Raptors 95, Thunder 93 – Box

A more complete 48 minutes have never been played by a Jay Triano coached team. This was different than the win in Dallas because OKC did not underestimate the Raptors or come out with any complacency whatsoever. It was game-on from tip-off and the Raptors stayed toe-to-toe with the Thunder, answering every jab with a punch, and when it appeared that they were on the ropes and ready to go down, the Raptors delivered the haymakers with resounding effectiveness. The Thunder were downed in front of a raucous home crowd and the Raptors completed an unlikely series sweep.

A ear-to-ear smile appeared on my face when Reggie Evans drew an offensive foul on ex-C**tic Kendrick Perkins and then frustrated the giant pussy into a technical. Perkins was going at Amir Johnson in the first quarter by playing him very tight and physical, the Raptors power forward showed his annoyance by pushing Perkins and getting whistled for a technical of his own. Jay Triano made an excellent move of getting Evans in there who stood up for Johnson and equalized matters with Perkins rather quickly. Alex English had said before the game that the team was “ready to play” and they sure were.

The Thunder attack was countered with excellent man-to-man defense on their main weapon, Kevin Durant, by James Johnson who did not concede an inch and didn’t show any respect whatsoever to the superstar. His drives were sealed off without the need of extra help, his attack angles were taken away at the perimeter and he was kept outside the paint for the most part (shot chart). The trash-talking between the two had also started early after Durant challenged Johnson to take a corner three, and the former Bull drained it before giving Durant an earful. That kind of thing spurs every teammate on and it no doubt did a lot for the team’s confidence, which was already buoyed by the earlier victory in Toronto.

Jose Calderon had a masterful first quarter. The numbers aren’t great (1-7 FG, 3 points, 9 assists overall, 3 in the first) but what’s lost in the mix is that his composure in the face of OKC pressure in the first kept this a ball-game. OKC had jumped out to an 18-10 lead and were looking to put the hammer down, which is when Calderon guided the Raptors offense in transition and found Bargnani for a three, and then Evans for a two which quelled the pressure and brought the Raptors back. He had a calming influence early in the game, kept Westbrook under relative check and didn’t get exploited to the point where he becomes a liability.

Andrea Bargnani’s sputtering but crucial offense, Reggie Evans’ rebounding and finishing around the rim after setups, and overall great man and transition defense accounted for a 25-22 first quarter lead, a quarter where the Thunder were held to 42% shooting, a far cry from what the Raptors have been giving up lately. The Thunder were resurgent in the second with James Harden leading the way, he was getting the better of Sonny Weems and DeMar DeRozan in isolation situations and was having a defensive impact which spawned a few OKC breaks. Harden had his three going as well and finished with 13 points in the second quarter, making up for a struggling Kevin Durant (20 pts, 6-21 FG, 1-6 3FG, 5 reb). Harden’s assault didn’t soften the Raptors defensive resolve, even Sonny Weems had an inspired defensive moment where he rose high to block a sure Harden dunk.

DeMar DeRozan (16 pts, 8 reb, 7-14 FG) struggled early against Thabo Sefolosha but got stronger has the game went on, and had some key baskets in the fourth. In the first quarter though, he struggled immensely on defense and it wasn’t until midway through the second when he started making his defensive presence felt – a hard double on Durant, weak-side pressure on Perkins, that sort of thing. Andrea Bargnani’s help defense wasn’t challenged as one might have thought, mostly because James Johnson was doing a superb job on Durant, and Harden wasn’t attempting too many drives into the heart of the paint. Perkins is still coming back from his injury and the Thunder don’t have any credible offensive threats at PF/C so the pressure on Bargnani was minimized.

The Raptors were forcing the Thunder to use up the shot clock, they only conceded 9 offensive rebounds for the game, and were dilligent at getting back in transition and stopping the ball before it got past the FT line. The mixing of the zone with man was done well and I only recall the Thunder truly breaking it a couple times in the first quarter – the most memorable one an alley-oop to Durant. On the basis of their aggressive and intelligent defense, the Raptors held a very deserved 48-44 halftime lead.

Russel Westbrook is about an explosive as a point guard as there is around, I see a lot of Monta Ellis in his drives to the rim – acceleration, body control and fearlessness. The Thunder felt that since Durant was struggling they’d see what Westbrook would do with the ball in his hands a green-light to attack, and that’s exactly what the first two possessions of the third were about. As a Raptors fan, you feared for Jose Calderon and the Raptors because the ease of which Westbrook scored on those two drives did not foreshadow good things. The reason the Raptors won this game was because they always had a response to everything OKC threw at them, right after Wesbrook’s two drives, DeRozan and Bargnani went on a 10-0 run and gave the Raptors a 10 point lead.

The early part of the third is where the Raptors have often lost games, the other team usually realizes how bad they’re playing and takes it to another level. The Raptors usually come out of the third with the wrong mentality and fail to counter the increased aggression and focus of their opponents. Last night was not usual so none of that happened, the response was immediate and effective and made Scotty Brooks call a timeout that he wasn’t banking on using. Westbrook did finish with 10 points in the quarter, which is what OKC desired, except they didn’t get the run-outs and turnovers that they hoped. The Raptors won both the points-in-the-paint battle 44-38 and the fast-break point stat 15-10 – two key statistics when playing the Thunder.

Blessed with a 10 point lead entering the fourth, it now became a question of how well the Raptors would cope with the looming home-team run which was nothing short of a certainty. Would they have the required response? Yes, see below for the responses:

  • James Harden makes three FTs after a bad foul by Barbosa which cut the lead to 7, the crowd was back into it. Jerryd Bayless hits a three. Bayless showed great control of himself all game long, ran the sets well and brought the defense once again.
  • A 6-0 Thunder run cuts the lead to 4 and the arena is about to explode. Jose Calderon neatly finds Reggie Evans who finishes strong with the left-hand. Order restored.
  • Coming out of a timeout after the Thunder creep to within 4, DeRozan sticks a jumper. Calderon assist. Moments later, Bargnani drains a long three, after Calderon’s drive-and-kick. 8 point game again.
  • After the Thunder took a one-point lead, James Johnson embarrassed Kevin Durant on a blow-by dunk. Sound of silence. 3:11 left.
  • Tie-game at 93 with 41 second left, Triano runs a great play getting Barbosa open after Bargnani and Johnson set shattering screens for a wide open three. Tie game.

