Bobcats 95, Raptors 90 – Box

I suppose Reggie Evans can’t do it all himself. He had yet another heroic performance on the boards, but the Raptors were otherwise fairly impotent in a 95-90 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.

With the win, the Bobcats move a half-game ahead of the Pacers for the eighth seed in the East (and the right to be swept, woo!), and with the loss absolutely nothing changes in Raptorland. It was the usual story this afternoon, with porous defense and ineffective shooting sealing their fate, and the inconsistent individual play continuing its maddening existence.

I questioned in the pre-game which Bargnani and Jose we would get today, and neither jumped off the page as having a great or terrible game. Bargnani seemed fairly disengaged, doing little of substance for 39 minutes (just 12 field goal attempts, and only four rebounds adding to the boxscore line). He did shoot 50% for 17 points, but he had a fairly large advantage taking Boris Diaw and Kwame Brown off the dribble that he decided not to exploit with any frequency. Diaw made him look silly a couple of times, but for the most part Charlotte didn’t attack him with any strategic vigor.

As you probably expected, Jose had a lot of trouble keeping D.J. Augustin in front of him. Augustin finished with 25 points, one of his best scoring outputs as a pro, and neither Calderon nor Bayless could contain him for any length of time. Offensively, Jose scored 13 points with seven assists, a very ho-hum game, but that was the order of the day for the team. Basically, “it” just wasn’t there, and it’s difficult to pinpoint a reason they lost other than poor execution in general.

Shooting 42% and allowing your opponent to shoot 52% is a recipe for disaster, and it completely negated some of the strong rebounding and transition basketball the Raptors displayed. 16 offensive boards should be enough to create an advantage on the score sheet, but some sloppy turnovers and a plethora of missed open looks, including 4-of-17 on threes, completely erased that edge.

Reggie Evans sure tried his best, posting a ridiculous 17 rebounds, eight of them offensive. He was a complete machine, providing energy and hustle as we’ve come to expect. When the only complaint you have about somebody’s game is that they maybe could have looked for their own shot occasionally after offensive rebounds, that person is not taking much off the table. Reggie continues to show a huge amount of heart and grit, and yes, I know the workman story has been told too often and is a bit odd to focus on (why would anyone not work their tail off?), it’s still a treat to see Evans buzz around for every loose ball and rebound with so much zeal.

Ed Davis looked at times like he was ready to join Reggie in the act, but he finished with just 8-and-6. He had a great stretch in the second quarter where he was repeatedly attacking the basket, but a few hard fouls and some missed free throws may have discouraged him, as he shot very little the rest of the way.

DeMar DeRozan had one of his worst games in recent memory, shooting 4-of-13 and disappearing for stretches. His jump shot wasn’t falling and he had trouble getting past Gerald Henderson, and this was one of those games that emphasizes his need to add in non-scoring areas when the buckets aren’t coming. He’s come a very long way with his offensive game, and I’m pleased, but eventually helping in other ways will have to become a staple of his game as well.

Annnnd there’s Leandro Barbosa. I thought about ignoring him completely as I rush through this player-by-player post-game, but when you miss two potentially huge three pointers in the last minute, you need to get mentioned. One was a necessary attempt with next to no time left down five, but with 50 seconds left he fired up a bad three with plenty of time on the shot clock. This has become commonplace, as Barbosa shoots with reckless abandon on most nights. On nights like Friday (29 points) it can really lift the team. However, if he’s as cold as he was today (6-for-18) he has no business firing 18 shot attempts in just 23 minutes. I know some people think he’s great and enjoy watching him, but I spend most of the time he has the ball cringing and worrying, and I’ve never been a huge fan. Yes, he’s a spark off the bench who can fill it up quickly, but too often he neglects the other four guys on the floor and plays way out of control.

Sorry, mini-rant over. So, I’m down to 1-10 covering games, and I’m about out of ideas to explain this one. It was standard fare for the season, nobody should be surprised or disappointed, growing pains, etc, etc. Things can only get better. And hey, you probably all scrolled right down to the comments section to argue about Colangelo anyway, so have at it!