Raptors 84, Mavericks 76 – Box

That was fun to watch. If you’re a fan of defensive basketball, then this was the game for you, and by “the” game I mean perhaps the only game you have experienced ever where the Raps played lockdown basketball for a full 48 minutes. AltRaps nailed it with the word: inspired. This team comes into Dallas shorthanded, without two everyday starters and a rotation player, then proceed to lose another two of their starters and still pull out the win. That’s some winning spirit. In the end, it was Barbosa, DeRozan, Julian Wright, Ed Davis, and Amir Johnson holding the fort to pull off the improbable victory. You could call them all members of the “New Colangelo” squad, signifying a recent shift to more athletic, defensive-minded players. The only problem is, that they were thrust into major roles not by choice, as this organization still puts a heavy premium on one-dimensional offensive players, but by necessity. Tonight, we realized that you can win not only by outscoring another team, but by giving up less points than the opponent. When it comes to the playoffs (let’s play make-believe!), this is how games are won more often than not.

For the second game in as many nights, the Raptors got off to a great start, playing strong defense. They forced Jason Kidd to commit uncharacteristic turnovers early on, but the real turning point in the quarter and arguably the game was when when Joey Dorsey checked out of the game with 2 quick fouls and 8:52 to go in the first quarter. In the ensuing 90 seconds, this is what Easy Ed accomplished: 6 point, 2 rebounds and a blocked shot. A few more rebounds, blocked shots and 3 steals later, Davis had already the makings of a career game by halftime. The Johnson/Davis frontcourt is just nasty. They may not be the biggest, tallest guys out there, but they are deceptively long and have excellent hops for their size. Having one guy like that is one thing, but when you have two patrolling the paint like that, it plants seeds of doubt in the opposing players mind. The Mavs turned into a jumpshooting team and ended up down 23-13 by the end of the quarter.

13 point quarter? When’s the last time we’ve seen that? Sure, Dirk Nowitzki was missing and that surely had something to do with it, but this team is 24 and 5 (now 6) and this is at home. They have Jason Kidd, Caron Butler, Jason Terry. Shawn Marion can do some damage. It’s not exactly an offensive wasteland. It’s baffling. Is it possible that Andrea Bargnani is as much of a liability of defense as Tom Liston’s dirty little stats have painted him as? There was nothing easy at the rim, practically everything was contested and despite a lot of Dallas missed shots, the offensive rebounds were kept to a minimum.

The second quarter looked like a carbon copy of the Memphis game. Raptors squander lead quickly with a barrage of turnovers, leading to a 12-0 run to tie the game at 25. Pesky little Jose Juan Barea gave the Raptors trouble with his speed and deft passing, but Linas Kleiza wasn’t ready to take the shame of being fooled twice, having a solid quarter punctuated by a couple of line-drive three balls to restore the lead to 46-40 at the half. It was a good test of the intestinal fortitude to not completely wilt after the inevitable home-team run, and to enter the second half with the lead still intact definitely helped the mindset going into the third quarter.

Want to know what stopped that 12-0 run not turning into something horrific like 20-2? The crowd is amped up, game is now tied at 27 and Jerryd Bayless misses a short jumper, front rim, and Ed Davis swoops in for the offensive rebound and putback in one fluid motion. The next offensive possession, Barbosa get’s blocked and Ed Davis gets his hands on the ball and gets fouled. He hits a free throw and grabs his third offensive board in less then a minute, Kleiza ends up scoring. This is what they call an insurance policy, where you can afford to fail because your bigs are there to bail you out. It’s what Reggie Evans was giving us, but unfortunately not much of anything else. Ed gives you that something else. This was the first game where he showed Toronto what he could be some day.

The Raptors turned the Mavericks into a jumpshooting team, but the shots weren’t falling in the second half. A great start, featuring Joey Dorsey and DeMar DeRozan, pushed the lead to double digits. DeMar’s shot was on, and dare I say that the absence of Bargnani has benefitted him already. You give him more touches, he does tend to produce. It’s a more traditional setup too, where the bigs are setting screens and/or rolling to the rim and he’s got space to operate on the perimeter to spot up or just create something off the dribble. This team is learning to play without their main offensive weapon, and it showed signs that other players can step up to fill that void.

