Raptors 102, Ewww 122 – Box

Luke Harangody. No, he’s not the guy you used to steal lunch money from back in high-school, he’s the guy who dropped a cool 17 points on 8-11 shooting on your Raptors last night. This shoudln’t come as much of a surprise because if the Raptors are great at one thing, it’s letting unheralded no-names have career games against them. Harangody simply saw the opportunity and took advantage of it, he didn’t care that his previous career-high was 4, or that he was a 52nd overall pick (Alabi was 50th), he just told himself, “Gosh darn it Luke, if it’s going to happen for ya, it’s going to happen tonight”. And then he laid the smackdown.

Patience is what I’ve been preaching all year long because this team right now requires that of its supporters, what’s helping me foster that patience within myself is that the overall effort has been fairly decent. Certainly a lot better than the last few years when the likes of Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Kapono took a collective crap on this franchise. Last night in Boston things went in reverse, I’d say this was right up there (or down there?) with the worst effort the Raptors have put forth all season. It’s surprising to see the apparently “road weary” Raptors give up so early against Boston, the East leaders who we have a bit of a rivalry with them, with a chance to get an unlikely split of the season series. I was expecting a lot more from the likes of Amir Johnson who had done some trash-talking in the win against them. When you needed him to neutralize Baby Davis with his energy he was nowhere to be found, his help defense is essential to the team and is the sole reason he is the startling lineup. When he doesn’t deliver on those two fronts, he becomes quite useless. Gotta pick it up, man. Him and Bargnani were a big reason why the rebounding numbers were -12.

Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan’s defense is a consistent problem which when coupled with bad offensive games become too much to overcome, kind of like swimming upstream in a gushing river of shit. First, let’s tackle Bargnani. He was not into it. At all. He should have been the hub of creation for the Raptors given his matchups with Davis and Shaq, instead of he was passive and unproductive. Defensively, he lost Harangody on pretty much every possession in the first half during the stretch when Boston extended their lead to 15 early in the second quarter. The only good defensive play he had was when he denied Shaq post-position to force a three-second all. If you expected him to make up for it on offense, that didn’t happen either – 17 pts on 7-15 shooting, most if it when the game was out of reach. With our two big guns producing next to nothing when it counts, it doesn’t matter how good a game Jose Calderon had or how Linas Kleiza was scoring against Paul Pierce. When 60% of the starting lineup is giving you nothing and you already have a shorthanded bench, you’re not going to beat Boston in Boston. Plain and simple.

Harangody was a key part of a 16-5 run to end the first quarter and, helped by Nate Robinson’s threes, continued the Boston reserves’ strong play into the second to put this out early. Triano got out the zone which was effective for about two possessions before Robinson and Pierce broke it open with threes and slashing drives. A strategy would have been to insert Julian Wright to defend Pierce, but I’m guessing Triano felt that the offense Kleiza was providing was too valuable. However, at halftime Triano spoke of how important it was to step the defense up and that he wasn’t concerned about the offense, if that was the case why play Kleiza 36 minutes and Julian Wright only 13? Doesn’t compute.

Six minutes is how long this game was contested, that’s it. DeRozan had a 7-point burst in the first quarter and Kleiza had his game going, that’s about it. The thing that bugs me in these DeRozan/Allen matchups is that Allen plays DeRozan really tight on the perimeter and DeMar cannot seem to use his first step to get past him. Literally, Allen has got his forearm on DeRozan’s mid-section and there’s nothing the latter can do. On the other end, Allen is a tough cover for anyone but DeRozan seems to be getting stuck a little too long on every screen set against him. Maybe it’s poor overall communication on defense or maybe it’s specific to him, whatever the case it needs fixing if the Raptors want to improve on their defensive ranking. Allowing any team to shoot 57.5% is a disgrace no matter who they are and where they play, such a high FG% speaks to problems that are deep. The Raptors are now giving up a 49.2% FG shooting (worst in the NBA), that number should not come as a surprise given what the defensive qualities of most of our starting lineup.