Russell Westbrook driving the ball on their last play didn’t fool anybody and the shot-contest was there from the wing and the bigs. When the Raptors got the ball Triano managed to run another great play. A high pick ‘n roll with Barbosa and Johnson, it forced Perkins to comeout and as Johnson rolled, the smaller Durant was stuck on him deep in the paint and Johnson did well to finish. Great roll, great decision to pass, great finish. Only a second remained for the Thunder to attempt a shot and Durant’s 18-footer was contested as usual. Game over. The Raptors overcame some key missed jumpers from Bargnani late in the game because they played the required defense which can raise your team out of any offensive funk. The effort was 100%, the game-plan was solid and the result a memorable one.

The Player of the Game for me had to be James Johnson, but Barbosa disagrees:

“We appreciate all the work Amir has done for this team. He was the man of the game for us.”

Barbosa on the final play:

“I called Amir to come up on the pick and roll. I had the option to take my man off the dribble, but when I saw Amir roll to the basket I thought that was the best play for us.”

Proud to be a Raptors fan on this night. And I’m happy for the two Raptors fans that were in the crowd, nothing like seeing the Raps on the road in a hostile environment and they deliver a great win.

  • cesco

    This team is much better than their record shows . If they could beat those eastern teams vying for the 7/8th spots the rest of the season , they could be in the playoffs next year .

    • Arsenalist

      No, they’re not.

      Fluxland is harsh, but he’s on the right path. The Raptors have always finished the season strong on the heels of some inspired performances. From Voshon Lenard to Mike James to Shawn Marion to Leandro Barbosa, these wins always seem to happen. Let’s not repeat the mistake of thinking how a team finishes the season trumps how it performed for the first 70 games.

      • cesco

        They are young and they had several wins and close games against top teams earlier in the season (the first trip out west was an example where they threw a scare at the Lakers and should have won in Sacramento) . Injuries hurt them because they have little depth . They need to acquire a winning mentally for every game and they are not there yet .

        • Nilanka15

          The scare in referring to these guys as a good team, is that management might actually believe it too, and do little to improve the squad this summer. As Arse mentioned, it’s happened in the past. In a non-playoff year, any win during the final 15-20 games of the season is fool’s gold.

          • Johnn19

            I don’t think anyone feels they aare a good team, but a young team getting experience, and learning to play together.

            • Copywryter

              Exactly what you could say about OKC as well. Like the Raps, they are one of the youngest teams in the league. Unlike the Raps, they have a whack of talent and a nice bench. Amazing win, but just a win.

      • hateslosing

        The Raps as they stand now would have had a better record if they hadn’t had a bunch of injuries and had acquired James Johnson earlier. To me, that indicates that they are indeed better than their record.

      • Johnn19

        Lets not forget that the Raptors (per Devlin) have lost 196 man games to injury, (and counting, Kleiza)and are 3-3 since Reggie ( the 3rd/4th leading rebounder in the NBA) returned, and are 9-13 in games that he has played.
        They are finally now playing with mostly the team that they were meant to with the exception of Kleiza, who has been replaced by J Johnson.

    • cb

      no. they’re not.

      • RapthoseLeafs

        .
        Are you suggesting that Raptors are worse than their record?
        .

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      Calm down a little.lol

      20-49 is what the Rap’s are.

  • FLUXLAND

    Here come the wins against legit teams, when they are shutting it down for the playoffs, while MLSE and BC restore hope and refill the kool aid for the summer months.

    Inevitably , the yahoos will come out claiming how this team is much better than they record and how we are x player away from being a contender.

    In BC we trust!

    • CalibreMC

      Why are you even a fan of the Raptors? I am not saying you have to like every move that is made. Nor am I saying that you cannot question said moves, however you are just so negative all of the time. The “kool aid” you refer to is called marketing. Look it up. What is BC and company supposed to do? Say, “yeah we are crap and gonna continue to be crap?” We all know the limitations of our current ownership/management team. Give it a rest, or better yet, find another team to cheer for. This team could do without “fans” like you. We are in a rebuild, this was a good win. Period.

      • FLUXLAND

        Actually, yes. I think I would probably appreciate the honesty of : Say, “yeah we are crap and gonna continue to be crap” (because we just want to make money and really, we just don’t have a clue about basketball, or really we do have a clue, yet we just want /NEED to make BNOPAT), like say here:

        http://www.startribune.com/sports/102815564.html

        and reading things like: “team’s attempt to establish a new relationship with fans and bring some transparency to how it operates.”, as opposed to being told (by people like you) to give it a rest, while using “marketing”/ snake oil lingo like “retooling”.

        This “win” is the equal of the beginning of season “wins” BC teams rack up to boost ticket sales, and wins like these get the next season ticket sales phones working.

        Believe me, I don’t need a lesson in marketing.

        I’m a fan of the Raptors and the teams existence, just not its current regime. Until that changes, I will not “find another team to cheer for” or give it a rest.
        Because what should be an absolutely 1st class NBA team in what is a 1st class North American city has been reduced to farm team of the NBA. And while the fans are forking over their hard earned cash due to their undying loyalty for the team, the NBA, MLSE and BC are using it as cash cow and accounting project.

        Fans like me? What exact affect do “fans like me” have, beside purchasing tickets to go see the games?

        • dalmatino

          so, your problem is not just BC or MLSE, your problem is deeper – the whole NBA organization/corporation. If this is your case, than you have a problem, not other fans or supporters of OUR Raptors team. I cheer for every win, for every good game even if the result is – another defeat. The management , maybe, can be seen with ” loser ” mentality ( sports related, not money related ), but the team: players, coaches, fans, … they are not losers.
          Being critic just for the sake of criticizing someone or something, says more about critic himself than otherwise.
          Painful year for all who love Raptors ( little more painful for those who love Bargnani little more than others ) but here is allways a hope for better tomorrow.
          In your case, I don’t see hope, there is no hope, because you cannot change NBA corporation, nor profitability what investors want wherever they invest their money.

          • FLUXLAND

            “For the sake of criticizing”? If I had said, “This team sucks”, your post would make sense.

            I’m pretty sure I stated more than that, and if your post is what you drew from the above, then I don’t know how to reply. You didn’t address anything I wrote, only told me you know a whole lot a bout me, when you cheer, and how painful it is to be a Bargnani fan. What any of that has to do with my post, is beyond me.