The game could have easily turned yet again for the Mavericks when Linas Kleiza got ejected midway through the third quarter just as Dallas had closed it to a 5-point deficit. Kleiza was having yet another solid game, but all it really did was unleash the force that is Julian Wright, who is quickly winning some Raptor hearts over with his fine defensive play and surprisingly good court vision. The team just plays better with him on the floor. Dallas only managed 17 points in the fourth quarter and he was a big reason why. He can break down offenses with his dribble, which is quite decent for his size, so it’s not like he can’t do anything on that end. Let’s hope he gets consistent minutes. Minutes that might have Sonny Weems’ name on them.

It was a one possession game until Leandro Barbosa, our point guard by default, took over with 6 consecutive points (he tends to do that a lot in second halves) and a nice assist to Ed Davis for an 8-0 run burst. With the defense playing the way it had, that was all she wrote for the Mavericks, as they continued taking and missing outside shots. It was really fun to watch this team, especially in the foruth quarter, just frustrate the hell out of the opposition with their length and quickness. All fairly new Colangelo recruits, and decent ones at that. What can you say about Amir Johnson. The dude is clearly in some pain, but just laid it all out there tonight. The stats don’t tell the story for him. You play him 40 minutes, especially when he’s healthy and not in foul trouble, you’ve just made your team that much better. That’s how much regard I have for the guy’s ability. Let’s just hope that New Colangelo is coming to the same realization that not only do you need these kind of players to complement your team, but they need to be part of the core, the identity of the team. And more inspired victories should follow.

  • KJ-B

    VELOCIRAPTOR BASKETBALL (See: Jurassic Highlights)…Lightning quicks, very mobile, strikes fast, roll in packs and their defense is near impenetrable… Does Julian Wright, really deserve to come out of extinction ONLY WHEN we can dress 8-9 guys!!! The guy is a Raptor, through and through in the spirit of JYD, with the hands of Alvin Robertson and hustle of Doug Christie…

    Ya, sure his ‘O’ is not there–but name me another forward on this roster who can pass like that?!?

    Ed Davis, that’s why you’re on my fantasy team!

    DeRozan–09:55 of the 3rd Q you came of age on a catch and shoot quick hitter that Ray Allen would be proud corner…

    Kleiza is who we thought he was…in skill/feistiness

    Weems/#7: I can’t wait to say goodbye–word on the block is they’re shopping Javale McGee + Andray Blatche (same initials but he can board a bit better than #7) in Washington–G’bye now, that’s all folks!

    • KJ-B

      “be proud of running through a screen from the corner”… BTW +1 “AltRaps”!

  • mountio

    First of all – fantastic effort and great to watch the undermanned raps compete like that. However, lets call a spade a spade, the Mavs came out of the gate sleepwalking, making uncharacteristic turnovers (that Id love to give our D all the credit for, but it just wasnt the case). They also couldnt hit the broad side of a barn for long stretches. The same way I dont give our team all the blame when other teams shoot the lights out against us, I cant give us all the credit when the Mavs simply laid an egg last night. But, I will give us credit (espeically down the stretch) for simply outworking them.
    Having said that, I love what Ed D brought – defensively and in flashes on the offensive end as well. Julian wright should for sure see more PT – fantastic passing (i havent seen the raps get so many uncontested dunks/layups in a long time) and versatile defender. If we can get the rest of the team healthy and get Ed and Julian to contribute, i like the potential.
    Also – props to JB and Amir on a gutsy effort playing hurt – very impressive.

    • Buddahfan

      Nothing really impressive at all about some Raptors playing hurt.

      That is what winners in sports do.

      Maybe the Raptors have had too few of these type of players for fans to realize that playing hurt is what the norm for winners is as long as the team Dr. approves it.

  • Joey_d

    I agree with everything in this post; Davis, Amir, and J Wright, all players that deserve to play big minutes. Ever since the game very early in the season against Golden State when the Raptors were fighting to get back into the game in the 4th after Ellis had torched them, I’ve been saying Julian Wright deserves minutes (he played zero minutes that game and the Raps lost due largely to a failure to guard the Warriors’ wings).

    I think some are arguing that Weems and DeRozen deserve minutes so they can grow into better players, which is fair enough, but Julian Wright is younger than Weems and shows potential to become a better all-round player, so why limit his minutes? DeRozen and Davis should get minutes this season in order to continue to develop, but Weems should have to fight for minutes the same as the rest of the roster, with Wright deserving his fair shot.

