Kings 112, Raptors 118 – Box

The only reason this one is as close as it was is because Toronto’s defense was absolutely putrid. In the end the Raptors pulled it out with some very efficient and timely offense from it’s two homegrown talents in Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan. Sacramento come into the game missing their franchise player in Tyreke Evans, but they really didn’t need him as their aggressiveness earned them 14 offensive rebounds and plenty of trips to the line. No matter how much Jay Triano bellowed about playing a lick of defense, it was only at the end that the Raps seemed to step up their intensity and get a few stops, setting the stage for DeMar DeRozan’s most impressive performance to date.

DeRozan did have a good game against the Rockets with 37 points. He had a great 3rd quarter against the Lakers in a 23 point effort. What made this effort truly impressive was not only his play in the deciding moments of the game but the manner in which he accomplished it. Up 102-100 with five minutes to go, DeRozan led a six point run including a sweet dish to Amir Johnson. Inexplicably, he was involved in the next few possessions and Barganani’s triple bailed out the Raps with about a minute to go, but this was the first time in a long time that we saw a guard take over offensively the way he did in the fourth. He made it look easy, which the great ones do. Granted, Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Beno Udrih will never be considered great defenders, but it’s not like DeRozan took advantage of these situations before. The four assists are what excite me as much as the 28 points. He was recognizing mismatches, driving with control and with peripheral vision. Perhaps all this stems from the confidence coming from an improved jumper. He’s more than a catch-and-shoot guy which is what he was before Bargnani’s injury. He’s better off the dribble, which is great, because that’s the domain of an elite NBA scorer. Now he’s getting more touches and we even saw a couple of pick-and-rolls with Bargnani, which must have put a smile on Mr. Colangelo’s face, wherever he is these days.

Bargnani scored a ton and efficiently as well, which is something we are all getting used to. He dropped 30 points off 19 attempts, impressive for anyone. The reason he has become more consistent is because he’s trying to get to the line, especially early in the game. It’s important that he’s become consistent, because he needs it to balance out his defense, which was typically uninspiring today. Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins make a point to grab offensive boards and if you’re not going to provide consistent help defense, you have to box these guys out. That’s something he didn’t do in the first matchup in Sacramento either, costing the Raptors the win. Eight rebounds for Andrea and everyone’s happy? Kevin Love averages more than 15 a game and doesn’t have half the physical tools this guy does. Not hating on Bargnani, I’m just bothered with the concept that if you’re really good at one thing, it’s OK if you suck at other things. Almost everyone will acknowledge that he’s capable of squeezing his hands on a few more. Can you afford to not give it a 100% every night you’re on the floor in the most competitive basketball league in the world? I guess Vince Carter did, so there is a precedent.

I don’t know what it’ll take for Julian Wright to get minutes on this team. I really don’t. He’s a game changer defensively and displays an above average basketball IQ offensively. Here are some reason I think that are holding him back: First, he’s not a BC pick or big signing, so he’s not entitled to the minutes. Secondly, he’s not a good shooter, which seems to be this organization’s most important priority. Thirdly, Triano does not recognize that it’s not Wright’s man defense that is effective, but his team defense is excellent. He cheats well and rotates well because he has good length and quickness for his size. He didn’t get much time in New Orleans either, so maybe there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Another big boost to the potent Raptor offense was Leandro Barbosa’s corner threes. I still yearn for the days when Anthony Parker would park himself in there and hit big three after big three to win us games. It’s a shorter shot for one, and if teams want to respect that shooter, it really takes that defender out of position for any kind of help. It was probably out of coincidence more than anything, but it seems to be a shot that Barbosa can hit with better consistency. Barbosa needs to learn how to pass out of a fast break though. He comes off a team-first kind of guy, but geez it’s hard to throw away easy points like that, especially when your defense makes the margin of error so slim.