            • dalmatino

              Fluxy, don’t play games now. My post is what is clearly about: your complaining about BC, MLSE and NBA as a company or corporation. I never mentioned complaining about the team, but as I understood your post, you are against BC, MLSE and NBA as a corporation.
              That is utopia my friend. That is the reason I wrote ” for the sake of criticizing … ” because you cannot change the way how Stern is managing the whole league. Look at yesterday game, how many ” wrong ” decisions refs directed to Raptors??? How much the refs contributed the OKC came back to the game in fourth???
              And regarding the Bargs – that was sarcasm and if you read any of my ( not often posted ) writings, I am on the side of Bargs boat.

              To recapitalate: you wrote you are again the ” regime ” and you listed under the regime: BC, MLSE and NBA as a corporation. My post is just a reply for futile complaining because you nor any of us can change the NBA is established and ruled by king Stern.

              • dalmatino

                ” recapitulate ” sorry.

                • dalmatino

                  ” against ” ops, again mistake:)

              • FLUXLAND

                Fair enough.

                I guess I just I don’t want THIS team to be one of Stern’s lower end player development teams. Find another team. Like I said, it’s a 1st class AND 4th largest North American City/Metro Area; this should not be happening, this is absolute incompetence or deliberate thievery.

                Stern would pay attention if his pocket were hit, but because Raptor fans are fiercely loyal ….yet arguably equally complaisant, this will never happen.

                In New York, they booed, they carried signs to the games, they booed their native son in the Mecca of basketball!!, the media shredded the regime on a daily basis, they ORGANIZED PROTESTS!! (I don’t know how close you follow the NBA)

                “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’”, my friend.

                So, what remains is to criticize the regime until they make changes or until they sell.

                Maybe I can’t. Maybe none of us individually can. But together?

                “Insieme? Sotto lo stesso cielo? Non e piu un songo, Dalmatino, te lo dico io.”

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8256ETqf1E

                Don’t make get all positive and cheesy in here, Dalmatino! I don’t want the “my kind of fan” rep to take a hit.

                • Theswirsky

                  “Believe me, I don’t need a lesson in marketing.”

                  well if thats true why do you believe

                  “it’s a 1st class AND 4th largest North American City/Metro Area; this should not be happening”?

                  The # of people in a city/town/area is simple macro view of a market. It is NOT however the reality of the market.

                  Ex. I sell beef. India is coming up on a population of 1 billion. Maybe I should start selling beef in India. I mean the market is huge right? 2nd biggest in the world…..

                  I understand what you are getting at with your thoughts on BC, MLSE etc. You want to see this team win and you don’t think they will with this current “regime” (whether ownership or management). But there is a huge difference between what a hardcore fan thinks is best for the team and what actually keeps an organization/business running and working.

                  I personally think BC should not be resigned. I want the Raps to get the best possible draft pick this offseason so, at this point in time, wins technically ‘hurt’.

                  But people need to get of this grand conspiracy by MLSE to rake in $ by losing. The reality is that doesn’t bring in money in the long term. It doesn’t maximize profits in the long term. And regardless of what one thinks of MLSE on a ‘moral’ or ‘sports IQ’ level. They are smart business people. They have made a fortune through smart long term investment, not short term profit grabs.

                  There isn’t some on/off switch they hit to make a team win or lose. Losing for the majority of the season, then winning win it “doesn’t matter”, simply doesn’t make sense. Thats a huge loss of potential profits right there. What this is is professional sports (where shit happens on any given day, week or season), and a team trying to compete in a small and unique market place. This is not like NY or LA. This is not like Hockey in Toronto/Canada.

                  That said, that also doesn’t mean they did a good job with their product. It doesn’t mean that they will or won’t do well with their product. But we can’t act as if there aren’t special barriers to the production of a winning basketball team in Toronto, especially given the nature and marketing of teams and players at the National/Global level. Not all markets are created equal regardless of how many or how few people live in them.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Your example is weak, IMO.

                  The only barrier is basketball philosophy. When things are done right, location is irrelevant. Business is business, I understand that, but let’s not pretend that this is rocket science.

                  There is no MLSE conspiracy. Its all right there. The value of team has gone up, they are 1 one of only 4 teams to avg. 1M through the gates every game, they have never over spent, and in combination with they yearly records…. I’m pretty sure you could argue it does bring in long term profits. Book and countless articles has been written about this.
                  Winning to them is “8th seed contender” and alternating season win totals between 15 and 40.

                  This yeards record has set the bar so low, the next few years are money in the bank, because surely it can’t any worse that this right? You see the hope train overloading here, you don’t think that’s bringing in “winning” profits?

                  They have conditioned the fanbase to what they consider “winning”.

                  No one here is arguing their business acumen or IQ. I’ve repeatedly stated this team should not be used as some accounting project or a stock in someone’s portfolio, this is about sports, winning the chip. Not “long term investing”.

                  And that might be a problem as well, too many fans are Bay Street wannabes and see BC as their hero.

                  ==
                  On what “reality” exactly are basing your argument on? That “we don’t really know what NBA business is like and hence we don’t know what we are talking about?

                  Tell me, what exactly “actually keeps an organization/business running and working.”
                  Let me take a random guess? Customers?

                  My point about the market was that there are teams that have suffered/are suffering from being able to draw fans/ticket sales, while still having better players/coaches than we’ve had here.

                  The people are here, the money is here.

                  This is about intent, not luck, unicorns, mythical creatures or special barriers.

                  Goods player don’t want to play on bunk teams, and mediocre players chasing money will gladly take BC’s cash, but don’t let that make you think there’s a barrier.

                • Theswirsky

                  The barrier is NOT only basketball philosophy. It is location, its is $ available, it is competition (not only in basketball but all sports), it is demand.

                  Your view of what a market is and how it works is so simplistic… thats why you DO need a lesson in marketing/business.

