Mavericks 114, Raptors 96 – Box

The Academy awards are on as I whip this together, and on a night where great acting gets recognized, you have to acknowledge the performance the Toronto Raptors put on in the first quarter this evening. They performed just like a legit NBA team, their defense was excellent, they were decisive and efficient on offense. And then the camera stopped rolling. By the third quarter, the red carpet had been rolled out in front on the Raptor rim and was frequented my the likes of Jason Terry and Shaw Marion to name a few.

Other than the promising start gone awry, what hurts about this game is that Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki had a quiet second half, yet the Mavs still dominated. You can make an argument that Jason Terry is a talent even at this point of his career, but the remaining cast are players that are not that great. Shawn Marion is not what he used to be, and he had a good game but the guy who did a lot of the damage was JJ Barea. The dimunitive guard faced little resistance getting into the paint and making guys like Ian Mahinmi look good enough that guys like me are having to actually type his name out. That shouldn`t be happening, but then again, the defensive intensity just hasn`t been there all season. It`s just not a point of emphasis with this team and it`s just become part of the culture.

The first quarter did display the defensive potential a lineup with an Ed Davis – Amir Johnson – James Johnson frontcourt has. Twice in a matter of three games have we seen spurts of defensive brilliance, with our new starting small forward as the spark behind that. James also showed some playmaking ability with 7 assists, some of them pretty dishes inside. Unfotunately right now we have two 3`s that have more court vision than any of our shooting guards have, but neither of them can`t shoot worth a lick. It was interesting to see James jack up 12 shots, which he has no business doing.

Someone who did get some shots to start the game but was later ignored was Amir Johnson. I just don`t understand why we don`t high-low this guy more than we do now. He has an unbelievable pair of hands, he`s the anti-Antonio Davis like that. He swallows up even errant passes and is able to release the ball at the height of his extension, and he makes these at an excellent rate. So it`s not as pretty as a stepback jumper or an acrobatic layup, so what. It gets the job done. People are so impressed with the sizzle when it`s all about and always has been about the steak.

Speaking of sizzle, I`m trying to figure out whether DeMar DeRozan is justified in what looks to be a growing resentment of NBA officiating. Not sure why the officials would have a collective beef with him, but it`s clear that he feels that he`s entitled to a few more calls. It bothered him enough that he pretty much went out of his way to get T`ed up after a charging call when Mahinmi had stepped in. I think he sees guys like LeBron, Wade, Durant getting calls on similar players an expects that refs do the same for him. That`s not how it works DD, and if it makes you feel any better, a lot of fans feel the same way. A whole season averaging around 20 points and the whistles will come.

Another point to chew on is that the Raptors themselves rarely take charges like that, where a big jumps over outside the charge circle, so DeRozan is kind of unprepared. If he starts seeing things like that in practice, then maybe he`s better prepared for it. Almost every decent team employs that strategy, because it`s just so hard to keep guards from penetrating in today`s NBA, you have to layer defenses so that your guys are there before their player is.

A quick aside on Leandro Barbosa. There are some things that he does exceptionally well, like catching defenders flatfooted and swooping in for a lay-up. Actually that’s the only thing he does well, because he’s not a great shooter and he’s a non-existent passer, which is very unsettling for a player with that combination of speed and handles. It’s sad that he cannot take advantage of the kind of attention he draws on his penetration, and that’s probably the difference between him being a sixth man instead of a quality point guard. It’s not going to happen at this stage of his career, but it’s worth noting.

It`s not as fun following a team that is not very competitive, and throwing together a few words to describe it isn`t any different, but in losing the Raptors did achieve our inmmediate goal of “(preserving) high draft status” as Bryan Colangelo admitted a few days ago on a local radio show. You want that to happen, but at the same time you want to see a glimmer of hope, a ray of light break through the dark coulds that hang overhead. That would have been the first quarter run we witnessed last night. You could tell that even Mark Cuban couldn`t believe it, but the Mavs righted the ship and eventually executed like winning teams do. Let`s hope some day soon our beloved Raptors develop that mentality, because knowing you`re going to win is half the battle. Or something like that.

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  • Samarjit_mitter

    couple of thoughts

    – seeing Ian Mahinmi’s progression, maybe there is hope for Alabi and Ajinca, especially Alabi. Hope to see him more this year.
    – really like JJ Barea’s game..on the same vein don’t get what the big deal about Beaubois is..guys looks ordinary.
    – Obviously Bayless is not looking like a real PG.. i like his chops and fire, but he does not have the instinct. I hope i am wrong. At this point, James Johnson and Wright have better passing instincts.
    – i want to see this team play without AB for a few games. When Bosh went down a couple of seasons ago, the team adapted relatively well, and they became better as a team.