That’s really the main thing isn’t it. Not having to shoot 58.5% just to eke out a victory at home against a really, really bad team, which they are without Tyreke Evans. Yes, it’s a rebuilding year, the team is young but the defense just isn’t there. Offense, just like when you’re taking shots on your driveway, is a fickle thing. It’s not always a function of effort. But defense can be, and that’s why teams like the Phoenix Suns never made an NBA final, because sometimes those shots wouldn’t fall, and they could not afford that. Bryan Colangelo was also the architect of those Suns teams, and I guess he still hasn’t learnt his lesson, because even if DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani become offensive powerhouses, this team will still not develop into a consistent winner.

  • yertu damkule

    MO SHATS!!!!!

    • Seeten

      Sounds like a good forum name, doesnt it? Mo Shats.

    • slaw

      Ah, I remember fondly the SSOL era in Rapsland that lasted all of about, what, 10 games? Good times. Was the 06-07 season the last time the team was actually worth watching? Man, 4 years….

    • Darien

      Is that like the RR equivalent of FIRST!!!!11

      Kiddddiiinggg

      • yertu damkule

        it was a reference to the good ‘ol smitch days, when a popular ‘reason’ for why they lost a particular game was because they didn’t make enough ‘shats.’ there was a hugely hysterical posting a few years back on realGM (here: http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=855652) that asked people to submit their version of a sam mitchell play, and one of them consisted of 5 guys standing around the perimeter with ‘MO SHATS!!’ in big, crayon-ish lettering.

        i felt it was a good simple wrap-up of how/why they were able to escape with a W last nigh…they hit more shots.

        ah, here’s the link. still great for a laugh.

  • Nilanka15

    “…even if DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani become offensive powerhouses, this team will still not develop into a consistent winner.”

    So true. Shot 78% in the 1st quarter, and were only up by 3 to arguably the worst team in the league (missing their primary offensive option), at home! You need historically bad defense to make that happen. Just pathetic.

    • WJF

      Tyreke dominates the ball and is shooting under 40% for the season, he may be their primary offensive potion, but the team moves the ball and scores better without him. Beno always plays very well with Evans out of the lineup, he is a hard guy to play with.

      • cesco

        One fan commenting in the Sacramento Bee paper called him Ti-weak . Minnesota (the second worst team in the west) lost by 3 points to San Antonio (the best team in the west) in SA , Detroit beat TO in TO who beat Denver in Denver . No one is guaranteed an easy win .

    • voy

      the problem with that particular statement is you are only taking into account the contributions of 2 guys out of a possible 8 or 9 who will be in the rotation when the raps are ready to contend.

      But you are right THIS year’s Raps team will not be a consistent winner (regardless of the defensive contributions of DD and Bargs).

      Regardless of who is on the Raps when they are ready to contend, I’m sure the team will be a combination of players who mask/minimize each others weakness and fill their own special role.

      • Sek99

        Totally disagree. If we had a good defensive balance, we would be better than last years team. Bosh is a good scorer and decent rebounder, but with him out we get more rim protection and equal to better rebounding from our bigs. Split the extra shots up between DD and Bargs, and we’d be a playoff lock for sure if we played with consistent defense. But, with everything the way it is, BC doesn’t know how to spell defense and Triano has about the same ability to inspire as a six year with touretts and a fear of public speaking.

        • voy

          “If we had a good defensive balance, we would be better than last years team”

          Respectfully, Sek, and if I had a twat I’d be a chick.

          This team is miles worse without Bosh in the lineup. I’m not particularly a fan of bosh and I always thought his videos sucked but lets not fool ourselves into thinking a little tweak here and a little adjustment there and we are ready for contention. This team sucks. It needs a rebuild. I’m hoping BC realizes this and continues to assemble young talent and doesn’t go for the quick “lets go for iguadala and make a run for the 6th spot” rebuild.

          • draftedraptor

            you are only bitter because he left us. Bosh is an all star performer. Very consistent and well rounded. I am not saying he is the best defender around but he did bring some protection near the rim which is missing now.

            • Sek99

              Can’t really say I cared when he left. I wanted him gone at the trade deadline last year. Everyone knew he was leaving except for BC. Even if we made the playoffs and got knocked out first round. Also, wishing for a dick and making a NBA basketball team to play defense are quite the same stretch Voy. Bosh was overrated, that’s the truth. We still don’t have problems scoring without him. The reason, in my opinion, that we are playing worse this year is purely a lack of effort from almost all our guys.