  • Joey_d

    also, another random observation: anyone else notice that the Raps have been really lucky in facing Dallas the last 4 or 5 years? I think they’ve managed to play Dallas right at the moment when Dirk is out with an injury at least 3 or 4 times in the last few seasons, thankfully sparing us all the bullsh*t bargnani-dirk comparisons by the commentators.

  • barenakedman

    That was an excellent write up A-Dub!
    Julian Wright has had more good efforts than not. What would more PT do for him? Joey Dorsey with two starts and double doubles both times. Amir and Ed blocked up the paint on D and contributed with very timely scoring. DeMar showed a beautiful scoring touch and comes through when he knows Bargnani isn’t there with the automatic 20 pts. Bayless does have court vision and is all about winning.
    Dallas had an off night but they still looked like they could comeback if the Raptors faltered so it kept me intrigued right up till the last two minutes.

  • Nilanka15

    “Is it possible that Andrea Bargnani is as much of a liability of defense as Tom Liston’s dirty little stats have painted him as?”

    John_P just developed a hernia reading that line…

    • John_P

      Another great game by Amir. We should lead the charge to get him on the all star game. As for Bargnani, we should trade him now because we proved we can beat a team without a superstar in it’s lineup. We’re now 1-4 with bargs out fo the lineup so the stats speak for themselves.

      • Nilanka15

        Sarcasm is not your best weapon.

        • John_P

          I wasn’t being sacastic at all. What has really helped us is his rebounding, which is far better then Bargnani’s as you’ve mentioned over and over. Look at Amir’s rebounding numbers over the past 6 games.

          3, 3, 6, 2, 4, 6.

          I know Bargs, or anyone for that matter, would have a hard time matching that.

          • Nilanka15

            Why do you insist in comparing your God (i.e. Bargnani) to Amir? They’re polar opposite players. One’s lazy, plays no defense, has no instinct on the glass, but is the best scorer on this squad. The other just “gets it” in all the hustle categories, but needs work on his offensive game, and his slap-happy hands. One plays centre, while the other plays PF.

            Would you also be interested in getting into a Peja/Bayless debate?

            • John_P

              Is that why they’re averaging the same numbers on the glass, because Amir “gets it” and Andrea doesn’t? Typical young ones fanboy response.

              • Theswirsky

                are they averaging the same minutes?

                Typical Bargs lover response… only use stats when they are misleading since accurate numbers always show the opposite of what you want to believe.

                • Nilanka15

                  Common sense doesn’t apply to John_P. Instead of actually watching games and seeing each player’s effort (or lack of effort) on the glass, he relies on a few numbers taken completely out of context in a feeble attempt to prove a point.

                  If you pointed out the Amir’s been playing with back spasms the last few weeks, John_P would call you a “fanboy”.

                • John_P

                  Perhaps the reason they’re not averaging the same minutes has something to do with ability and being smart enough to stay on the court. Typical young ones fanboys,
                  only use stats when they are misleading since accurate numbers always show the opposite of what you want to believe.

                  Also the fact that he’s been playing with back spasms for 2 games doesnt account for what he’s done all season.

                • Nilanka15

                  Nobody’s suggesting that Amir isn’t foul prone. He absolutely is. That doesn’t make Bargnani an equal rebounder, as your weak stats suggest. Both players have their flaws. You just can’t admit that Bargnani has any. Therein lies the definition of a fanboy.

                  Also, this thread had absolutely nothing to do with Amir, until (for some unknown reason) you decided to bring him up.

                • Nilanka15

                  RR crew, would you mind answering this question. A simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ would suffice. Does John_P “like” his own comments? Thanks.

                • yertu damkule

                  not to argue for arguement’s sake, but as a frontcourt player, one’s responsibilities extend to being the last line of defense. for bargs, there is a correlation between his overall poor D (and atrocious help D) & the fact that he commits so few fouls. he learned early in his career that comitting dumb fouls would get his ass nailed to the bench, and unfortunately, this is one of the few things that seems to have remained consistent in his game the last couple seasons. i applaud his ability to remain on the floor, but if his ability to do so comes at the expense of help D…well, i could probably learn to live with 2 or 3 more (good, hard) fouls each game.

                  i’ve been critical of amir for his inability to judge what constitutes a ‘good’ foul & a poor one, though i have noticed a lessening of the truly stupid fouls over the last month. not that he’s eliminated them completely, but that’s unrealistic (all players commit dumb fouls/do dumb things all the time). maybe i’m just seeing what i want to see, but it appears that a greater % of his fouls are occurring near the basket in help D situations, or are loose-ball fouls (i.e. fighting for rebound position).