                  “The Value of the team has gone up”

                  Ofcourse it did.. the team had a level of success in the past and there was the potential for growth. This creates a lag. The teams value also increased from 1998-2004 (loses – wins – loses) and then decreased in 2005. Also “value” is dependant on alot of things other than just sales (combined salary, arena worth, inflation changes, etc etc)

                  Did you notice that MLSE has not yet extended BC? Why… because of concerns over future tickets sales. Don’t think for a minute that there is some infinite growth BC will create, or that MLSE thinks he will create. (this is not to say they will or won’t resign him)

                  “They have conditioned the fanbase to what they consider “winning”.”

                  again this is nonesense. Thats simply not true. Ticket sales in Toronto are already on the decline. In the long run, this team needs to win to sell its product… demand will go down, sales will go down. This is nothing like hockey where demand completely outstrips supply in Toronto. Even there you will get to the point where

                  “Goods player don’t want to play on bunk teams, and mediocre players chasing money will gladly take BC’s cash, but don’t let that make you think there’s a barrier.”

                  thats not even remotely what I think. Again markets are not created equal. Toronto’s accessibility to the NA market is much smaller than other, so called, “smaller” markets. There is more potential money available elsewhere (through endorsement deals), there is also location considerations (weather, family, familiarity etc), comfort lvl etc. Ofcourse winning will draw better players… better players will also draw fans… fans also generate revenue… revenue also means more $ (amazing how that works huh)

                  Flux, you do not understand this stuff…. you don’t understand the details of a market, of consumer demand, of value. You also don’t seem to realize that this is a sports business. Even Mark Cuban, who claims to loses money on his team, uses the Mavericks as a marketing tool for himself to help create more wealth. Every owner of every sports team, across the globe are “investing”. Your view is so limited…you don’t understand this (and thats fine, I’m not trying to insult you here), but then that angers you so you resort to this concept of “conditioning” the fanbase.

                  This is a sport with 30 teams, with different financial considerations, with different market considerations, with differing levels of luck (both long and short term) in any given year. There are no constants. You cannot treat it as such. Say MLSE sucks… say BC sucks… say the Raptors suck. But don’t act like there are a bunch of suits sitting in leather seats discussing ways of intentionally being unsuccessful. That just doesn’t fit with business practice.

                • FLUXLAND

                  My point is simply this: If the organization had a fundamentally sound basketball philosophy, a lot of the issue you seem to think are barriers would be solved.

                  Would that guarantee winning? No. Would be a lot easier to swallow the losses, if that were the case? I think so.

                  You keep circling around excuses and not one of them is valid, IMO. If anything, they were created by the regime itself. Players don’t want to come here because the organization is not committed to winning.

                  And before you jump on me about that, what I mean is their 1st priority is making money then winning games. So, yeah no is saying they are sitting there trying to unsuccessful, they just have their priorities in a different order.

                  Also, since I don’t understand anything about the market conditions, perhaps you can enlighten me, where are you getting you info from?

                  Ticket sales are down? So? They are all across the L. Again, I don’t want to go over every single point you made, but if I am speculating, so are you, no?

                • Theswirsky

                  Excuses? these aren’t excuses… this is what is, does and has happened.

                  “they just have their priorities in a different order.”

                  their priorities are in no different order than any other owner or ownership group in the league. Levels of risk may change… but their “priorities” are all the same. Do you really think any number of owners would spend over the cap if they didn’t feel they had a shot at the playoffs/championship (which are a huge money grab)? If it wouldn’t help put butts in the seats? I’ll tell you this… when push comes to shove, they are all the same. Money and ‘greed’ matter… its matters more than anything else in this system called “capitalism”. Whether thats ‘right’ or not is a social, moral and ethical discussion… for a different place and time. But don’t think for a second Mark Cuban, Jim Balsille (if he owned a sports team), Jerry Buss or anyone else (individual or group) would really be different as an owner. They are all capitalists… they wouldn’t buy a team if they didn’t feel they could make money off of it. This notion of an owner who will risk any level of money to just win is not true. They may play it off as such in movies, the news, commericials… but that is just to excite their consumer base. They all throw a fit when $ are down… don’t forget, they owe money to people to (ie. other shareholders)

                  (As for the difference between our so called “speculation”.. mine is based on years of economic and business theory and practice.)

                • mountio

                  Great debate guys .. interesting to read and both of you have good points. I think the most important points are:
                  – There is absolutely no debate that NBA players, american players in particular, put a discount on Toronto as a destination. I hate that this is true (and totally disagree with it), but it is. Perhaps its simply ignorance of americans, perception of weather (which we all know isnt much different than NY or CHI), but its true. To deny this fact will hold back anything you are trying to do as a franchise.
                  – Is there a fundamental issue with MLSE focusing on profits over winning? Maybe to some extent, but lets not act like this team hasnt spent money and tried to get free agents. Maybe not Cuban-esque, but I cant think of one guy who wanted to come here that we refused to pay market value for. In the end, super rich, individual owners with huge egos are the best for winning. As swirsk describes, their risk tolerance is simply higher because a) they are already super rich and b) their ego overtakes true capitalism (in the short term at least) But super cheap individual owners can very bad too, so careful what you ask for (see George Shin, Donald Sterling)
                  – You can argue that our biggest “basketball philosophy” issue is that we tried to go offense only (PHX 2.0) and it has failed miserably (both in terms of individual players and in terms of team success). I accept this. But I dont accept that somehow we werent trying and were unwilling to spend money to get there.
                  – MLSE knows all too well that winning will breed better players, and eventually more profits and greater franchise value. In the end, thats all they care about and would be willing to spend to do it (evidence Bosh – who Im glad that we didnt overpay at max money, but there is not doubt the franchise was willing to do it)

                • FLUXLAND

                  Mountio, the only issue the players may have is the border crossing BS. That’s it. And not for them, but for family, etc. If all the players love the city, but don’t want to play here… hmmm… I wonder where the problem may lie.

                  This regime’s treatment of players is well documented; that and the lack of commitment to winning is what keep players that fans want from coming here. The players we want, want to win, not collect paycheques.

                  The team develops young players, offers question mark players a chance at redemption and overpays injured senior citizens. Look at all the rosters.

                • FLUXLAND

                  I can’t argue with any of that, I suppose. I just don’t know if you are still catching what I’m throwing.

                  Your post is simply diluting the concept of business. Yes, everyone takes on and measures risk, makes decisions and operates, ultimately all in the name of profit. And, yes, one could simply say: “Well the fact they are actually playing games, making moves and functioning in the NBA, is proof they are committed to winning.”

                  My feelings are then based on simply this: None of the moves they have made, are ones indicating a commitment to actually winning.

                  They, mostly and perhaps more so in the BC era, come across as low risk accounting moves, allowing them to “always have a bright (financial future)”, while simultaneously being high risk basketball moves. Highly questionable moves to say the least, which indicate the above mentioned lack of commitment to winning.
                  (Obviously, stating this from an understanding of what it actually takes to win in the NBA or what one would interpret that to be.) AND let’s not forget the BC approach has been (over 15ish years) unorthodox or definitively the method least proved, to say the least.