              • RapthoseLeafs

                Actually Sek99 – our defensive rating was worse last year …. Dead last.

                Not much better this year – 2nd dead last, but still – better than when Bosh was here. And that’s not to put the sole blame on CB. Just need to counter a misconception by some.
                .

              • 511

                I think you’re forgetting how good Bosh usually was. Up until the All Star break of last year, there were a lot of nights when he did more for Raptors wins – singlehandedly – than ANY Raptor had since Vince (and for heart and longevity as a Raptor, I’d say he probably had Vince beat) … and there have been very few nights since — if any — when we’ve seen the same kind of one man show that Bosh would put on, quite regularly.

                That said, I don’t know if the way we were going (with Bosh) is the way to really build a contender … but … it’ll likely be a while before we have a player who brings it night-in and night-out the way Bosh usually did.

                • Sek99

                  Going .500 on the year with the talent we had last year was a huge disappointment. We had a very talented starting lineup but vastly underachieved. Bosh was a good player for us. But honestly, he never took us anywhere. He had more talent around him than last years than the Bucks did, but we still got beat out because of the heart that that team showed. We have better defensive and rebounding PF’s now IMO. Bosh was a good scorer, pretty good rebounder and average defender. Just saying that I think if we had gone for a whole directional change (i.e firing BC and Triano, who have proved nothing but that they underperform and overhype) in our teams culture, we would be in a much better place right now. I’d say if we had a defensive minded coach, I could see us easily get to .500 again in the weak east. Scoring can easily be shared. And besides we can afford to score 5 or 10 less points if you stop 5 or 10 points on defense.

          • cesco

            It is not fair to make a comparison between a team that had been retooled by BC for several years and was centered around CB4 and this new team who is still in its infancy . You will have to wait at least 2 years to make that comparison and they are already ahead of where many experts opinionated they will be.

            • voy

              100% agree, cesco. my statement was more directed to sek who seems to think this year’s team can surpass last year’s if we just had a different coach.

              This being said, I hope BC continues to assemble young talent and hopefully fill in team needs with those acquisitions.

            • sleepz

              The play calling was centered around Bosh, unfortunately the players weren’t.

  • Jackie Moon

    I still yearn for the days when Anthony Parker would park himself in there and hit big three after big three to win us games.

    You must not have been a Raps fan for long. There is one guy most Raps backers will think of when you mention corner 3’s – Mo Pete!

    • A-Dub

      MoPete was good at that too, good catch, everything isn’t working upstairs at 2 in the morning. Donyell Marshall as well, if my memory serves me correctly.

      • Mediumcore

        Dell Curry?

        • A-Dub

          Tracy Murray, Walt “Wizard” Williams?

          • Mediumcore

            Ah yes, “the good old days”

  • FAQ

    Scoring puts bums in seats at the ACC, because the tribal honking fans only look at the ball and need a high scoring hero to cheer on. The players know this and defence doesn’t make heroes.

    Besides, playing team defence requires a high b’ball IQ, and that will take several more seasons together before this bunch learns how to play effective defence, if at all.

    Yes, Bargnani is a homegrown hero now as is DD, who must now be thinking about the next team he will be playing for after the 2012-13 season .. that or a big juicy contract from the Raptors.

    • Sek99

      Uh, just gonna list a few guys who have or had a large fanbase during their raptors years. JYD, Oak, Alvin Williams, Pops, Amir, Reginald Evans and now Julian Wright to an extent. . .stop me if you see a trend. People here I think would love to watch a defensive team, just BC isn’t into that and MLSE probably thinks like you do. When raptors had a good D, we were an up and coming team. Since the finesse bigs movement started, we’ve gone nowhere. But nah, you’re probably right. Bring back Kapono, start Peja. Wanna see a three point shooting team that scores in bunches and plays defense like a wounded kitten. That screams excitement to me.

