to me that only trades would improve this team unless we become Spurs and draft exceptionally well regardless of the draft position.

        • Mediumcore

          Even the Spurs lucked out BIG time when they got Duncan. I beleive Boston had the most lottery balls by far and somehow didn’t end up with the number one pick. The Spurs would not be the same organization they are today if not for the luck that landed them Tim Duncan

          • tonious35

            It’s really, how they coached and taken care of that luck. You can get a #1 pick, but still end up not winning a playoff series. *Cough* Colangelo

        • KJ-B

          I have an off the wall trade– Eddy Curry (expiring) + Anthony Randolph for Jose Calderon and Amir Johnson… Knicks need a backup pg and Raps get a skilled big and a huge expiring.

      • hound

        YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAMES!!!!! That is what a winner does, losers lose and hope. That is what you are suggesting.

        • Nilanka15

          If only pro sports was as simple is you’re suggesting. This isn’t NBA2K11, this is real life.

          Trying to win as many games as possible with an admittedly flawed roster is the easiest way to reach a state of perpetual mediocrity. This is a talent-driven league, and talent is something the Raps are in VERY short supply of. The first place we should be looking for talent is in the draft.

  • Bendit

    Nice writeup and upgrade to the section! I was hoping you would make mention of the “control” Thibodeau has of his team when he called 2 timeouts in quick succession on defensive lapses in the first quarter and berated Rose (the franchise) on one for allowing Bayless to blow by. And these were called with the Bulls leading by double digits. I understand the resources he has available as compared to JT but such instances and his constant prowling of the sidelines totally engaged in every play of the game was something to see in a blowout. Yes, his style will grow old after a while but I have a feeling only after the Bulls have had a lot of success. Boozer is already used to it (under Sloan).

    • Nilanka15

      I was thinking the exact same thing. You had to think Matt and Jack mentioning it over and over again was a subtle shot at Triano too. A coach is supposed to be an authority figure…not your best friend.

      • Dan

        This is a joke right?

        Name another coach in the league that would have gotten a win out of the Raps last night… you can’t.

        Our roster is a piece of shit, especially without Bargs and Calderon. Wake up.

        • Nilanka15

          Buddy, it’s not about wins. It’s about discipline…something the Raps simply don’t have when it comes to shot-selection, or defensive positioning. Players aren’t held accountable, and that has nothing to do with the low level of talent on this team.

          Of course Phil Jackson, Doc Rivers, Jerry Sloan or Greg Popovich wouldn’t have helped us win last night. But I can guarantee if one of those was our coach since training camp, you wouldn’t see our players make the same mistakes over, and over, and over again. Instead, our young players would be LEARNING from their mistakes. There doesn’t seem to be much learning going on under Triano’s watch.

          • KJ-B

            How does Weems get away with his YMCA garbage game after game after game… He had a decent couple of weeks + EVERYBODY was calling him this + that, like he is even relevant. His foolishardy basketball iQ is only good for our draft status but very little else!

            • KJ-B

              *foolhardy* that about describes #24 for the most part in a raps uniform!

        • Arsenalist

          Gotta agree. Last night’s game was about as unwinnable as a game gets. As I mentioned in the post, Bargnani would’ve given TT something to plan for, but in the end it wouldn’t have mattered. Bulls are far superior.

    • cesco

      I was watching a documentary on Vince Lombardi career last night . What a motivator he was . Winning was the only thing that mattered to him and motivating his players to that end was his forte . If Triano could bite into his clipboard out of frustration rather than throwing it to the ground , it might impress his players to play harder.

      • Nilanka15

        The problem these days is that pro athletes come with an over-inflated sense of ego. A lot of the motivational techniques used back in the day, may not sink in with today’s primadonas. Just ask Spoelstra 😉

      • Arsenalist

        “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.” – Lombardi’s greatest quote

  • Stoic

    boozer is a douche bag… I clicked by in the 3rd just in time to see him miss a FT with the Bulls up 30 and Boozer screams and scowls about the miss like it’s tied in overtime. He’s the type of guy that would go way too hard at the company three-legged race and break some lady’s hip.

    that beard is pretty douchey too.