                • Tinman

                  Spot on regarding Bargnani’s low foul rate. A big man like himself should be fouling more and while I don’t have a count I would say about a third to half are on the offensive side.
                  One of his initial problems was staying on the floor, Sam would yank him quick.
                  I always hold out that hope that one day he gets it. Maybe watching last nights effort only helps him. Our interior D was about as good as I’ve seen in years.

                • Theswirsky

                  I never said Amir could stay on the floor regularily… but averaging the same number of rebounds in less minutes does not make player equal rebounders. Thats why your ‘stat’ is misleading.

                  can we get into other stats? did you read up the other day on the ones that you wanted ie. that prove bargnani’s impact on defense was greater than his impact on offense? or did you ignore those?

              • Ihatehaters

                Actually, Amir is averaging 3.5% more boards per game, in 2/3 of the time. And 44% more steals. And 36% more blocks.

                • John_P

                  …and 40% more fouls and minus 60% scoring.

                • yertu damkule

                  …but with a higher TS%.

            • mountio

              The point is that everyone hacks on AB’s rebounding, when it can be a totally useless stat. Amir played very well last night and got 6 boards. He was impactful at the rim, both offensively and defensively (and logged a tonne of minutes for him). Does the 6 boards tell the story? I dont think so. You guys would be killing AB if he went for 30 and 6 that hes not hitting the boards enough.
              When a guy plays well, he plays well. Sometimes that means getting 6 boards that really help the team (other times, you can get 10 relatively meaningless baords that dont make much of a difference either way)

              • Nilanka15

                I completely agree. The numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Watching the games and witnessing the level of effort on defense and on the glass fills in the rest of the story.

              • John_P

                That was my point exactly. I have nothing against Amir and value his contribution to the team, however if Bargs had put up those numbers then we all know what would have been said.

                • Nilanka15

                  Doesn’t this thought imply that both Bargnani and Amir share equal responsibility on the fate of the Raptors?

            • Big Silent

              I’m an Andrea fan (as opposed to a “fanboy”, whatever that is… seems to have some latent gay connotations), but I agree with this post.

          • Theswirsky

            yep minutes? injury? shouldn’t bother factoring those in right?

            PS Bargs would have a hard time matching that.

            • John_P

              oh is that right? Explain to me why then that he’s averaging more rebounds then Amir since Reggie has been injured? Nice try young ones fanboy.

              • yertu damkule

                you’re right, bargs is avg’g a little over 6.5 rpg since reggie went out (in ~35 mpg), and amir is at just over 6 rpg since then (in ~27.5 mpg). per36, bargs is ~6.7, and amir is just over 8. neither represent good #’s for a frontcourt player, IMO.

                • John_P

                  I would agree with that assessment, and that is why its frustrating when I read about how great a rebounder Amir is and how poor Bargs is. The truth is Amir is only marginally better at best.

                • Raptorsss

                  With Dupree signing at first I was like WTF?? But in the end its not surprising. Peja may never play another game in a Raptors uniform, so its not an if but when the dude gets cut. Dupree is just replacing Peja’s roster spot.

                • Raptorsss

                  On the matter of Bargnani, its no accident that the Raptors give up the most points in the paint and he sports the worst +/- on the team (with Amir and Dorsey at the top). The fact of the matter is its pointless to play ‘Drea when he gives up more points than he makes.

                • Rapsfan

                  Amen

                • John_P

                  WTF are you talking about?? So explain to me why he’s top 3 on the team in PER if he’s such a liability on the floor? Fact is this team is 1-4 with him out and got lucky that Dallas underestimated them. It was a great win, no doubt, but if you really think this team, or any team, could hold teams consistently to under 80 points then you’re delusional. The raps are very static on offence without Andrea in the lineup and very easy to defend.