  • barenakedman

    Julian Wright – It’s doubtful it has something to do with him not being a BC pick or big signing. Weems is in the same category and still gets minutes consistently. Hopefully it’s not because he doesn’t have a great shot. In his limited minutes we’ve seen his all round play positively impact a few games for the better. Maybe it’s something to do with a trade that’s in the works.

    • tom

      I think another one of the possible reasons Wright doesn’t get PT is the turnovers, which are even higher than Kleiza if you can believe it.

      It’s one thing I’d love to see him improve.

  • lol

    lol and now Toronto has a new hero..DD. Ok ok he can only jump and dunk, not the best shooter, no one good pass but oh yeah he is allways jumping. Boing boing boing boing boing boing…
    I really hope for Andrea that he will be traded shortly!

  • lol

    just for understanding.. i hope that Andrea will be traded shortly, not DD! DD is the man in Toronto.

  • guest

    Defense doesn’t make ESPN

    • slaw

      Neither do the Raptors.

  • KJ-B

    Re: “The Golden Boys” — you can’t teach talent but you can implement a culture of effort… It’s a winning culture of accountability that is sorely lacking in this franchise–and I’ve been doubting loudly all year long if Triano is the man to lead the charge in that respect… I’d much prefer English or Carlesimo, in that order…

    I suppose BryCo must like Triano’s salary and don’t necessarily want another salary besides Mitchell’s on the books… Does MLSE want to win or just want a round/two in the playoffs to pad their purse???

    • yertu damkule

      smitch’s contract was already off the books when he was hired as an assistant in jersey.

  • Moeizzle

    “Defense doesnt make ESPN!!!!” hahaha only blks and stls leading to fast break dunks… but i digress… cuz tru team defense doesn’t make highlights cuz its boring. raps love to make money off being exciting and fun to watch.. not spurs like boring defence that wins championships… who wants that anywayz?!?!? 😛

  • sleepz

    Just a thought but all of those fans that notice or comment on Demar’s “horrible” defence should be yelling at the top of their lungs to have this team disassembled.

    Why? That would make 4 out of the 5 starters on this team “horrible” defenders and thus how can you possibly expect consistent winning at anytime, even in the future? Won’t the current assembly of players just continue to willingly dictate acceptance of poor play on the defensive end of the floor?

    If Demar has no hope as a defender or is terrible guarding other players how could anyone argue the merits of Andrea, Jose or Kleiza improving in this regard? I personally think Demar has the upside to get better with experience as he has only been the league 2 years, but how do you change a culture or style of play when all your main players are not accountable on that end of the floor, the coach can’t get them to do it and the GM has never believed in it? It seems like when I hear all this talk about “player development” this year it is all based on how well you can get your offence off and nothing more.

    I pray Ed D keeps his demeanour amongst this group. Big changes are needed here, or veterans to slap some guys around.

  • AnthonyF

    The issue with DD (outside defense) is that every game he seems to commit an offensive foul on a fast break by driving to the basket with his head down and his range is terrible. Is there another SG who can not hit a three-pointer and who’s range is so limited. Until he improves this aspect of the game he will not open up the floor for the Raptors.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Daubeny Chris Daubeny

    Demar has 10 through 37 games. That’s only 1 every 4 games. Bargnani has 16 through 31. Please don’t make up stats to support your argument.

    • AnthonyF

      Except the majority of DD’s have been on fast break sure buckets. I was not comparing him and AB….. The issue with DD on the offensive end at this point is his shooting range is still questionable at best and he makes some bad decisions on occasion.

    • RapthoseLeafs

      .
      Demar’s Offensive fouls will improve as he gains experience. Not sure why that’s such a big discussion, as I’m more concerned about DD’s 3 pt shooting – it’s atrocious (.091). For a shooting Guard, he is the lowest amongst all the NBA “regulars”. The next worse 3 pt shooter (for SG playing 20+ minutes), is Brewer @ .254.

      If Demar can’t nail a few more threes, someone else will step into his place (and take those minutes).
      .

      • AnthonyF

        It’s pathetic his range. You can’t be a SG without the ability to hit the 19-24’er. I like DD’s work but have not seen an improvement in his shooting yet. To me, there is little more demoralizing then a 3-pointer. A 40% 3-point shooter is the same as 60% 2-point shooter….. I hear little about DD’s work on his shooting (as opposed to let’s say Amir Johnson’s)…..

