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!

  • CK

    Boring read. Sorry.

    • Marc

      Much like the Raps today, he mailed it in.

      • Shee

        Yeah… Lets see you guys try to write a fun and interesting article after a game like today…

    • cesco

      The end of the season is like flogging a dead horse what can the writers do to make it interesting?

    • AwesomeGuest

      Your comment was a boring read. Biiiiiiitchhh!

      • CK

        How would you know? You can’t even read. Biiiiiiitch!

  • Pesterm1

    holy, haters gonna hate hey lol gzzzz.

  • Pizzaman

    You nailed the comments on every player and said it exactly like it was today. Good recap!

  • tonious35

    I’m from Alberta time and I pretty much slept through the entire game and the 1 hour jump made sure I missed it. Having no SN1 helped too.

    I hope Reggie keeps the shape he is in. I would keep him for another two uninjured years and hope he might keep value until another deadline.

  • Nilanka15

    I completely agree on Barbosa. I can’t help but shake my head everytime the ball reaches his hands. He just puts his head down and drives into crowds while his teammates are left waving their wide open hands to no avail. Sure he’s a nice piece compared to Turkoglu, but I don’t see Barbosa filling any necessity as this “rebuild” continues over the next 2-3 years.

    • Theswirsky

      whats even more distasteful is he seems to be getting worse as the season progresses. Maybe I forgot about it during his time off… but he is putting new meaning to the word “ball hog” (atleast at the NBA level)

      I like his effort, I like that he is aggressive, I like his quickness… I just wish he would mix it up a bit and dish to a guy when he drives.

      • Bendit

        If he did (dish) he would have been a starter, Phx might have kept him or he would have been playing for a better team than the Raps. At his salary he will probably exercise his option and be back. Definitely better than having Turkoo here for the next 3 yrs.

        • Juicy

          He might not dish the ball because he doesn’t trust his teammates. You can call it Kobe-itis, but if he doesn’t believe anyone else can knock one down, he is going to try and take on the world himself. Works sometimes, but is usually pretty rare.

          • yertu damkule

            well, it’s not like it’s a new development…he played with some rather competent teammates in PHX, but it’s not like he was putting up big assist #s then either. it’s unfair to say that it’s because he’s selfish, it’s simply the way he learned to play the NBA game – he was a sparkplug off the bench who’s job it was to push the pace, look for easy/transition buckets, and get the D on it’s heels. it’s hard to drastically alter one’s style of play, especially when it’s been so ingrained.

  • Nilanka15

    Lots of great NCAA games this weekend. Got my first looks at Freddette (52 pts on Saturday), and Barnes (40 pts on Saturday). Although DraftExpress has Irving as the #1 pick at the moment, it’s fair to say that by the end of the tournament, the projected top 5 could look vastly different than it does today. As a result, we may not need the 1st overall pick to land Irving.

    As an example, leading up to the 2003 tournament, I don’t think anyone would’ve considered Melo a top 5 pick. That is until Syracuse made their miraculous title run. The big board can change pretty drastically between now and April 4th.

    • sleepz

      Melo was considered top 7 pick as he was a highly touted Oak Hill grad and a Freshman making an impact for a major program at ‘Cuse.

      That title run did vault him to the next level though.

    • BB

      If Cleveland has there way with the draft, they will pick Irving at number 1 according to many reports. Plus they have the Clipper’s first round pick…could you imagine them going Irving 1, and Barnes 2? Man that would suck.

      I do think we’re safe if Minni or Washington lands the #1, don’t think they’ll be touching Irving. We’ll see.

    • Mediumcore

      Fredette could have dropped 81 points ala Kobe and will still not be drafted in the top 10.

      I think a lack of playing time might actually help Kyrie stay on top of the board. Take for example Barnes who plays great one game then not so much the other. I have Kyrie and Barnes as the top two picks in the draft with Barnes not ready to make an impact right away at the NBA level.

      Derrick Williams from Arizona is getting a lot of attention but I haven’t seen him take a jump shot yet. Jared Sullinger has low post skill but the guy is undersized in the NBA and doesn’t have the athleticism and quickness to guard PF’s. Kemba, too short. Note I’m typing all this with as much confidence as I can muster so it sounds like I know what I’m talking about…

      • sleepz

        Questioning William’s handle might be reasonable but if you check out his numbers, particularly from the 3pt line you might not be so quick to question his jumper.

        • Mediumcore

          I actually like his game…battles hard and is a good rebounder for his size, excellent finisher and can finish with both hands….but in the NBA, and at that size you gotta have a jump shot and I haven’t seen that part of his game yet. Perhaps it’s just that I literally have not seen him take a jump shot yet and his highlight reels are just of dunks. Hopefully it’s something that he show cases in the tournament.

    • pran

      sources also say that Irving will go back to school unless he is picked first, or possibly second.