                • Nilanka15

                  Haven’t we learned not to rely on a small sample size yet? Do you honestly think 5 games sans Bargnani, scattered throughout the season, is enough to provide the rest of the roster with any semblance of familiarity? Wouldn’t you think new roles would need to be defined, and time needed to do so? According to your logic, we’re better off with Bosh in our lineup….you know….because we’re only 11-20 without him.

                • John_P

                  Well I can’t control the sample size, all I can assess is what I see. When he’s not in our lineup we are lost on offence and no one on this team other then Barbosa can create their own shot. When he is in our lineup, lanes and shots open up for other people, which is why Amir’s numbers offensively are so impressive when Bargs is playing because he opens up space for him. Also it goes without saying that the teams record would be better with Bosh, however no way would I want him at that price.

  • Copywryter

    Julian Wright was great. Endless hustle and he put his good court vision to use without pushing things too hard. Shame he can’t get more minutes on this team.
    Gotta admit I was screaming at Kleiza’s bonehead ejection – glad to see Bayless give him the gears for it as well. If we lose Bayless for any length of time we’re in trouble.
    Amir and Davis – warriors. Having two players who can alter shots in the paint makes us a much better team.
    Gritty win even if Dallas was playing poorly on the second night of a back-to-back.
    It’s only one win, but I have to say it: this lineup (and select reserves) gave the team a personality and edge that we usually lack.

  • Bendit

    Games like this make enduring the turnover fest disasters worthwhile. It also shows some of the impatient amongst us (me included) what happens to even an elite team when their main cog is missing. The Lakers are beatable without Kobe and the Spurs without Duncan…and how many of our “main cogs” did we have mia last night? A good trade and a good draft is what we need.

  • Nilanka15

    Hopefully we can learn something from this win, and not follow it up with a stinker in Houston. I’m worried that champagne was sprayed in the locker room last night, followed by, “I’m going to Disneyworld!” rants.

    • mountio

      I would guess a blowout in Houston. Im hoping not, but as short handed as we are .. we will really be running on fumes and its tough to pull a rabbit out of a hat two games in a row ..

      • Mike P

        Houston will be tough. they are hot right now. winners of five straight and knowing yao is basically out, probably helps the mental piece. nevertheless, if the raps play that type of defense, anything could happen. davis and johnson were making dallas attempt giant killers all night. our half-court offense is where we struggle with this group of healthy players, lets hope they can get rebounds and run and create turnovers for points.

  • Employee

    It’s a big win. But I watched the Dallas stream the whole game, Dirk was talking with them almost the whole third quarter. I just got the sense that they weren’t taking the Raps seriously until it was waaay too late.

  • Balls of Steel

    I hope that Bayless is not lost for an extended period of time. If that ever happens, it will really force BC’s hand to make something happen. This team needs a true distributor and someone who can really protect the ball. There’s so much speculation out there about Jose but there’s only 2 things that are guaranteed as far as the Raps are concerned: Triano and Calderon are NOT going anywhere. It’s clear that Jose cannot take the 82-game grind of the NBA. It also doesn’t help that his mammoth contrace is immovable.

    If this team hopes to really learn, then Triano must continue to play Wright for his hustle and heart. All the more reason to jettison Weems and his hype. I also noticed that the team is grittier without AB. Don’t get me wrong, we still need him to score but the defence in the paint against the Mavs would not be possible with Bargs in it. Ez – E (man-child Davis) should look at this game tape for quite some time. He altered shots, went up against Haywood and Chandler and guarded the paint (points in the paint 48 -24 for the Raps). This game ranks in the top three in my opinion. When Kleiza got ejected, I was ready to turn the TV off (glad I didn’t). What a game!

    • Nilanka15

      After seeing both Turkoglu and Arenas traded in the last few weeks, it’s pretty safe to say there isn’t a single contract in the league that’s “immovable”, especially Calderon’s.

      Also, I agree that Wright should be eating up Weems’ minutes, even when Weems is healthy again. But since he’s only making $850,000, trading him will literally bring us a new rack of basketballs…nothing more. At that price, he’s good value as a 4th or 5th wing in the rotation.