Jose Calderon (11pts, 9ast, 1reb) again needs to be pointed out for praise, not only did he keep up with Rondo (9pts, 7ast, 4reb), he managed to exploit a hole in Rondo’s game stemming from his tendency to crash the offensive glass. Rondo is notorious for his work on the offensive boards and Calderon did well to make that work against him by transitioning quickly, he also stuck with him on his drives and played the percentages with his jumper. The only complaint I can muster up is that he should’ve closed out Robinson quicker on those second quarter threes, but overall, he was alright. He did have a couple un-Jose like turnovers but I actually welcome those. Kleiza had 17 including a couple nice moves against Pierce, but I wouldn’t say he ever put the defense under pressure (as reflected by his 0 assists) or made Doc Rivers think about anything.

So, at halftime the score was 67-45 with the only Raptors highlight being this Ed Davis dunk. In the second half, Boston went in cruise-control and the Raptors started the third quarter going 8-10. Normally, that would translate to a big slash in the lead but since the defense was so porous, Boston still held on to an 18 point advantage. The obligatory fourth quarter run came which cut the lead to 98-86 courtesy a couple Bargnani scores. Then this happened:

9:11	Leandro Barbosa bad pass
8:41	Leandro Barbosa bad pass
8:04	Andrea Bargnani misses 14-foot two point shot
7:35	Andrea Bargnani misses 17-foot two point shot
7:07	Andrea Bargnani misses 7-foot hook shot
6:41	Leandro Barbosa misses 23-foot three point jumper

And the lead was back up to 23. Boston is a tough team to score against and I was surprised at halftime when Triano said that he didn’t forecast any scoring issues for the Raptors and that his chief concern was defense. To some extent he was right, the Raptors did shoot 50.6%, but that number doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s stretches like the ones above where an offense’s quality should be measured, throwing the ball into a struggling Bargnani only too eager to fade away isn’t the highest percentage shot. Then again, this Raptors team doesn’t have a true go-to player, the closest thing to a double-team threat is Bargnani and last night he wasn’t a big enough threat for Doc Rivers to send another man over, hence the struggles in this key stretch. Barbosa is a hit and miss and he was a miss. That’s his game, it’s not going to change, he is what he is.

Raptors start a three-game home-stand on Sunday against Sacramento and follow it up with games against Atlanta and Detroit. Let’s aim for 2-1. Do witness Marquis Daniels travelling three times on one play and the ref doing nothing about it. Gotta love it. Or you can ponder whether Matt Devlin understands what “stays with him” really means.

  • K.J.P

    I’m a patient guy and I also knew I would have to be this year. But, it’s a lot easier to be patient when your team loses close games or on a big play at the end of 4th quarters. At least then you go away with the feeling that everyone gained a little experience and has learned something.

    Last nights game was the complete opposite of that and it was extremely hard to watch. I had to pop in NBA 2K11 and put it on easy just to trick myself into believing we can still win a game.

    Julian Wright +4. Everyone else negative.
    I thought I’d mention that after the last Stat article. All the Wright lovers have me convinced now, lol.

    • cesco

      Now that Amir is officially in the negative in his cumulative +/- stats (NBA.com) , the conclusion is quite simple : play starter minutes on a losing team . year after year , and it is impossible for you to have a positive +/- , including the so called ‘advanced’ , ‘adjusted’ or ‘normalized’ over ‘x # years’ stats . So Amir will join the likes of DD and Andrea eventually on his +/- stats becoming negative (until the Raps start playing at .500 or better of course. .

      • Theswirsky

        “play starter minutes on a losing team . year after year , and it is impossible for you to have a positive +/-”

        thats probably true. But it needs more analysis than that. What if you have a negative +/- but are the best on the team? (or as a starter). What about the guy who is the worst ‘bringing other players down’? Adjusted, as was talked about will, to some degree ‘normalize’ it. (remember the Andrea vs Reggie adjusted +/- you asked about yesterday that you are convinced is wrong?)

        So yes being on a losing team will likely leave a player in the negative… but thats not necessarily the way to read +/-. I think that was in part the whole point of yesterdays statophile

        • cesco

          All I know is that Reggie and Amir are better defenders and Andrea is a better scorer . You need both type of players , on the starting line-up or the secondary unit . If the +/- stats for two players who have been starters for two years at least with the Raps shows one better than the other then that will be conclusive . For Amir for example , you will have to wait another 1 1/2 year (assuming he remains a starter of course) .