                  So yeah, all of their priorities are all the same on and off the court as franchises of the NBA, but that doesn’t change the fact, for me, that the moves around here are simply about the financial statements.

                  This is no about morals, this is not about ethics, capitalism, greed… this is about WINNING. That’s it. And no Excel sheet or fancy algorithm can make that happen.

                  A note on Cuban: I would say he’s taken more risk and forked over more money to attempt and win at all, if you look at the teams in the West over his ownership tenure.
                  Also, you should take a look at the difference in teams individually owned and corporation run. I would say some owners would risk a lot more than you think, not sure how close you follow other teams in the NBA or familiar with past ones.

                  Btw, did you say theory? and practice? Shoot, MLSE is practicing it too. Don’t mean it’s sound. Well, basketball wise anyway. You know, part of the problem may the business element of the team and it being in Toronto: too many suits as fans and too many BC wannabees, who look away from the court and into the ledgers for measuring success, while probably hoping to score a seat at BC’s Round Table of Salesmen.

                • mountio

                  Interesting thoughts. I guess the question comes down to – what you think the motivation for some of our bad moves has been. Take Turk – everyone would agree, it was a horrible signing (not that others, including Portland werent willing to do it). But – why did we do it?
                  I say it was mostly around a) he was not american and thus actually put a premium on TO as a destination vs most NBA players giving it a discount – so he chose us over Portland for basically the same $ and b) We were trying desperately to get Bosh to resign so were inclined to slightly overpay anyone of resonable talent in hopes of getting him to resign.
                  When I look at these moves in combination, I just dont see how you can make the penny pinching bottom line argument. We put out $50 m+ on Turk hoping that we could put out a max deal on Bosh. In my view, thats spending too much, as opposed to not enough.
                  This also wasnt the first time, as very similar circumstances happened when we overpaid AD, AW, JYD etc to surround Vince.
                  Bottom line, Im not saying this place is run perfectly .. not where close. Hack on players weve chosen and money that was spend (Turk was awful, Yogi Stewart, AW basically broke down, AD was overpaid, Kleiza, the list goes on) – but I just dont see how you can hack on the organization for being too bottom line focused and not willing to spend .. the facts simply dont back it up.
                  If you can think of any players, who wanted to come here (or stay here) that we were unwilling to sign – Ill rethink my stance, but none come to mind, whereas even in Dallas, there have been a few (Nash being the obvious one that Cuban let go for $ reasons)

                • FLUXLAND

                  The motivations behind the “bad moves” is simply to create headlines and appear active. Fans here hooked on the “out with old, in with the new” revolving door, every move signifies more “who knows what will happen, stayed tuned”.

                  It’s not the willingness to spend,it’s how it’s spent and why. The how has to more to do with actual understanding of “winning basketball”, than actual amount of dollars and the why should be about trying to win, not “We singed this years most sought after summertime FA”.

                • mountio

                  Absolutely no argument there.
                  My only point is not to confuse / somehow link that to the fact that MLSE is profit focused.
                  If your point is we should bear down, build through the draft and suck it up for a couple of horrible years in order to be good (this being year one of that), then I agree 100%.

                • dalmatino

                  fluxy my friend, Dalmatia is province in Croatia, not Italy and I am Croat not Italian.
                  Best wishes…

                • FLUXLAND

                  Oh! Mozemo mi na hrvatiski.. nema problema, dajmi rijec.

                • RapthoseLeafs

                  .
                  Flux … I would completely agree with you on Toronto being a 1st class city. But what you failed to mention, is that Toronto IS NOT a 1st destination for players. Nor a 2nd, or 3rd. More like dead last, or close to the bottom. That may be a function of our record (for some), but for most – it’s about being in Canada.
                  .
                  As I keep repeating ad nauseum, I believe the Canadian factor is completely understated in not only attracting players, but also management types. It’s also a factor for any GM who tries to maneuver around the Canadian issue.

                  That part requires a certain awareness and experience on the part of a new GM – one reason why I believe we need to keep Colangelo. He’s had to learn the hard way, how hard it is to attract talent. Then add a tightly controlled business operation, with corporate mentality like MLSE, and it compounds the problem. I keep hearing how money is not the issue, but I keep going back to a simple question …. Have Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment EVER gone over the luxury tax limit – NO.
                  I rest my case.
                  .

                • FLUXLAND

                  Leafs,

                  as my post above: they don’t want to come here because the regime has built an organization and culture that’s not committed to winning. Everyone knows this (look at some of the comments Oak makes about the team)

                  You can attract talent when you goal is to win, not reach ticket sales quota.

                  Money is not the issue, they just don’t want to take unnecessary risk. Which is sound business practice, but I have no idea what that has to do with the fans and keeping them happy.

        • CalibreMC

          “This “win” is the equal of the beginning of season “wins” BC teams rack up to boost ticket sales, and wins like these get the next season ticket sales phones working.”

          I honestly don’t believe that line of thinking holds true with most fans. Believe me this win against OKC is not gonna make me think “oh gosh darn it, we really are gonna contend next year in the playoffs and have a chance at the Championship!!!!.”

          I think you missed my point, it’s a rebuild and we have some good young pieces, so moving forward we are on the right path.

          when you say things like this…

          “Here come the wins against legit teams, when they are shutting it down for the playoffs, while MLSE and BC restore hope and refill the kool aid for the summer months.

          Inevitably , the yahoos will come out claiming how this team is much better than they record and how we are x player away from being a contender.

          In BC we trust!”

          …you insult the majority of Raptor fans.

          I understand what it’s gonna take to turn around our franchise, I choose however not to belittle and berate other fans. One can have opinions/views and articulate them with better class, something you show nothing of.

          Have a nice day :)

          • FLUXLAND

            That’s rich.

            Class? As in:”find another team to cheer for. This team could do without “fans” like you”

            Hypocritical, are we?

            I missed your point? I’m pretty sure from my initial comment that it was obvious that I knew both of your points before you reiterated here or replied.

            So, basically you are super sensitive and didn’t like my form? Fine, don’t read my comments. I don’t like sugarcoating things.

            Have an even nicer evening! : )

          • RapthoseLeafs

            .
            To add to that CalibreMC …. do some people believe that BC – after the OKC win – was jumping in the air, thinking “I’m back in the good books” – “time to hold out for more money”.
            .