      • KJ-B

        I’d trade him for Cartier in Washington in a heartbeat… This is my “blockbuster” (I hear Javale McGee being shopped)… http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=36nwkha …Pieces leaving #7, Julian/Weems getting Howard, McGee, Yi/Martin…

        • JJ

          You’d trade chucker weems and probably your best defensive wing player for not fully recovered howard, McGee who seems immature and lacking defensive instincts and friggin Yi. C’mon Son!!

          • KJ-B

            Not wanting to see Ed Davis and Javale McGee terrorize the NBA–“C’mon Son!!” … In case you didn’t notice all of the incoming contracts are expiring except for McGee… Love the Julian, but Javale McGee is a Franchise Changer…Tried the trade other ways, but the numbers were hard to match–you’re welcome to give it a shot!

  • Mediumcore

    Good game/win for the Raptors. The image of Wright going all out to save the ball from going out of bounds should be put on every Raptors commercial in slow motion. Effort like that will get him more playing time, but the problem is that he’s so far down the rotation that the moment he doesn’t produce, Triano is going to go back to Weems in favour of the better scoring option. Triano is simply playing the hot hand and not sticking with anyone for too long.

  • PL

    Great game from tip-off. Ed Davis was fantastic! I am not a Calderon fan, although I respect him somewhat. I would love to know which foot is “sore”. I want to know what was going through his head when he saw Bayless limping, barely even able to walk up the court. AND STILL WANTING TO PLAY! In my opinion, when everyone is sacrificing themselves everyone must sacrifice themselves. Calderon seemed more mobile cheering on the sidelines than Bayless on the court.

    The best part of the broadcast with this in mind —- the camera on Bayless limping, then on Jose on the bench with a blank look on his face, while Devlin says something like, “…..and Jose with the sore foot….” Jose is made of paper

    Anyway, didn’t expect a win last night. Gives us some hope, however we were lucky to get them on a back to back and without Dirk. Plus they didn’t take the Rap’s seriously.

    • Ryan

      Not trying to be a fanboy here, but I just want to look at it from another view.

      Jose gets a sore foot, but he knows he has a capable backup in Bayless and can afford to take the game off – a game that everyone wrote off before even playing.
      Bayless hurts his ankle, there is no other PG ready to go with the team already so shorthanded, and the Raptors are nursing a small lead.

      Yes, Jose is injury prone, no one will argue against that. But it’s not all black/white.
      Plus, notice that Bayless ended up hurting himself further and may have ended up missing more playing time?

    • RapthoseLeafs

      .
      Jose played hurt during the last couple of seasons (ever have a hamstring issue) – why are we questioning his character in that way?
      .

  • slaw

    I can’t remember the last time an opponent actually hesitated with their dribble penetration because of the Raps interior defense. 2002? Davis, Amir and Dorsey challenged virtually everything in the paint and you could see the Mavs settling for pull-ups because of it.

    One thing about the post: I thought it was an interesting point that a lot of the contributions came from ‘new’ players. No comment from this peanut gallery but I thought it was an interesting observation…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_47IOUM3SOHK4X4RXCB7NEXOFWM John N

    A great win by an undermanned determined effort by Raptors, highlighted by Ed Davis giving a climpse of his potential, but helped by a Mav’s team, struggling to make shots on a back to back without Nowitzkies avg 24ppg available.

    On another night with Nowitzki in, its a slaughter by Mav’s, but it’s the NBA where anything can happen, in any game, thats why they play them.

    Great experience for the youth of Rap’s with Amir, Ed, DeMar, and Jerold, and Julian avg age 22 making important contributions. A key component DeRozan making 6/10 jump shots, some in the key end of game period bodes well for the growth of his game, avg 14.5pts last 10 games.

  • Figgy15

    Statistics are always facts, but not always the truth. Behind every raw statistic is another statistic, and another and another, and then you start to get to the truth. Some people love statistics (Hell, I go right to the box-scores myself) as they provide very black and white answers. Some people need/want black and white answers to things that are inevitably complex. A guy may have great numbers one game. Great +/- for instance. You can point to that as a fact and be correct, and declare that he needs more minutes. The truth may be, that those numbers came off the bench, during garbage time in a game, maybe against the other teams worst players. Maybe it was a favourable match-up. Without a bigger sample (and we rarely have the patience to look at a real string of game samples) you may declare that player superior to the player that only faces starters, or has the greater consistency. Intangibles like team chemistry, consistency, durability etc. cloud things like crazy. Based solely on statistics, we often believe we know what will happen in a game, only to have the unexpected happen (we then jump on the statistics to figure out why) and this is why the games get played. The stuff we dont expect is why we love to watch. Statistics are why we love to make forum posts.