          • Theswirsky

            well there is your next problem. Bargs may be a better scorer but not a more efficient scorer.

            So Bargs may score more, but is less efficient, a worse rebounder and worse defender….

            …. the +/- difference should not be a suprise

      • tom

        That’s why I’m not too bothered by Demar’s brutal raw +/-. He’s got by far the most minutes in our starting lineup. Kind of his curse for being healthy.

        • cdub

          you should be bothered because he can’ play D at all. just watch him lose his man or get blown by mutiple times a game. Ray Allen just abuses him out there I think he finds it amusing.

  • sangaman

    The Raps were manhandled by the Celts..Physically intimidated. Old man Shaq dispatching rap forwards like straw men. The raps need a real power forward with a mean streak.

  • Milesboyer

    Once again Triano shows his poor coaching skills. After Julian Wright had a great game against Cleveland he rewards him with 12 minutes of playing time. Wright is arguably the teams best defender. I think at this point it’s beyond obvious that he would be a much better fit in the starting lineup instead of Linas (I travel every third play) Kleiza. He’s not a cure all for their defensive woes but he would definitely make a difference. Jay should of had him in half way through the first quarter – it’s not like Kleiza was doing anything special out there. I just don’t get it. WTF does Wright have to do to get more consistent PT??????

    • cesco

      Belinelli who had the same problem with Triano last year (in and out of the rotation) is now a starter with a team with a winning percentage in the west . Unbelievable how different coaches can make or break a player career.

      • albertan_10

        Belinelli is playing more consistent this year, that’s why. Last year you always cringed when he shot. I think he is just having success because he plays with Chris Paul

    • barenakedman

      Maybe Triano has more important things on his mind than helping develop someone who cares enough to put in the effort on both ends of the court.

    • tonious35

      There are better defenders in the league now, but Wright is the team most physically,capable, and willing on the team. It’s not only his defense that is so needed as well, it’s the way he guides through offense too. He’s the guy who never looks for his shot first at all, but always finds ways to make the offense easier for his teammates after Jose makes the first pass. He seems to bring those Garbo-intangibles the team is lacking since the foot injury that screwed our team’s new future in March 2007.

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

    “Patience is what I’ve been preaching all year long because this team right now requires that of its supporters, what’s helping me foster that patience within myself is that the overall effort has been fairly decent.”
    Agreed, but you’re right Amir didn’t give his normal full effort last night. Did dive and recover a loose ball late, but his 1on1 was sub-par. Hopefully its a product of the injury which will go away in time.

    Andrea was frustrating as he should have been able to exploit the Celtics’ 5 spot weaknesses (either way too slow or small). He had only 4 shots in close (making 3). As you point out, if he’s going to get the ball all the time in crucial situations, he must take better shots and/or get to the line.

    As per your AB misses, two of the three were certainly not great decisions. He had 6’9″ Davis guarding him. Have to post him up – which he did before the three misses:

    Good Bargs
    Aggressive post up: http://liston.ca/RR/BargsA1.jpg
    Leading to: http://liston.ca/RR/BargsA2.jpg

    At 8:04, good post up: http://liston.ca/RR/BargsB1.jpg
    But moves away from basket/contact for a midrange fadeaway two: http://liston.ca/RR/BargsB2.jpg
    Not a good choice.

    At 7:35, I have no idea what’s he’s doing hanging around long two range against Davis:
    http://liston.ca/RR/BargsC1.jpg
    And he takes the dreaded long two: http://liston.ca/RR/BargsC2.jpg (where he shoots 43%, opposed to <10 ft 57.5%)

    At 7:07, I thought this: http://liston.ca/RR/BargsD1.jpg was a good take. Like to have him take that extra step to the middle, but I thought this baby hook could've worked on Davis all night long. I'd bet he'd made 60%+ of those against him too.

    I"m NOT blaming Bargnani for the loss. Celtics are a very good team; Raptors had injuries and many of those that played just didn't have the talent to match up.

    I AM saying if Bargnani is our "go-to" scorer in key situations, he/Triano/Calderon/Barbosa need to recognize where he's going make the most impact.