      • Balls of Steel

        “We all know the limitations of our current ownership/management team.”

        What exactly do you mean by this? BC (who also happens to be the president), had boatloads of money to throw around (see Turk signing). He had the 1st overall pick in 06 and cap room to boot when he took over. Not a lot of limitations in my opinion. The man had carte blanche on every basketball decision that this franchise goes through. I’m convinced he decides when and how often Maurizio Gherardini goes to the washroom as well.

        “Give it a rest, or better yet, find another team to cheer for. This team could do without “fans” like you.”

        The beauty of this fan site is that people are free to express their opinion for as long as they are respectful to other members of this forum. My take on his initial post was a tad harsh but I agree with everything he said. Personally, I find that my points go longer in this site if I never get personal with people. Just my 2 cents.

        PS> Go to any New York, Chicago or Philly-based fan sites and the passion is most obvious. I’m happy to see that the banter about a 20-win team is alive and well here. It shows that many fans care. Also, as blunt FLUXLAND has been, he does take time to write and respond, rather than the typical, “Trade Bargs”, “Fire Triano”, “Don’t resign BC” rant that dominates this site at times. Take the frustration in stride. We are all rooting for the same team.

        • RapthoseLeafs

          .
          [” Not a lot of limitations in my opinion. “]

          Balls …. here’s what I said in a prior post (a reply to Flux), that makes me believe this above statement is delusional thinking (not that I think your delusional):

          *** As I keep repeating ad nauseum, I believe the Canadian factor is completely understated in not only attracting players, but also management types. ***
          .
          Simply put, this Canadian factor is an extreme limitation – with European players exempted – to some degree. Which by the way, I’d be curious to know how many European players have made their home in Toronto (over the years), relative to the NBA – as a percentage.
          .

          • Balls of Steel

            What you’re then saying is that the Toronto situation is a “lose-lose” no matter how you cut it simply because it’s a city in Canada. It doesn’t matter if we have BC or Andrea, we should just be content because they both want to stay here. Yea, ok, they want to stay here. And how much are their collective annual salaries combined? Yay for Toronto.

            • RapthoseLeafs

              .
              I should’ve been a little clearer with my post.

              I don’t think it’s a lose-lose situation (I’m an optimist), but simply an issue that we pay little heed to. And until we understand, or at least acknowledge it beyond a minimal awareness, it will continue to affect us.
              .
              Turk came here because we outbid everyone else. Granted, it was not the right move for this team – more to appease CB is how I feel. I guess the best way to illustrate it, is to ask if anyone can name 2 or 3 free agents who’ve chosen Toronto over somewhere else. And by free agents, I mean someone of substance. Not Jack, or Delfino, but someone worthy.
              .

      • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

        The Rap’s 5th year President & GM- BC, who put this entire team together, has hypnotized some folks with his media hyped rebuild propaganda ie an excuse for losing- we are not in a rebuild, put the kool aid down- asap.lol

    • cesco

      The team has little depth so the injuries , starting with Evan’s , played a big role this year . Last night win was preceded by several wins and close games against contenders earlier in the year . You completely fail to understand that a young team will struggle but if it want to see the light at the end of the tunnel , wins like last night are a must .

      • FLUXLAND

        Ummm… I am completely failing to understand? Really?

        Perhaps those “close games against contenders” are just games where the contenders decided to coast, since there is no statement to make against the Raptors, they will never see them in the playoffs and risking injury would be ill advised?

        Hasn’t this team had previous “must wins”? Heck, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere “this team has turned the corner” (it may have been ROTD for a week). It’s dark, Sir. There’s no light, no flashlight, no match, no rocks to strike together, nothing. This was just a firefly, and you are not even sure if you saw it or imagined it.

        Ah, yes.. the mythical Reggie Evans curse. Served back to back seasons, don’t you worry.
        It sure is funny how other teams seemingly get decimated with injuries as well AND maintain a level of respectability.

        • nottheendoftheworld

          There are some irrefutable facts about basketball and its players that ‘fans’ like FLUXLAND refuse to acknowledge.

          Big men take longer to develop than guards and small forwards. Bargs has the next 3 or 4 years of peak basketball ahead of him, and many serviceable years after that. Scott Brooks stated before the game that his team treats ‘Drea as one of the best scoring forwards in the league. Hmmm. Really. He must not know shit, huh?

          The Raps are the second youngest team in the league. Remove Evans, and we’re the youngest. When was the last time the youngest team dominated the league? Anybody?

          Our best player is a sophomore, and shows a very good development rate to date. Anybody think we should trade DD for a more proven veteran so we can eek out a few more wins?

          Ed Davis is frankly going to be a monster on the glass. I’m thinking a more skilled ‘Tone Davis to compliment Bargs’ lack of boarding prowess. No light there though. Just more misery. Amir Johnson is the hardest working guy on the team and is a pleasure to watch every night … he’s 23 and when he’s allowed to play against the other team’s second unit, he looks like an all-star. Let’s get rid of him.

          Anybody notice we’ve been decimated by injuries this year? Please let me know which other teams have lost more man-games than us, and have been successful as per your post. Doubtless, it’s BC’s fault, or Triano’s coaching. Let’s be honest … no one in the league ranks JT as remotely suitable for head coaching duties, do they?

          I’ll grant all the naysayers that it’s tough to watch the losing, but I’m enjoying this team
          this year much more then the Bosh era … at least there’s palpable effort each and every night … yes, an occasional stinker, but experience will fix that.

          BC also has cards to play this off-season … we’ve planted the seed, just let the damn plant grow will you?

          • slaw

            These wins are sound and fury signifying nothing.

            It isn’t the young players that are contributing to these wins, rather
            it’s Barbosa, Evans and Calderon leading the way. The only ‘young’ guys contributing consistently are Amir and Derozan. Ed Davis can’t even get on floor. Bayless is only out there until Jose can catch his breath. Johnson plays a lot right now but so did Sonny Weems and Jamario Moon once upon a time. Bargnani hasn’t improved at all in 2 years.

            I don’t begrudge them the win but it is coming on the backs of 3 guys who likely won’t be here next year, let alone in 2 or 3 years. I don’t see that as a sign of anything positive.

            • nottheendoftheworld

              OK, Slaw. You don’t see upside in Ed Davis. I do. You don’t think Bargs has improved. His numbers may show you differently. Johnson is Jamario Moon. You should be a scout.