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      So you’re criticizing Boozer because he’s ultra competitive. AT the company picnic, that’s a bad thing. On an NBA court, that’s pretty much a requirement for success.

    • Arsenalist

      Now ask yourself, wouldn’t you love to have that kind of personality on the Raptors?

      • http://twitter.com/Liston Tom Liston

        A passionate winner that drops 34 points, grabs 12 boards, and gets to the line 11 times in less than 26 min?!

        pfff, seriously Arsenalist, why would we want to put up with that?!

  • sleepz

    I’m seeing a few “yeah the team is a lot better when Bargs sits” tounge in cheek comments. I never thought they would be better without him but even with Andrea in the line-up they would have lost…..that being said many dissapointed and surprised fans at the ACC on Mago bobblehead night…..and no Mago. I wonder what are the opinions of those bloggers who are gloating about Raps getting smashed with Barg’s not in the line-up, feel about him sitting with a sore knee, while dudes like Noah with torn ligaments in his hand (and needing surgery) are out on the court for their team?

    Different players, different injuries and probably different pain thresholds but doesn’t hurt to wonder does it?

    • Mediumcore

      You can’t trade damaged goods.

    • voy

      sleepz, the dude has played 80, 78 and 78 games in the previous 3 seasons. You honeslty think he hasn’t been hurt during those 3 years?
      You can be critical of parts of Andrea’s game that need to improve but his durability is certainly not one of them.

      By the way, Noah is now out for 8 weeks. 2nd season in a row where he has missed significant time.

      • sleepz

        I wasn’t criticizing him. I was just putting a thought out there. There are a few subjective arguments floating around today particularly about Bargs not playing so they got smashed. I’m not taking either side, just like if they had of won the game I wouldn’t have said “see Bargnani should be traded”.

        • voy

          there is no way anyone can make the argument the raps lost to the bulls soley because bargs didn’t play. However, in my opinion, there can be little argument that the team’s offense is not as good with Andrea. I fail to see how anyone can argue this point. And, I’m sorry, but that per 100 possession stat is full of crap. Does anyone really think this team is a 111 points for vs 102 points against per 100 possession team without bargs?!? Assuming there are 90 possessions in a basketball game the per 100 possession stat translates to 100 points for vs 91.8 against, a game, without bargs. The only teams in the nba with a +8 or greater differential in the nba are the lakers, san an, miami and boston.

          So really in determining a players worth to a team is it more accurate to view the games the team plays without him, or to string together the 10 minutes a game he doesn’t play over the course of the subsequent 3 to 5 games and put together a piece of shit stat.

          • voy

            should read “is not as good as it is with andrea”.

          • slaw

            Dude, before you criticize a statistic, you should at least understand what it is you are criticizing. An “Offensive Rating” of 111 is calculated by: Points per Possession * 100. That’s it. If you can’t understand that, then take away the 100 multiplier (it’s just used to take away difficult to used decimlas anyway). 1.11. That’s how many points per possession the Raps have scored when Bargs isn’t on the floor. It isn’t a guess or a metric. It’s a fact. It is as true as 2+2=4. You may not like that fact but it doesn’t change it. Does it mean that the Raps are better off without Bargnani? No, there not enough information to draw that conclusion from an Offensive Rating. Also, for someone quick to disparage stats for not including every variable and contingency imaginable, could not Calderon’s absence play a huge role in the poor offense last night? Maybe even moreso than Andrea?

            • voy

              hey, the point i’m trying to make is you shouldn’t use it as a measure to determine if the raps are a better, present, team without bargs. Ever since the calderford post people have been throwing around the 111 vs 102 numbers like thats an accurate, scientific reflection of how the raps would perform if bargs was on the bench for the entire 100 possessions. I simply worked those numbers to refelect the number of possessions in a game to show how inaccurate that stat is in determining player value.

              • Hardcore Raps

                OK so a statistic is imperfect. That doesn’t make it inaccurate.

                It also doesn’t mean that the Raps would instantly score X points because Bargs was on/off the bench… what it does say is Bargs scoring isn’t as important as people think.