    • AnthonyF

      Actually we did see the team without Bargnani for 6 games earlier….. Guess what? It was not pretty….. What we did see positive when he was out was DD showing improvement…

      • Nilanka15

        Your inferences are so flawed, it’s funny. The WHOLE SEASON hasn’t been pretty, INCLUDING when Bargnani plays. He’s no saviour. Sorry to break it to ya.

        • Samir1986

          Your anti Bargnani crusade is amusing yet getting tiresome. Can you actually post anything in here without mentioning him?

          • Nilanka15

            Keep scrolling and you’ll answer your own question.

    • DonCarlos

      You’d think that jump-shooting would be the easiest thing, all things considered, to improve over the off-season. Derozan put the work in this summer and it’s shown this year with a higher percentage, and overall, a much smoother looking shot that will reward him with an even higher percentage down the road, hopefully. There’s no reason why Wright and JJ can’t do the same.

      I’m not overly concerned about Bayless. Either he figures it out and becomes a piece, or he doesn’t and he’s out of the league after next year.

  • jj

    Absolutely, they were playing way over there heads in the 1st Q, obviously being the Raptors ——- they have to blow it

  • Nilanka15

    Completely agree on Barbosa.

    Unrelated, it’s sad when opposing scrubs play like HOFers against us (i.e. Barrea).

  • voy

    I wouldn’t mind seeing barbosa sent packing. Give bayless a few more minutes and see what he has. maybe nothing more than what he’s already shown but bayless is younger and cheaper than LB and I dont see why you need both on the same team.

    LB’s inability to manage a game is astounding considering he spent a good portion of his career with Nash. Its like, no matter what the situation Leonardo is looking to speed up the game. I dont think I’ll ever forget the NY game where we were up in the 2nd half by, like, 10, and LB was trying to speed up the game by jacking low % shots or trying to drive by 5 players within the first 7 seconds of the shot clock. I dunno, maybe he was still working off the RedBull after banging Nash’s wife.

    • Milesboyer

      I think we’ve seen all we’re going to see from Bayless which isn’t much. The man is not a point guard – I find it painful to watch him come down the court, pick up his dribble and waste the first 15 sec. of the shot clock looking tentative. There comes a time when you’ve got to call a spade a spade or in this case, a dud a dud. I really hope he’s not back next year (along with Sonny, but that’s another story).

      • wienermobile89

        I’m not so certain that I don’t give Bayless one more offseason to work his game out a little bit then see what he has, but I agree that if he keeps playing like this it’s hard to make a case that he deserves that chance. I haven’t been this terrified to watch a Raptor take a jumpshot since the (mercifully brief) Antoine Wright era ended.

        • Nilanka15

          When we first got Bayless, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I liked his swagger. But now, I find it embarrassing more than anything. He’s just not good enough of a player to be walking around with such cockiness.

          • barenakedman

            In his mind he’s like Derrick Rose or Iverson in his prime. The trouble is he only plays that way once a month for around 20 minutes. If he can’t show something more this year then probably it’s what you see is what you get. Not sure what an off season would do to elevate his play. He’s been given a lot of PT to show what he can do and he hasn’t taken advantage of it. When he has the ball there is a lot of standing around by the other players watching him shoot or drive to the bucket and unfortunately he comes away empty way too often.

          • wienermobile89

            Amen. That angry sneer needs to be put on ice until his game is worthy of it. His expression after a big ‘And-1’ is indistinguishable from his expression after he’s turned the ball over for the third time in four possessions.

      • sleepz

        I actually think that Sonny could be well served as a back-up 2 on this team. Putting him in the starting line-up messed up his game and made him thought he was better than he is. A back-up to DeRozan (12-14 minutes a game) would be a good role for him imo.

        • Nilanka15

          Wonder if his ego could handle it though. Going from one of the ridiculous “Young Onez” to spot-duty and garbage time on an unproven team, and being out-staged by his younger best friend.

    • Smushmush

      Actually, imo Bayless the little bitch who is not a real PG should be traded before Barbosa. Hell, if BC wants to make me happy, trade both of them. Look for a backup PG in the draft(hopefully, BC makes a trade for a lottery pick (if we get Irving with our pick, if not draft Terrence Jones – he fits this team like a glove) to draft Terrence Jones and a late first rounder to get the new backup PG(Nolan Smith, anyone? He is a senior and will be seen by draft scouts as having “peaked” already), resign Trey Johnson as a third string PG or buyout Bobby Brown’s contract in Europe(better option imo) and sign him here).

