Point guard Jerryd Bayless was taking this loss particularly hard.
“It’s embarrassing,” Bayless said. “I don’t like it. I’m not used to it and I’m not going to stand for it. We all have to get better.”
Not even the fact that the Raptors ran out the youngest starting five in team history took any of the sting.
“Yeah, and it showed too,” Bayless said. “I think they bullied us. They ran whatever they wanted to run. They did whatever they wanted to do.”
Without Bargnani, who sat out with a sore left knee, Boozer used the eight-year league edge he had over rookie Ed Davis (not to mention the 40 or so pounds) to full advantage.
Davis, who got his first double-double of his career with 10 rebounds and 10 points, said going up against a Boozer and Noah motivated him more than ever to get into the weight room and hopefully one day match the strength his opponent’s last night possessed.
Head coach Jay Triano realized early on the Amir Johnson/Davis frontcourt was going to be in tough so he had little-used Joey Dorsey in before the end of the first quarter to perhaps even the scales a bit.
Dorsey did what he could do, actually going off for the first double-double of his career as well, but he had little more success containing Boozer than Davis had.
Bargnani was scratched from the opening lineup Wednesday night because of a sore left knee.
“It was bothering him (Tuesday) morning and he played (Tuesday),” Raptors head coach Jay Triano said.
“(Wednesday) he’s worse and can’t go. He’s going to be evaluated by the
doctors (last) night and I’m not sure what their next step of action will be after that.”
If there can be a star on an undermanned team that got drilled by 17 points and never really had a chance, Ed Davis might have been it for the Raptors after 10 points and 10 rebounds in his first start. The most impressive thing is that it came on a back-to-back, the first time he’s logged heavy NBA minutes on consecutive nights.
The Bulls, in a totally unsurprising move given Toronto’s inexperienced front line, got a huge night from Carlos Boozer — 34 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes. He was simply too strong for Toronto’s interior defenders. “He’s one of the premier power forwards in the league, and rightfully so got paid for it, and that’s what he’s going to do,” Toronto coach Jay Triano said of Boozer.
With Bargnani sitting courtside in a navy blue suit, rookie forward Ed Davis got his first start of his professional career. “I’m just going to come in and do what I do and try to help the team,” Davis said before the game.
The opportunity came on a night when the Raptors faced one of the most powerful front courts in the league.
A charging Carlos Boozer added a game- and season-high 34 points, contributing 20 points and eight rebounds in the first half to steer the Bulls to a 19-point lead. The Bulls also dominated the boards, pulling in 13 rebounds to the Raptors’ six in the first half, and 28-19 total.
Davis was paired up against Noah most of the night, and Raptors coach Jay Triano seemed happy with his defensive effort. “NO! That’s called straight up!” Triano shouted at a referee who called Davis for his first personal foul against Boozer. To Davis he added: “Good job.”
Davis contributed 10 rebounds and 10 points, including a satisfying dunk early in the game.
Bargnani, who missed playing on the same night his bobblehead was handed out, has a pretty exemplary record of playing through pain, though. He missed 17 games in his rookie year, but hey, sometimes people get appendicitis. Before last night, he had missed just 10 games in the three-plus years that followed his rookie campaign.
Jose Calderon missed his fourth straight game with a strained left foot, and that meant the Raptors fielded a hopelessly young lineup. In Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson, Davis, DeMar DeRozan and Jerryd Bayless, the Raptors fielded their youngest starting lineup in franchise history. (Weems, a July 1986 baby, was the old man of the group.)
“We thought, ‘We have to develop these guys,’ ” Triano said. “They have to play in this situation.
And, well, the results were predictable. Johnson, Davis and Joey Dorsey did their best as they tried to stifle the Bulls’ formidable frontcourt, but there was just too much size and too much experience. Carlos Boozer, the two-time all-star power forward, dominated inside, putting up 34 points and 12 rebounds in just 26 minutes of work. Noah added 11 rebounds, as the Bulls pulled in 14 offensive rebounds.
Offensively, without their starting point guard or their go-to player, the Raptors were often lost. Davis, in his first NBA start, had a career-high 10 rebounds. Dorsey set career highs in points (12), rebounds (13) and minutes (29).
It was never in doubt; the Bulls rolled north of the boarder and put a beat down on the Raptors 110-93 . This was in very large part due to the explosion of Carlos Boozer who was a freak of nature on the court Wednesday. Boozer posted his second double-double in a row and his third as a Bull. Boozer’s final stats were 34 points with 12 rebounds and 3 assists. It’s safe to say Canada’s fire response isn’t good becauseBoozer was on fire all night. The win was Chicago’s seventh straight and bolsters them to 15-8, maintaining a comfortable lead on the Indiana Pacers. The Bulls also mended what had been a pretty awful road record with an impressive win in Toronto.
Another solid blowout (4th quarter didn’t count, garbage time) victory, where at least the other injured Bulls star, Derrick Rose, didn’t have to do too much. Not only buoyed by the inside dominance of the Bulls frontcourt (we have a frontcourt! I mean, had one! argh!) but also going 7-18 from the three point line, any way the Bulls offense could score, the Raptors were happy to oblige. With Bargnani and Calderon out, even their hopes of outscoring the Bulls were dim.
- The Bulls played more like matadors on defense, despite the blowout. Toronto just simply couldn’t finish well to make up for their anemic rebounding. If the Bulls took better care of the basketball and executed something-less-than-sluggish of a transition-D, the CRaptors don’t get 32 fast break points and shoot much lower than the 44.2% they did.
- The 14 Bulls turnovers were mostly facepalm inducing. Luckily, the Bulls pounded the paint and didn’t settle for jumpers, shooting 53.1% and 7-for-18 on threes because Toronto rarely attempted putting hands in faces.