                Even last night people talk about how bad the Raps offense was, but this was against one of the best Ds in the league right now. For the prior 5 games the Bulls held every opponent to 90 or less points (including LAL and OKC), and the only team that shot a better % than the Raps were the Lakers. This was also a Raps team missing Jose Calderon.. who while say what you will about his D, no questions his ability to run an offense efficiently.

                While the starting line up doesn’t hold alot of consistent scoring… there are plenty of guys on the team who can score. The only difference is Bargs is the only guy thats a threat to score a boat load at once… the problem is he is also liable to miss a boat load at once.

                • RapthoseLeafs

                  [ “While the starting line up doesn’t hold a lot of consistent scoring… there are plenty of guys on the team who can score. The only difference is Bargs is the only guy thats a threat to score a boat load at once… the problem is he is also liable to miss a boat load at once.”]

                  I’m not sure by your comment if Bargs is different because the other Scorer’s are inconsistent, or he’s inconsistently scoring a boat load.

                  Never-the-less, I think most Coaches would disagree with your assessment of Bargnani. They do pay attention to his Offense, much more than any other “scorer”. Double teams, and at special moments – triple teaming. People argue that Bargnani isn’t consistent (and should be moved), yet if the “yardstick” was Weems, Kleiza and Demar (to a lesser extent), Andrea would score high on the Consistency Meter.

                  Raps need many things, but AB is the least of their worries. Maybe he’s the 6th man on a Lakers type team, but that in itself would be a tall order for any other current Raptor. I’d rather concern myself with what direction this team is heading. Or aiming. If BC can find a Wing who consistently scores and plays decent defense, then having Sonny on the Bench, would probably work out better for the Raps, and for Weems himself. Sometimes being a Role player, and being okay with it, lengthens a career. Raps need a quality Wing. The more I think about it, the more I believe that’s where the Franchise player has to come from.
                  .

                • Hardcore Raps

                  I’d argue considering Bargs usage and contract (both pay and duration) he is the priority of this teams worries.

                  I would also argue his constitency as well. While he consistently puts up 20 points a game, he does not consistently do that efficiently… which causes his decreased value in per possession.

              • http://twitter.com/Liston Tom Liston

                Largest issue with that statistic is it doesn’t consider the strength of who you’re playing with and against (e.g. poor teammates and a strong starting lineup vs garbage time minutes against their bench).

                Adjusted +/- does a *reasonable* job of accounting for this, but not the simple on/off court ratings.

    • cesco

      Apparently he felt pain in the knee even in the game in NY when he scored 41 points and the poor game in Charlotte may be due to that . Andrea and Noah are 2 different animals but if Noah has another serious injury this year after this one it will not look good for his future.

      • RaGu

        Calderon, Peja, Andrea all injured. Interesting. Trade pending?

        • Nilanka15

          lol, since Bargs is a BYC, we’d only be getting 50 cents on the dollar for him 😉

        • knickz

          maybe…andrea isn’t going anywhere…calderon and peja arne’t injured…don’t know who this team is trying to fool

          • KJ-B

            THANK YOU!!!

    • Pizzaman

      sleepz I’ll reply to you on this. Firstly you have about as much knowledge of how much pain or what his knee injury might be as me which is very little. Some reports says teaked a knee, some say pain in both knees, some say its been bothering him awhile. You cannot throw Bargnani under the bus for sitting out a rare game or two because he has missed very few injury related games and is there most often. You also don’t know if the coaches asked him to sit, since as many of the fans here say they actually want the Raps to lose.
      I assume you’re also bringing this up because you’re a Bosh fan and many accused him of being a pussy…well there is a huge difference Bargnani is many things but not a pussy, and Bosh is many things including a pussy.
      Also they may not have won and likely would not have won last night but Bargs and Jose would have made a big difference over the supposed Young gunz, and the Bayless and Barbosa hog-a-thons.

      • sleepz

        I never said anything about me knowing anything about his injury. I offered some food for thought in response to some of the “see what happens when Bargnani doesn’t play comments”. I never claimed to know the extent of his injury……only Noah’s.