  • Marion abused Amir something fierce in the third quarter.

  • None of the Raptors four guards can play even passable defense.

    DeRozan really needs to step it up on defense or he could turn out to be the next Bargnani; i.e. by playing decent or better on the offensive side of the ball only.

    Calderon bless his heart really tries on defense but he is too slow and probably too short when you include his reach/wing span to be an adequate defender.

  • Mgdhello

    knew it wouldn’t last but Bargs lovers must have been puking when we started out on a 22-3 run

    • Johnn19

      Love Bargnani, or hate him, but the current Raptors do not have a chance without him !

      • Mgdhello

        i actually feel bad for bargs being thrown into BC’s “Euro/up-tempo” disaster, but probably the best quarter the team had all year was sparked by some guy the Bulls are throwing away

        • AnthonyF

          Correction 6 minutes…… We were only up 6 at the end of one. BTW we’ve had a few runs like that (i.e. vs Detroit and Cleveland in games we were down by 20 odd, where we won straight off the top of my head).

          Sorry to burst your bubble…..

      • sleepz

        lol, or with him.

  • Raptorsss

    The problem with the Raptors is that when they struggle on offense they slack off on defense, and that’s what happened last game.

  • Mediumcore

    It’s difficult to maintain perspective through an 82 game season, but keep in mind that we’re supposed to be a bad team this season. Our starting line up yesterday consisted of a rookie, two sophmore players, Amir who is in his first year as a starter and Jose. Not a star among them and playing against an elite team filled with veterans, all stars and future HOF’s. What are you expecting?

    • Blasted

      +1 Thank you…

    • Smushmush

      I was expecting a loss either way. We get it – the team is young but as fans, we don’t have to see back to back blowouts (worst losses since I became a fan in 2006), they should have some heart and leave it 100% on the floor. I am going to be ok with the effort even if it is a typical loss but this team lost its heart after Reggie Evans went down. sigh. However, it is a given with a typical BC soft team to lose their heart at a stage imo.

      • Mediumcore

        It would be nice if they left if all on the floor each night, but hey, we’re all probably at work right now while responding to this thread.

        • Statement

          “we’re all probably at work right now while responding to this thread”…teehee

        • Nilanka15

          Speak for yourself, I’m at work diving for loose balls, boxing out my defender, and challenging shots at the rim while responding to this thread. It can be done 😛

    • tonious35

      I was expecting a loss…but why did it have to be in the most surprising, amazing, and enlightening 22-3 lead cock-tease against the 2nd best team in the NBA this season?

      It’s like having a girl friend to the most awesomest pole and lap dance for you, but after 10 minutes she spontaneously projectile vomits acid in your face.

      • Nilanka15


      • Raptoronto

        It’s kinda like a 30 year old guy falling for an 18 yr old girl after a great BJ, only to find she does little else well and is only half interested in trying. She may eventually come around if you are patient and put the time into the relationship but it sure as hell will be a painful process to get to the big pay-off…or you could play if safe, move on for a more mature women who knows how to treat a man but may not give you the same high-end thrill for quite as long and very well will get sick of your immature ass and ask out.

        …on the flip side women gotta deal with this shit with men at any age. They make good Raptor fans.

      • Toshmon

        rap of the day?

  • AwesomeGuest

    I just don’t understand how a team can start the game 22-3 (or something like that), then end up losing the game by 18 points. Thats almost a 40 point turnaround. That’s just.. sad.

    • It’s called the NBA. And the Raptors aren’t a very talented team and Dallas is. It’s too bad, but it’s certainly not a shock.

    • Nilanka15

      The last such turnaround I remember involved some kid named Kobe droping 81…

  • Gabetei

    Leandro is top 5 of scores coming from the bench. He is 39 in pts per minute, he`s playing through an injury and I am pretty sure if he`s health he will be much better, but if you don`t like, trade him, lots of teams including Boston want him.

  • Gabetei

    You guys should be focusing in Andrea`s no defense at all, Weems laziness, Calderon inconsistence, and Bayless that is not a point guard but a Shooting guard. Here in Toronto. Mto, Julian Wright ends up with a steal, 2 assists and 3 rebound people get crazy… thats why American players tease Toronto. Wrong mentality.Go to Phoenix, they love LB there….