  • NikolaTesla1

    Interesting… I saw a different game from what is being described above. I thought Andrea was the best defensive Raptor on the court and I don’t remember him guarding Harangody has much as the op indicates. A lot Harangody’s points game with Andrea on the bench.

    The killer in this game was the two Barbosa turn overs, you could see it took away all the momentum the Raps had going.

    As for DD, he was atrocious on Defense, we played much better when he was on the bench. unfortunately he didn’t spend enough time on the there.

    Also I would mention that Boston has found its grove over the last couple games and are playing like a championship team. Considering they have KG coming back, Perkins coming back in a month and a 100% Rondo, they are looking like one of the favorites to win it all.

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

      I can’t remember every switch etc, but Harangody did get most of his points with Andrea ON the floor: http://popcornmachine.net/cgi-bin/gameflow.cgi?date=20110107&game=TORBOS

      • NikolaTesla1

        Yeah, I went back and watched it on the PVR and came up with this for the 1st half:

        2- andrea on Bench
        2- andrea on Bench

        ——————

        2 – Not his cover
        2- Transition bucket
        3- Zone D – DD doesn’t rotate quick enough.

        so after watching it again, Harangody scored 7 points with Andrea on the floor but I didn’t see the case as the OP pointed out. Being generous, there is only one bucket you can put on Andrea and that would be the one where it wasn’t his cover so I’m not sure where the OP is coming from in placing all of the blame for Harangody points on Andrea, in fact the opposite is true.

    • cesco

      Yeah , all I remember is Andrea defending or attacking the elephant and the hippopotamus of the C###ts . I had no idea he was supposed to defend the ND graduate .

    • Theswirsky

      AB didn’t cover Harangody much thats true. But he also didn’t help at all (big suprise). Watched so many plays unfold and didn’t do anything about it. Didn’t even make a step in the direction to help…. thats the problem. Doesn’t do anything.

      If you seriously thought Andrea was the best defensive Raptor on the court last night, I really don’t know what to say.

      • NikolaTesla1

        You don’t have to say anything because obviously you are seeing what you want to see. Your ‘Doesn’t do anything’ is just BS, he was hitting his rotations and providing help D so I’m not sure what you are talking about?

      • RapthoseLeafs

        .
        There were a few coverages where AB was absent, and while I don’t think his Defense was stellar, I did think it was somewhat better (4th Quarter maybe not so). Definitely better than Demar, Kleiza & our PF position.

        [ “Defensively, he (Bargnani) lost Harangody on pretty much every possession in the first half” ]

        This statement is utter non-sense. It’s one more reason why I find it tough to discuss Andrea in a rationale manner. I know he has his faults, but it sure would help if we could adjust the Starting make-up to minimize them, all the while hoping he can get better at help-defense. Just because someone is 25 years old (and yes, 5th year), doesn’t mean education (and the ability to learn) stops.

        As games go, this was not the worst. It happened against Boston, so it’s tough to get something from this match. We will definitely see a few more like this, before the bleeding stops. The Starters didn’t look in the groove, but that’s why we are what we are. A very young Bench team, with upside talent, and with numerous opportunities ahead to rectify that – TPE, Expirings, and Draft picks.

        [ “ ”]

        • John_P

          What do you expect from thse idiots, its the same shit after every game. If Bargs doesnt defend everyone on the other team its his fault. Maybe instead of helping when Pierce, Allen and Rondo were blowing by out perimeter defenders, he should just stick to Harangody and allow them an easy bucket.

  • 511

    When I saw Bargnani waving his hand at the ball like a little girl waving bye-bye when Shaq had possession under our basket early in the game … I figured this might be a long night.

    • cesco

      A lot of players are playing hurt , they were manhandled by the C###ts last year in Boston with us having our all-star player and them missing 3 of their all-stars . Long night both times .

    • 511

      A friend is giving me shit for saying ‘little girl’ … so I admitted maybe I should’ve said ‘little kid’. He demanded I acknowledge it here. (Happy D? Lol.)

  • Daniel

    If I were the Raps’ coach I would game plan to leave Harangody open for 15 ft. and up shots. He just made them. Our defensive problems are much deeper than that. Unfortunately they start with the players the organization wants to build around: DeRozan and Andrea. We need either changes in the personnel or a bettr balance in the line-ups.