        I didn’t put anyone under the bus, because I’m not a believer of the theory that the team might be better overall without Bargnani, and I never took any position on the question, cause you’re right, I don’t know what’s up with his knee.
        I also brought up nothing at all about Bosh. You’re initial assumptions were wrong. I’m a Raps fan, and a fan of basketball in general. You’re opinions about what Bosh is or isn’t are yours to have and had nothing to do with me posing the question. If you did want to make a comparison though, why not make the comparison with the player I mentioned who was Noah?

  • voy

    last night provided us with the first actual empirical data to the question is this current raps team better with bargs on or off the team. the mathematicians will prefer to string together the 10 minutes a game andrea doesn’t play, over the course of 3 to 5 games and determine on a per 100 possession basis the raps are better without bargs on both offense and defense. I mean, at least on offense, if common sense doesn’t tell you the raps would be one significantly worse on offense without bargs maybe last night’s game provided some insight.

    • Arsenalist

      Nobody has ever doubted that on offense we’re a better team with Andrea than without him. Nobody.

      Defensively, it remains to be seen but all statistical evidence points to him being a weak link. That doesn’t mean he’s to blame, the amount of “off” nights DeRozan and Weems have on that end seems to have grown in the last two weeks.

    • Theswirsky

      its amazing how stats never apply to Andrea… except when its the smallest sample size imaginable. Then they are ok….

    • http://twitter.com/Liston Tom Liston

      Looking at one game works against your “small sample size” argument. If that’s the case, I’ll bring up his offense against Charlotte, the night before.

      Andrea Bargnani brings a lot to the offense, no doubt. Its his complete game that some of us see some weaknesses.

  • wienermobile89

    Man, watching the Bulls this year as opposed to last year is amazing. Thibodeau looks like a bigger head case than Larry Brown – his bald patch turned into a hot plate after every Bayless layup – but wow that team executed beautifully last night.

  • 511

    I’ve been wondering about something regarding these injuries.

    We have Jose out with some mysterious foot injury … Peja’s starting to become an afterthought with an equally mysterious ‘swollen knee’ and with yesterday’s trade deadline come-and-gone, the trade-suspicions are out the window for the moment (if that’s how that works).

    So … last night, Bargnani sat it out. His knee issue might explain some of the stinker he put up the night before in Charlotte, but I didn’t really notice any limping (which doesn’t mean anything, necessarily). And re that night in Charlotte, I had, truth be told, wondered if he’d heard Oakley’s knock on him and let it throw him off (… and while I doubt it, who really knows?) but last night he wasn’t available and it sounds like the timetable to get back out there is fuzzy right now … so again, I find myself wondering … .

    The thing is, I’m not nearly as fussed as I’d normally be about the whole idea that just MAYbe, the powers-that-be are starting to think about way down the road when ping pong balls are allotted and who is going to be there to select from where … and factored in with the reality that we really do stink and the draft is the only way that I can see that we’ll be able to get ourselves back to being competitive again long-term … suddenly, I’m not feeling nearly as one-sided about that whole debate. I won’t use the ‘T’ word (lol) but maybe it actually does make some sense to let the season play out with our younger guys getting more burn than they otherwise might. And if we rack up a few extra ping pong balls along the way, well … what of it? (With a wink to Nilanka. Hey, I change my mind on lots of things.)

    • RaGu

      I was wondering about all these “injuries” as well.

    • Nilanka15

      Ha, the force is strong with you young padawan 😛

      Just to clarify, December 15 wasn’t a deadline per se. It was just the date that allows any player who was signed this summer, to be eligible for trade. Meaning that it’s still possible Peja/Calderon can be traded between now and the February’s trade deadline.

      • 511

        Ahh (on the trade deadline), I see. Cheers.

  • PapiJulio007

    The Raptors youngest staring line-up ever Jack said last night. Average age 22.6yrs old. Wow.

    Plus Jack made a good point that Boozer, Korver & Milsap all played for Jerry Sloan’s Jazz. Great defensive coach that expect TONS from his players. Those three guys have GOOD chemistry already, been to WAR in the playoff together and have been broken down & Re-built by a great coach! Nothing escape Jack Armstrong’s basketball Genius. Jack says stuff thats obvious when you heard it, but U & I would never have thought about! Pure Genius Jack is!