      • yertu damkule

        last i heard him returning to duke wasn’t overly likely. your link wasn’t to a specific article, so that obviously could have changed.

        regardless, i don’t foresee a situation where he wouldn’t be – at worst – a consensus top-3 pick, and that would only be if an already highly-touted guy had a phenomenal tourney (say, barnes going for 30+ every game & leading NC to the final 4) & moved past him. it’s not as though he can wait until after the draft and then go back to duke if he doesn’t like the slot or the team that picked him. he’d have to have a clear indication that no one would be taking him in the first half of the lottery, and that’s simply not going to happen. this is a thin draft, and i don’t foresee teams passing on the chance to take a top-flight PG prospect…he’s not at the level wall or rose were as a prospects, but it’s pretty close.

        a bigger issue is the potential for a lockout…i can see that being a reason why guys would undeclare (or not declare at all), but i think that’s a long-shot as well.

        • Nilanka15

          The link provides this tidbit when you click on Kyrie Irving:

          “Sources claim he will enter this year’s (2011) NBA draft if he’s projected by teams as a top 2 pick …” – Updated March 8, 2011.

          But who exactly are these “sources” is anyone’s guess.

  • Mike D

    Its all up to Glen Silvestri now. He is the most positive force for meaningful change the franchise has, in these dark, dark days…

  • Alma

    Um, y’all, if you don’t want to read, don’t come on the website! what?

    I thought it was great analysis Blake. It was hard to pinpoint anyone, but apart from the awesomeness that is Reggie, everyone else was quite off. Also, about Barbosa, I feel like there is no strategy given to him once he comes in so too often he feels like he may win the game all by himself, but unfortunately it materializes too rarely, such as on Friday’s game. Anyway, great analysis though! and GO RAPTORS! We still love ’em!

  • cesco

    Interesting that the Pacers whom we beat on Friday , beat NY in NY yesterday . So when we play well , we can beat a lot of teams . The question is : why do we play well only rarely ? .
    Is it the coach fault ? , the players ? , BC ? . Perhaps the team need a sport psychologist full time , no ?

    • Ol’ Dirty Raptor

      It’s not a matter of playing well only rarely. Raptors just don’t have the talent to keep up. Does it matter if the Raptors play well if their playing against the Celtics, and all of their players play well? No.

      You want your team to bring consistent effort, but sometimes you’re limited by your ability. It’s not like if you just tell someone to just play like Ray Allen (just an example). They can’t. Of course you can get the occasional other-worldly game from someone like Jose Calderon, but if he doesn’t go 20-15, it doesn’t mean he isn’t trying harder.

      Wins aren’t transitive anyway (Pacers beating the Knicks has 0% to do with the Raptors), and NY isn’t a great team. IMO the Knicks are still closer to the Raptors and Pacers of this world than they are to Celtics and Lakers.

      • Nilanka15

        Agreed regarding the Knicks. They’ll be first round fodder regardless of who they’re matched up against (Bulls, Celts, Heat or Magic). They don’t scare anyone.

      • Bendit

        Re the Knicks…true. They have already started grumbling in the Apple about gutting the team for mr. no-defense Melo.

      • cesco

        Yet , Evans played with the same if not more intensity as the previous game , the others didn’t . So it is not a problem of talent but rather of desire and this is were a coach has to be a good motivator and Triano has shortcomings in that area , I think .

        • yertu damkule

          desire IS a talent. without the will, there is no way.

          • RapthoseLeafs

            desire is a state of mind. And the mind is the will.

  • Johnn19

    Raptors vs the Cats, the whole team was just not in sync.
    Shooting 42% while allowing 51% from the Cats, and making 21 turnovers, allowing 28 points to the Cats, while missing 11 of 31 free throws, its a miracle they only lost by 5, being a couple of shots from a win in the final minute, due to the Cats poor offense.

  • tonious35

    Is this the only season in franchise history that the Bobcats have swept us? I think this is the true Eastern Conference measuring stick: If you can’t win a game against the Bobcats (even with MJ trading away his best players), you have to tank your season.

    • Mediumcore

      “you have to tank your season”

      They’re well on the way to doing that.

      • yertu damkule

        it’s one of the few things they can accomplish without really trying…

  • Bendit

    11 for 31 fts??? Did someone jackup the net when the Raps shot? Makes me laugh when the pundits talk of the Rap advantage for Sunday aft. games. They must not have reset their clocks as well.

    • Nilanka15

      11 missed free throws, meaning they made 20 of 31. Still terrible, but not as bad as 11 for 31 😉

      • Bendit

        Thks…my dyslexia took over

  • Nilanka15

    Old news, but I just came across it today. It’s quite amusing coming from a British NBA blogger, who wouldn’t be as familiar with the sport of basketball as the average North American fan, commenting on the 2 games in London:

    “Other than the rebounding, defense and lack of passing, Bargnani played well”.

    Bargnani’s one-dimensionality is obvious to everyone except his fans.

    • slaw

      In fairness, that description also applies to 4 or 5 other guys in the rotation. Only Amir, Davis, Evans and Calderon consistently work hard off the ball. James Johnson tries but he is erratic.

      Problem is that when your best player only tries when he wants to score then everybody else plays that way, too.