              What was OKC’s record two years ago?

              • slaw

                I see a lot of upside in Ed Davis but I can’t understand why he is sitting on the bench while an aging, oft-injured vet is playing 30 mins. I don’t think Bayless is the Raps future PG but I’d like to see him out here for more than 10 mins.

                My point is that this team shouldn’t be playing Evans, Calderon and Barbosa to try and win games, rather, it should be playing the guys that will be here in 12 months and will be a part of the future. Winning games with these guys leading the charge is fool’s gold.

                I don’t know what is so hard to understand about that.

                • RapthoseLeafs

                  .
                  I’ll answer the Ed Davis dilemma. HE’S TIRED. Hit the wall. Call it what you want, but this is the longest (and most) he’s had to play in his life.

                  Putting Davis out there (for more minutes), puts a risk into play that has little upside, and lots of downside – a bad injury. He looks gassed out there these days. We know he has talent, but we also know he has to bulk up (ie. get stronger), in order to get to the next level. I’m perfectly okay with him getting 10 – 12 minutes from here on out.
                  .
                  As for Evans, Calderon and Barbosa – here are my thoughts.

                  Reggie is playing a fair amount of minutes, and good or bad (with playing time), he’s developing a leadership role with this club. That’s why I think he needs to stay. Besides many issues with this team (3 point shooting especially), the Raptors have not had a leader in quite some time. I consider it one of the biggest problems with this young team – not enough direction. Reggie can offer that, as well as a energy guy off the Bench, playing 15 – 20 minutes a game.
                  .
                  Calderon needs to play extensive minutes, because:
                  1) he’s rediscovering those abilities (of past), which are tantamount to either a trade, or continuing in a role that could become a mentor relationship – depending on the draft. I don’t see a Bayless & Raptor future – that’s just my personal opinion. The draft may change that, or it may reinforce my perspective.

                  2) the young guys on this team need to learn. And Bayless will not help as much – because he’s too much a SG first, and a PG second.
                  .
                  Barbosa is another energy guy, and one of the few talents on our Bench. But in the last 10 games, his playing time has been reduced. Amir’s is up, as is Davis – check the stats. Barbosa does offer some benefit, especially with 3 pt shooting. In the past 10 games it has climbed to .436, on 3.9 attempts per game. Not good for the tanking gang, but right for player’s state of mind. Playing hard helps demonstrate a positive attitude, especially after a season like this.
                  .

          • FLUXLAND

            MLSE + you = a winning combination.

            • Bendit

              I understand your “big picture” arguments…but dont you get just a wee bit of basketball joy watching that game and win? Probably the best complete game of the season on an opponent’s court who did not look at all as if they took the game lightly? Of course I would like to see the team perform the same way if the game mattered. No illusions there..but watching Durant getting shut down (for him) by JJ was good for me in a painful season.

              • FLUXLAND

                Absolutely.

                Yet, after the game, context is important I believe. And games like these should only raise more questions as opposed to be used for patting ourselves on the back.

                For example, this game has only allowed tonight game to be “irrelevant”. If they lose tonight, it will be OK because we just “beat” the Thunder, right?

                That’s so… I don’t even know what the right words are. It’s just so “participation is the only matters” and that’s just beyond lame, IMO. That’s why no one cares about the losing on this team, it’s all just “Oh well, we tried but what you gonna do, right? Try to get better and move to the next game. The 1st and 15th, baby!”

                • cesco

                  It is unlikely they could win two games in a row against top teams away from home . They could put up a good fight though and not play terrible . You know , there is a french proverb that says ” it is by smiting that one becomes a blacksmith” so they have to keep banging that hot iron and no one including Stern can prevent them from becoming excellent in their profession (as a team) , it is up to them to have the will to succeed .

            • nottheendoftheworld

              MLSE minus you = enjoyable post reading.

              • FLUXLAND

                Raptors-MLSE = chance at a TEAM.

                A real team.

                One where the fans can discuss it as such. Instead of me/all of us having to read countless of Raps where posters and fans are arguing over the merits and quality of the individual players, inspired by BC’s desire to collect diverse players and who on account of that diversity create small Player Armies in the Raptor fanbase.

                • Copywryter

                  Great posting throughout this piece, Flux. You’ll never win these arguments, but there are bunch of reasonable Raptor/NBA/basketball fans who agree with you.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Thank you Sir.

                  It’s not about winning arguments, it’s about carrying on a discussion and being open to a different POV.

                  Again, I appreciate it.

                • RapthoseLeafs

                  .
                  Raptors-MLSE = optimism.

                  Raptors+youth=mistakes+optimism
                  .
                  As for fans, this is a polarized group – you must have figured that out by now. :-0
                  .

                • FLUXLAND

                  Yup, I agree. Again though, its Chemical BC separating everyone by building teams that don’t jive well, not the players or fans.

                • Shee

                  Yeah great stuff guys. Flux I respect your points.. still think your approach is too negative, but its pretty interesting…

                • FLUXLAND

                  Thank you.

                  Yeah, I know. I come across like I’m foaming at the mouth sometimes… but its just years of frustration and the BS they keep pulling on the fans.

          • Copywryter

            OKC is the third-youngest team in the league, which pours a little cold water on that argument.

            You’re overrating this team, from DD to ED and even Amir, they don’t have nearly as much talent as you think, and the team has no depth. You may have a case of what I call the ‘Toronto Maple Leaf’ disease. It’s marked by hallucinations, megalomania, and memory loss.

            We haven’t been decimated by injuries. Losing Sonny, Kleiza and Reggie for long stretches is not ‘decimated’.

            I enjoy watching this team more than the Bosh era as well, but I watch a lot of NBA teams, and the Raptors have far more questions than answers.

            I’ll let a seed grow, but I won’t water a cactus that aspires to be an oak.

            • RapthoseLeafs

              .
              GAMES LOST

              Amir = only 4 games + X number of games playing hurt
              Bargnani = 8 games + ditto above
              Barbosa = 18 games + (see above)
              Kleiza = 30 games (our starting SF)
              Evans = 48 games.
              Bayless = missed a number of games, but I’m don’t have time to count them.

              Evans might not be a double double guy (as he almost did last night), but he is the Energizer Bunny, if we ever had one. To dismiss this, is to dismiss what we’ve seen on a number of occasions – lack of effort (from the team). A non-Reggie in the lineup team.