        • yertu damkule

          well, there has been improvement in his shot from a technial perspective (though work remains to be done), but like all (er, most) young players, it’s a matter of consistency.

          look, there are a lot of things that can be learned; i agree, having a SG without deep range is a problem, especially if a team is relying on that position for offensive production, and even more so if they lack other deep threats. however, there are numerous examples of players who came into the league without much (or any) range on their jumper, but who have been able to add that aspect to their game. off the top of my head, rip hamilton wasn’t a great 3pt shooter for a good # of years (it wasn’t until his 7th season that he became a legit, consistent threat from deep). just look at derrick rose; he couldn’t shoot from 3 worth a lick his first two years, now he’s nailing ’em at a near 40% clip (& taking 4 times as many per game than his career avg). shit, jose couldn’t hit the ocean from an iceberg his first year, now he’s one of the best in the L (at age 25/26).

          shooting is a skill, and while some guys have an innate ability to do it, for others, it takes time, practice, reps, etc. if, over the course of the next 2 or 3 years, when DD is a ripe old 23/24, and he’s still a subpar threat from 3, then we – or more precisely, he & the raps – if he’s still with them – will have a problem.

          • RapthoseLeafs

            .
            Demar is making reasonable strides – IMO. But he has to work on that 3 pt shot – it could be part of his undoing. There’s a reason we’re 2 spots out of LAST place (.327) in 3pt % with an outstanding .329 average. We lack “pure” long range shooters (excluding Peja).
            .

        • RapthoseLeafs

          .
          Funny you should bring up Amir. I’ve noticed his long 2’s (this season), and to some degree I’m impressed by how he nails them. Very clean shots.
          .

  • Jo

    Where are all the DeMar haters that were whining about how we should’ve taken Jrue Holiday, among others, over him?

    • Dan

      I’d much rather have Jrue Holiday.

      I like DeMar, but still..

      • Sek99

        Holidays overrated. Not sure why people are so high on this guy.

        • Dookielover

          thats a joke right?…id take jrue anyday over emar.

  • Sek99

    It’s embarrassing how close this was. I really think the people who run the team honestly don’t know a single thing about basketball, and just seem intent on making sure we get pizza if we go to the game. We have four offensive guys on the starting lineup and only one defensively able guy. You can never win like this. We don’t even have role players. It’s not like Kleiza with his 30% 3 point range is lighting people up. Jose is good with athletic guys, but his chemistry with Andrea isn’t all that great. Need Ju Ju on the starting lineup. Or at least some guy who can be effective without the ball in his hands as well as playing on both ends. I really don’t understand how BC and Triano can watch this team and not realize what happens every game. They speak about it, Triano swears to seem tough, but fuck, they don’t ever do anything. Isn’t Einsteins definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result? Guess BC and Triano skipped the wrong class in school. Oh well, go Bargs and DD for 70 a night! We’ll lose nine times out of ten, but oh boy, what a duo!

    • RapthoseLeafs

      .
      Totally agree (about needing Ju Ju)

      Starting line-up needs better balance. Unfortunately (and I’ve said this probably one too many times), there has to be some reasoning behind the decision to start Kleiza. My belief is that Linas is on his way out of Toronto – he disturbs the balance (that is weighted too heavily onto the Offensive side).

      If a Kleiza trade does happen, then possibly we’ll see Julian fry at the beginning of games.
      .

  • adam

    agreed with you up until this:
    “But defense can be, and that’s why teams like the Phoenix Suns never made an NBA final, because sometimes those shots wouldn’t fall, and they could not afford that. Bryan Colangelo was also the architect of those Suns teams, and I guess he still hasn’t learnt his lesson, because even if DeMar DeRozan and Andrea Bargnani become offensive powerhouses, this team will still not develop into a consistent winner.”