    Another note…. I know we were VERY under manned because of injuries but in the 4th we started to get some momentum. Shots were dropping. We were getting stops OR Chicago was BRICKING it. Then cue Sonny….. WTF! First he’s the man……then decides to pretend he’s the only guy on the floor for the Raptors. Not passing. Quick shots with nobody in rebounding position. Bye, Bye momentum …. thanks Sonny. Grrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!

    Sonny your good….BUT please don’t force the issue. Sonny needs some Yoda training to control his mind. Sometimes I think Sonny just wants to look GOOD and gets *extreme* tunnel vision! Sonny drop the *Sonny Show* & use this opportunity to grow as a player. Sonny your very good……. but you gotta prove your a ‘Awesome Role Player’ first if you want to move to the next level!

    Go Raps Go!

    • Bendit

      Last I heard Milsap still plays for Sloan. Maybe u/Jack were thinking Brewer?

      • PapiJulio

        Yeah, sorry Brewer. Thanks!

    • Mediumcore

      Win or lose I enjoy games which Jack calls much more than when Leo is there. I don’t know why, but something about Leo is just so damn annoying.

      • PapiJulio007

        I think because Leo thinks everybody watching his Broadcast knows absolutely nothing about basketball! Leo is worse then John Madden pointing out the MOST obviously things. He’ll then spent the next 10mins explaining it! And then repeats it next broadcast like he just discovered. Come on Leo we know we should pull the ‘Shot Block’ down instead of batting it into the 7th row….. but it the statement it sends….plus you get a Block stat instead of Rebound? What would you get if you just pull it down? Steal…no…. Rebound…. not really….. Leo’s praise? I sending the ball packing!

        • Nilanka15

          Hey man, don’t knock Madden!

          After a massive mid-field hit: “He won’t be needing a new clock this Christmas, he just got his cleaned!” PRICELESS!!!

          • PapiJulio007

            Ok… your right. Madden is a likable funny dude that stats the obvious. I do like Madden. Madden doesn’t talk down to people. Leo take low blows at people on Live TV and thinks he’s smarter them everyone. I didn’t mean to insult Madden with the Leo comparison.

            Hey Leo….. hows your ear ring? I can barely notice it….

      • bradshaw

        Yeah I can sit through watching a blowout, as long as Jack is there. Leo is fuckin tard

      • KJ-B

        Y’all may be right on regarding Leo’s notorious teachathon’s but do you know that the raps have a higher winning % with him commentating over Jack this year???

      • Arsenalist

        Have you noticed how close Leo and Rod Black sit in those quarterly segments? Take note next time.

      • Pesterm1

        I watched a came today with Leo announcing from 2001 Indianna vs Toronto and he was syaying the exact same things he says in todays games. Ex ” why do players always awat the ball, grabbing it with two hands and pulling it down is much more embarassing… blah blah blah”. lol 9 years later and the same old stuff

        • PapiJulio007

          ya mon!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QJTJQMQYS7YGDZCTEDXHQ5MUSA Mike

      Agree with the Sonny comments, but in the fourth, we were down 30 points and all of the Bulls key starters were sitting (and the guys who were playing didnt have a lot of incentive given their lead). Ya, we made a mini-run, but I wouldnt put much into it.

      Last night was the first time in a long time we I sat down at my seat realizing there was literally no chance we were going to win that game. It was a miracle we were down 5 at first quarter and no shock at all when it ballooned to 30.

      You can say what you want about Bargs, but the reality is that, with him in the lineup, we at least have a chance. I admit we have a chance to get blown out by 30 also, but we have a chance to compete. Thats all I ask for as a fan (even if we lose, which is fine, ill take ping pong balls) – but give us a chance to compete. We dont have it without Bargs and we wont if we trade him for a 10 and 8 guy who can play D.