  • draftedraptor

    Ed Davis is back on rookie ladder
    http://www.nba.com/rookieladder/
    Yaay!!!
    Lets hope he stays there or better climbs it.

  • nadir

    So, they played inspired defense without 2 starters in the game at all, have I got this right?

  • Rapsfan

    I think we all know that Chandler would have pushed around Bargnani like a little kid and Jason Kidd would have made Jose Calderon look like he was in grade 6 trying to defend him.

    Obviously Jose and Bargs are better offensively that Davis and Bayless but how many winning teams have you seen with our try to outscore the opponent style have successes? Recently, other than the Suns who have a HOF PG, the championship teams are defense orientated.

    Defense is more important!

  • LA

    SPECIAL ED!!

  • Eustachius

    “In the end, it was Barbosa, DeRozan, Julian Wright, Ed Davis, and Amir Johnson holding the fort to pull off the improbable victory. You could call them all members of the “New Colangelo” squad, signifying a recent shift to more athletic, defensive-minded players. The only problem is, that they were thrust into major roles not by choice, as this organization still puts a heavy premium on one-dimensional offensive players, but by necessity. Tonight, we realized that you can win not only by outscoring another team, but by giving up less points than the opponent. When it comes to the playoffs (let’s play make-believe!), this is how games are won more often than no”

    Actually, this is the way an absolutely casual win can be taken totally out of contest and become a tool to pick up stupid and partisan conclusions. There weren’t the Raps at all to win this game, but absolutely the Mavs losing it! The five players you speak about, sent to the ground 82 times in a season, might probably achieve another couple of wins like that. You can call it a VERY uncharacteristically lucky game. Please, dude, spare me all the rhetoric about “effort, defense and hustle”. I’m sorry, but games are not supposed to be won realizing 84 points a time. No way.
    So, I know exactly what you mean by all that, what you wish for the New Colangelo Squad: the firing of everyone who can really and technically play the ball, the total incarnation of a playground body into the Raptors shirts. In essence, the dismissing of everything white. Yours is a propagandistic, political, social program, not a basketball related comment. And, like always, propagandistic, politic and social comments are badly biased and flawed from the very beginning!
    Do you know anything about that, Nilanka?

    • Nilanka15

      Overreact much buddy?

      Yes, we were lucky Dirk was on the sidelines, and the Mavs definitely took us lightly, but the underlying theme of the quoted paragraph still reigns true. You win with defense.

      “So, I know exactly what you mean by all that, what you wish for the New Colangelo Squad: the firing of everyone who can really and technically play the ball, the total incarnation of a playground body into the Raptors shirts. In essence, the dismissing of everything white”

      Are you fucking serious??? When you’re not planning your next Neo-Nazi rally, maybe you should realize that the author never once mentioned anything about race. Nor did a single commenter. You speak of propagandistic, biased comments, yet you spew out the most biased comment I have ever read on this site.

    • John_P

      wow this all of a sudden became really uncomfortable.

      • Nilanka15

        What’s disappointing is that people actually “liked” that self-serving, racial tirade, which in the end, had very little to do with basketball.

        • KD

          Wow, Nilanka and John_P united by a greater evil. It’s a Christmas miracle!

          • Nilanka15

            Festivus miracle

          • John_P

            I don’t ever take things personally. I have my opinion and Nilanka has his. I appreciate the fact that this site offers me and others the opportunity to express those opinions and discuss ball with true fans.

    • pran

      see the thing is, more often then not the euro’s aren’t very good at defense (there are exceptions of course), its just not something that’s emphasized in the european game so less time is spent honing that skill, To WIN IN THE NBA you need defense, so if the “new colangelo” squad is full of american players (who just happen to be black) who are better at this part of the game than so be it. And there are plenty of black players that have offensive skill, you just aren’t used to seeing it b/c you’ve been treated to an inferior product thanks to colangelo, who like you thought for years you could put together players on a court that were either good at offense (euro’s) or defense (blacks) and find the formula for a winning team smh…..

    • Statement

      Calm yourself dude