    Phoenix (a) won a heck of a lot of games and (b) was a dirty body check away from the finals potentially. Bad luck is what killed the Suns, who, led by a Hall of Fame point guard, did manage to play defence – otherwise you can’t account for the fact that Phoenix outscored their opponents so handily on most nights. We are talking like 30 point wins. The same can’t be said about these Raps – no, luck is not what will stand between them and success.

    • smushmush

      I had to answer “the Suns were a body check away from the finals”. Did the Phoenix Suns reach the finals? No. What was that saying again, oh I got it – moral victories are for losers. Did you win or did you lose? That is the question. Giving excuses for losses or failures really sucks.

      Now to an hypothetical situation, if the Phoenix Suns made it to the finals, they likely could have been swept and embarassed(some commentators would even wonder how such team with such defensive oddities made it to the finals in the first place).

      Even the Showtime Lakers had some defence(unlike the Phoenix Suns) and role players like Horace Grant, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman of the Chicago Bulls are elite defensive players. Scottie Pippen could guard all positions then in the NBA(I am surprised someone mentioned in the forums that Scottie was not a good defender. Smh).

      Fans want to see offense but as a knowledgeable basketball fan, I appreciate defense in all its ramifications with a decent and highly executed offense(which means less turnovers, slowing down the game and other tactics)(Defense might not be flashy, but it wins games and ultimately a championship – the end goal for serious NBA teams with knowledgeable fans – something I am not sure Toronto fans are with their overwhelming support for perennial losers).

      ‘Nuff said.

    • FLUXLAND

      Selective memory?
      You must be forgetting about all those games when they got blown out by 30. The Run and Gun is hard on the body… ask Nash why he looks like he’s 50 in his mid 30s.

      Plus, even if they made the Finals.. you really think they win it all? And if Nash makes the HOF.. it will be a bigger travesty than the MVPs he stole from Kobe.

      • Brain Colangelo

        Nash will make the hall of fame. Name a 2-time MVP who had a long career and didn’t make it.

        • FLUXLAND

          Touche. I guess I realize he will, just don’t agree with it.
          Name a SINGLE MVP that didn’t make an all defensive team? (I’m guessing here, but he’s probably the only one).

          • yertu damkule

            magic? dirk? larry legend (if you’re only talking about 1st team All-D…bird made 2nd team a few times). dr. J. mcadoo. chuck.

            • FLUXLAND

              I meant 1st or 2nd.

          • Lucas Lopes

            Iverson is another one. I don’t think Dirk made it either. I really don’t think an MVP necessarily needs to be an elite defensive player. If he changes the game in so many levels, and make his teammates better, impacting the games in the most various ways, the fact that he is not a lock-down defender won’t alter his condition to be an MVP

            • FLUXLAND

              Iverson – 2nd team x 2.

              Dirk. Good call.Same year they got bounced in the 1st round, right? Now THAT’S MVP material.

              Agreed, lack of defense doesn’t change the popularity contest vote; but if you were going to start a list of people that shouldn’t have won it, you would start with those two.

              It’s insulting to everyone else on that list.

      • yertu damkule

        FWIW – # of 30-pt losses in the ‘nash era’ for PHX: 1.

        • FLUXLAND

          Indulge me and hit me up with 20 or 25 point losses. And even losses under that were at some point of the game huge holes of 30 pts…we know how close the score can get in the final 2 minutes.

        • Nilanka15

          Haha, busted!

        • FLUXLAND

          I guess we can make that 2, after last night? : )

      • Copywryter

        Travesty? If he didn’t make the HoF it would be a travesty.

        http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/n/nashst01.html

        • FLUXLAND

          No, it will be a travesty and a further slap in the face to players that actually deserve to be in there.

          If he’s supposed to be in based on that link.. so should, say, Mitch Richmond. Or Bernard King. or Paul Westphal. ARTIS F GILMORE!

      • FAQ

        “”The Run and Gun is hard on the body… ask Nash why he looks like he’s 50 in his mid 30s.””

        That and excessive, extreme over-sexuality .. it will really break you down at both ends …!!!

  • Franklinb

    There is a grammar mistake in the second sentence. You write: “….it’s two homegrown talents…” It’s is a contraction of “it is”. You mean the possessive: its. I learned this in Grade Two.

    F B