      • PapiJulio007

        **Wasn’t** thinking we were going to win with the momentum we had in the 4th. Just was pointing out that Sonny brought the ball up the court 3 times in a rows during that momentum swing. After Sonny made the first trip, MONEY, then he decided to give himself a ‘Heat Check’ on the next 2 times up court. Sonny forgot he was on a team. The Sonny Show was playing inside his head! I like Sonny, think he could be a good player *IF* Yoda straighten his mind out a bit!

        Really Sonny you gotta slow down on the Heat-Checks buddy!

    • Theswirsky

      I think one of the things with Sonny is that he is at his best when the ball is being pushed…. Just sometimes when its not there the ball needs to be dribbled back out to the 3 pt line.

      As for the Bulls… I think that team is a legit contender. There is alot of experience on that team, and even the young guys have some good playoff exp. Hard workers, high end talent, depth on that bench. What amazed me was how they ran back on D every play. Every single one. How few fast break points did the Raps have that game? Thats where the Raps are at their best, and Chicago almost completely nullified it. That takes a good coach and a team willing to be coached.

  • Ghostface

    Like the old format better…

    • Arsenalist

      Give it a few days.

      • PapiJulio007

        Gotta say I like the new format. Clean and I can actually reply to the correct person. I am pretty good with computer but seemed like a pain in the ass to reply to people unless you were use to it with the old format. This one is EXTREMELY straight forward.

        I like it. I am a simple guy. With simple needs. Now I don’t have to think too hard when replying!

      • Ghostface

        Old format was easier to read plus much better for new comments…might take longer than a few days.

      • Mauro

        well, the highlight of the new messages is the feature I miss more

        • http://www.facebook.com/arsenalist Zarar Siddiqi

          We’re working on that feature, bear with us.

  • Guest

    I was really surprised last night about how small Ed was compared to Boozer when they were standing next to each other. I know that by measurement Ed is suppose to be an inch taller than Boozer, but overall it looked like Boozer had a good two inches on Davis.

    • PapiJulio007

      Ed was probably hunched over in pure TERROR standing next to a developed Power Forward. 😉

  • pran

    calderon and derozan for mayo…..we sign marc gasol in the offseason……wait for the ping pong balls to drop(not going to win many games without calderon)…and draft the best player availible (like we did last year harrison barnes availible okay great, if not kyrie is fine)….trade bargs and lb for the position we need to fill (small forward or point guard, probably small forward)…problem solved

  • cdub

    Did anyone else notice Jack Armstrong pretty much say the Sonny’s minutes are going to be drastically reduced when players become healthy….most had probably turned the game off at that point but I found it amusing he came out and said that on TV, or indicated as much. The earlier the better. I was actually pretty high on Weems coming into the seaon but it is quite obvious he is nothing more than a scrub at this point. You don’t need to trade Weems for anyhting just stop playing him unless you are purposely tanking.

    • KJ-B

      AMEN BROTHER!!! Even the eternal optimist in Devlin had to question his shot selection/overall purpose on the court…FINALLY!

    • Arsenalist

      What player scan become healthy to reduce Weems’ minutes? Peja ain’t playing, so I guess you mean Jose coming in will push Bayless to the two and reduce Sonny’s PT?

      • Leavingtheoffice

        Maybe Wikileaks can let us know what’s up with Peja. There’s no info coming from the organization.

  • sangaman

    Bargs looks a bit clumsy when driving and I think his knee problems are part of trying extending too much on long drives to the hoop. After all he is a 7 footer with a high center of gravity. It would be much better for his longevity and overall scoring to include more high percentage back to the basket moves ..especially with his nice touch. If only Kevin McHale could be recruited to teach his repertoire to the big Italian.

    • Dookielover

      for 7 foot bargs is pretty smooth and i dont see him clumsy at all.im not sure if youve ever watched mchale play but mchale was as herky jerky odd n awkward as they came.albeit effective.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BTFWGDUDNOWCRXADV7VNAFQXSU Matt

    http://t.co/5ZFzbhn – A piece on Heat/Celtics current winning streaks, maybe the Heat streak isn’t all that impressive?

  • FAQ

    Are the Raptors hapless, hopeless and feckless too ..???