  • KJ-B

    Kinda funny how NO ONE TALKS ABOUT BARBOSA SINGLE-HANDEDLY ENDING THE RAPS COMEBACK RUN IN THE 4TH Q OF THIS GAME AND IN TORONTO WITH ROOKIE-LEVEL TURNOVERS… Did any1 else remember last Sunday when he didn’t dive for the loose ball then chucked on the other end when raps were down 5, then he scored + every1 forgot about his nonsense…

    THAT WAS THE WORST OUTLET PASS IN THE HISTORY OF OUTLET PASSES WHEN THE RAPS WERE DOWN 12 AND DRIVING… Barbosa needs to get surgery on his wrist because he’s playing 1 decent game out of every 3 and is NOTHING like himself…

    ((Please be reminded- Arse: Ray Allen does this to EVERYBODY: DID U CATCH THE SPURS GAME OR HIS BOX SCORE???))

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

      I watched that part of the game again – the 9:11 turnover was Klieza’s fault (check the tape). Kleiza bobbled it through his hands. The second was 100% Barbosa’s fault. He had 7 assists in 23 minutes and (my count, not the boxscore) 1 turnover.

      I think you’re overstating things with the “single-handedly” and “rookie-level” comments.

    • Nilanka15

      We were down 12 when those turnovers happened (which is essentially a 20 point deficit against the C**tics). The game was already WELL in doubt at that point.

      BTW, your DeMar-can-do-no-wrong mantra is getting quite old…

    • arsenalist

      WTF? I actually posted the play-by-play of his two turnovers in the post.

  • albertan_10

    Patience is what we all need to have. It’s just hard to have when the defense is so bad.

  • tonious35

    I think Harangody is the ANTI-SCALABRINE. Not an annoying Ginger, actually stays in shape, and plays hard and Boston fans take him seriously.

  • Nilanka15

    Harangody = Matt Bonner

    • Balls of Steel

      Yes, I was thinking that list night. Their release are even similar!!!

  • Balls of Steel

    The one true thing that stood out last night for me is the fact that Rondo was able to direct traffic like a cop at an intersection with broken lights. When our PG handled the ball, the Celts were all over them. There was ball pressure everywhere. The Raps allowed Rondo to set their halfcourt offense with little or no disruption while Calderon and Barbosa had little to time get anything done. That was the game in my opinion.

    PS> Yes, Rondo didn’t have a huge game 7 AST and 6 turnovers, However, the way players were guarded last night was the reason we lost – simply no ball pressure.

  • Buddahfan

    Much to do about nothing.

    The Raptors have been doing one night stands for for what seems like ages and short handed no less.

    They finally roll into Boston for their 7th consecutive one night stand; i.e three road games one game at home and then three more road games.

    Any reasonable person wouldn’t have expected any other result last night.

    A short handed fatigued team playing on the road against one of the best teams in the league that has lost only twice at home this season. Both of those losses were in games in which they were held under 85 points.

    Did anyone seriously expect that the Raptors with Bargnani starting and playing over 30 minutes could hold the Celtics to anything under 100 +++.

    Harangody has a lot more offensive basketball skills than Davis does.

    Anyone who watched them both play in college knows that.

    Harangody was a big time scorer in college and he is as tough as nails.

  • RapthoseLeafs

    .
    We can find a lot of reasons for this game, but one issue continues to stand out (that goes with our Defensive woes) – 3 pt shooting & 3 point defending.

    Boston is:
    – 2nd LAST in 3 pt attempts (14 per game) – they made 11 of 21 against the Raptors
    – 8th (.003 from 4th) in 3pt % (.381) – last night they shot a blistering .542.

    Toronto is:
    – 23rd in 3 pt attempts (15.7)
    – DEAD LAST in 3pt % (.326)

    Opponents shoot .380 against Toronto (good for 4th highest – high not being a good thing here) while Toronto is the worse 3 pt shooting team in the NBA. Wtf happened to that.
    .

    • RapthoseLeafs

      Correction

      Boston`s 3pt % in the Raptor game, was actually .524 average – not .542 (dyslexia is acting up again).
      .

  • Rexdale

    i love how Jose has shown everyone that when healthy he can be an effective defender and the real blame is going on DD!