- Rose playing serves a nice, "gritty, grindy toughguy" narrative, but should’ve sat out. He finished with six points on 3-for-9 shooting and 11 assists. He was 0-for-2 on threes, as four of his points were fast break points on his two steals. Some passes were definitely worthy of the highlight reel, but he was responsible for five turnovers in a game he had no business playing hurt. He was held to only 29:37 of PT and that would’ve been less if
C.J.Randy Watson doesn’t burn through two fouls in the second quarter.
The Raptors wing positions, or what I like to call, the two most important positions for creating offence in the NBA, are what is letting this down, and is the main reason why this team hasn’t competed in the playoffs for a long time.
The last time the Raptors even stood a chance in the playoffs, the likes of Anthony Parker, a younger, slimmer Morris Peterson, Carlos Delfino and Jorge Garbajosa manned the wing positions.
Now we have potential guys in the two or three position for the Raptors with DeMar DeRozan, Sonny Weems, Linus Kleiza and Leandro Barbosa claiming their spots in the rotation.
Clearly the Linus Kleiza experiment was a mistake on behalf of Bryan Colangelo. Kleiza has had one good game with the Raptors, while the remainder of games have been NBDL quality at best. Kleiza’s numbers from tonight were four points, three rebounds, one turnover and all of that while shooting 2-of-9 from the field
With injuries to starters Andrea Bargnani (sore left knee), Jose Calderon (sore left foot) and Reggie Evans (fractured right foot), Toronto coach Jay Triano ended up pencilling in the youngest starting lineup in Raptors history — with the likes of Sonny Weems, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson, DeMar DeRozan and Jerryd Bayless — an average age of 22 years, 239 days. The oldest member of that lineup being Grandpa Weems, at 24 years, 160 days.
The previous youngest starting lineup for Toronto was on March 22, 1998, also against the Bulls, featuring John Wallace, Tracy McGrady, Marcus Camby, Doug Christie and Chauncey Billups — an average age of 23 years, 95 days. McGrady was all of 18 years, 302 days that night.
It was hardly a surprise, then, when the 16-8 Bulls, who have now won seven straight, jumped to 19-10 lead early and cruised to a 110-93 victory.
Triano threw everything at Bulls starting power forward Carlos Boozer, including Amir Johnson, rookie Ed Davis and Joey Dorsey, but to no avail. Boozer, a two-time NBA all-star, finished with 34 points and 12 rebounds in 26 minutes.
“We were fortunate in terms of Bargnani and Calderon being out, and being a back-to-back for them, so we wanted to play the game with pace, and we did, and once we saw that we had Carlos going pretty good, we kept going to that,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.
Boozer is, by far, the best player on the court for his team and that is saying something with a starting five that looks the way it does in Chicago. Miami may have built a winning culture in South Beach, but Chicago picked up a piece that really puts them over the edge.
Forget that he dominated Amir Johnson and Joey Dorsey. These are not playoff calibre power forwards yet. Boozer’s dominance inside makes him a very tough match up going into any playoff matchup. Bosh vs. Boozer? I’ll take Boozer. Horford vs. Boozer? I’ll take Boozer . Kevin Garnett might be the only one who can shut him down, and he’s a bit slower and maybe not as tough.
Watch out Eastern Conference. This guy is going to make a big difference this year.
The Bulls starters, save for six minutes of forward Luol Deng, rested in the fourth quarter but it was more of the same for Toronto against the impressive Bulls bench. They lived up to their never say stop reputation and continued to pound Toronto’s depleted line up. The Raptors managed to cut the deficit to 15 midway through the quarter behind some fast breakage and improved rebounding but the numbers were too far gone to make up the difference. Guard Leandro Barbosa was particularly active with a blurring 10 points in the fourth to total 21 in 31 minutes off the pine. Alas, the Raptors could muster no more and the Bulls walked off quietly into the bowels of the ACC to worry about more important things, like planning for life without their most dangerous big man for the next 8-10 weeks.
The Raptors, after being exposed in the middle without Bargnani, were no doubt wondering something along similar lines.
Jerryd Bayless is NOT a PG (and neither is Leandro Barbosa, for that matter). Looking at the stats, you might think that Bayless had a good game. He scored 20 points, on 9-15 shooting, had only 1 turnover, and held Derrick Rose 18 points BELOW his seasonal average of 24.7 ppg. This would be great if he also did what a PG is supposed to do.
Unfortunately, without the much maligned Jose Calderon available, Bayless was expected to run the offense. And he can’t do that. Chicago plays great defense, but it certainly didn’t help that Bayless doesn’t have a clue of how to run and offense and deliver the ball where it’s supposed to go. If this game doesn’t underline why I have always said that Calderon should be starting, I don’t know what will.
The big problem with trying to convert a SG into a PG is that running and offense and making your teammates better is mostly instinctual. It takes YEARS of playing that position to understand what needs to be done. It’s why I was so against drafting Avery Bradley at 13 in the last draft. He’s a talented players, but I doubt he’ll ever be a PG.
This game showed that, at this point, anyway, Bayless is a good player, but should never start.
Ed Davis’ first career start ranks him 3rd all-time among Raptors big man behind Marcus Camby who went bonkers for 14 points, 17 rebounds and 5 blocks and Charlie Villanueva who put up 18 points and 9 rebounds in his first career start.
The names he did have better starts than in Andrea Bargnani and Chris Bosh are impressive company.
Now Ed Davis does not have the offensive upside of either Bosh or Bargnani and we should not fool ourselves into thinking he ever will. What Ed Davis does have is superior defensive abilities and instincts.
Ed Davis is a walking double double as a starter and one has to wonder if Jay Triano will look at bringing Amir back off the bench sometime in the future.