              As for Bayless, being out meant Barbosa played back-up PG. I can’t recall when Barbosa was out as well (in addition to Jarryd), but suffice to say, we’ve had a dramatic shortage of ball handlers this year. On a young team, that’s not okay.

              OKC has had no such problems. Westbrook (69 games) – 22.1 pts, 4.6 Rebounds, 8.4 assists plus 7.8 FT attempts (.840). We could only wish.

              On a team rebuilding (or whatever you want to call it), a guy like Kleiza is very important. Whether he was hurt and played through it (to little effect), does not make his presence any less valuable.

              As for the Bench, Toronto had a decent one in Bosh’s final year as a Raptor. This year though – not so much. In fact, our Bench has – on a number of occasions – become part of our Starters. And our 3rd Stringers became ……. ummm … never mind.

              Unlike Contender teams, Raptors don`t have the resilience to off-set injuries. Then again, with heavy injuries, even Contender status comes into doubt.
              .

    • KJ-B

      They were awfully good for one night and I hope the fans stand up and cheer–I WAS NOT EXPECTING THIS!

  • OTFP

    That double screen barbosa squeeze through for the 3 was a thing of goddamn beauty.

    • Nilanka15

      Even I will Bargnani props for that screen.

      • Nilanka15

        *… will GIVE Bargnani props…*

        • Phil

          No props needed..?

    • sleepz

      I thought Amir was going to get called for an offensive foul on that play as he didn’t look set on the screen and was intent on absolutely not letting anyone get past him and contest Barbosa.

      Big shot by Leandro.

      • Jonathan R.

        Yea, I saw that in the reply as well.

        I am pretty sure we deserved that no-call though.

        The amount of crazy crazy calls that raptors got in the fourth was disgusting.

        Funniest one: Kevin durant dribling the ball out of bounds just past half court. JJ was playing tight D but never even got close to knocking the ball away but of course the superstar status of durant gets the benefit of the doubt and surely a player of his calibre would never just lose control of the ball and dribble it out of bounds.

        -sigh-

        We were playing against the refs, OKC, and the amazing fanbase of OKC.

        No matter what way you look at it. Last night was awesome to watch whether it occured in the first 20 games of the season or the last 20 games of the season.

        That’s what being a fan is also suppose to be about, enjoying a well deserved win :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=632775895 Eugene Earnshaw

    I’m pretty sure we just saw Jay Triano win a coaching battle.

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      2 1/2 years after Sam (8-9) was fired too late- he still has to go & fuckin’ relax a bit- as he told Holly MacKenzie.

  • Milesboyer

    The Raptors had a legitimate center last night in Reggie Evans. When he’s a scoring threat as well as being an above average rebounder and a fierce competitor, the team is far more complete. Throw in a consistently aggressive game from James Johnson on both ends of the court and you have the makings of a balanced team when you round it out with Bargnani and DeRozan’s scoring, Calderon’s steady hand and a solid bench. Unfortunately, this is an aberration certainly for Evans and maybe for JJ (though Johnson may yet develop into a more consistent player). What was clear to me was that a frontcourt with Bargs and Amir/Ed D. will only work in limited minutes. This will have to be addressed next season – does Reggie come back? which means a crowded front court – do they trade one of Amir or Ed D. since they are very similar players? As long as Bargnani is on this team they have to pair him with a big rebounding center if they want any hope of winning. Oddly enough Perkins would have been a great candidate.

    • cesco

      Rumors are that Ed is unhappy in TO and the reason could be that they would want him to be the center of the future and he does not like it ( like Ru-Paul ) . He knows him or Amir could be trade bait for a defensive center a la Evans but 2 inches taller (scoring not required) .

      • voy

        you mean the rumours that the know-nothing posters here report? The same know-nothings who seem to know whats in the head of every raptor player all the time.

        Let me ask you a question. You draft a 6’9 210 pound pf in the first year of a multiyear rebuild. Why in the frick would you lock yourself in and ask him to be the “centre of the future?!?!?!?!??!?!” Does this make any sense???

        • cesco

          I like Davis but when I read about the rumour I tried to make some sense why he would be unhappy in TO . I agree that starting a rumour not based on facts is plain silly , especially if it is about a rookie .

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

        Where are the “Davis is unhappy” in Toronto rumours coming from?
        Here? http://ow.ly/4iCyu

        Visit every NBA city and get back to me on where you think Toronto ranks.

        • JezusP

          Very happy to see that. =)

        • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

          Some guy posted one comment on another thread saying Davis was unhappy, didn’t give any link, or anything, and then never posted again. Not surprisingly, a bunch of Raptor fans assumed it to be true and started trashing Davis. It is amazing that in this day and age, people will take an unsubstantiated rumour from someone they don’t know as fact.

        • Bendit

          LOL. Is that really true (I mean about the city?).

          Mel Lastman couldnt have said it better. Even though I am not one Vancouverites would dispute that.

    • sangaman

      Unlike many statophiles on this blog I have long recognized reggies importance to this team..The raps need to keep reggie and try to obtain younger (taller) bruiser just like him.

      • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

        Actually, I’m pretty sure the stats highlight Reggie’s importance to the team. They win more with him and play better when he’s on the floor. Was that just a random shot at “statophiles”?

        • Theswirsky

          yeah I don’t exactly get that. The ‘statophiles’ will likely say he is one of the “better” or “more” important players.

    • Nilanka15

      Not sure if I’d call Reggie anything close to a “legitimate centre”. Even if we decide to re-sign him, and ship either Davis or Amir, can we really rely on Evans’ health for a full 82 games? In the 2 seasons he’s been in Toronto, he’s played a total of 49 games after suffering from the same injury twice. It wouldn’t be smart to count on him to provide us with starters minutes going into next season and beyond. I like the toughness and attitude he brings, but he’s not our long-term answer. He’s a band-aid solution at best.

      • sangaman

        Davis will never provide the toughness the raps need. Keep the regster and he can mentor a younger fitter and taller version.

      • Milesboyer

        Re: Reggie, I agree – I called him a “legitimate center” last night. Most games he’s just an above average rebounder that happens to break his foot once a year and will be on the decline come the middle of his next contract. My point was that if they had a legitimate center next to Bargnani, it would go a long way, simply because Bargs is not and will never be a center but could be a very good PF.

        • Nilanka15

          Makes sense.

          But I happen to be of the opinion that there isn’t much difference between a centre and power foward from a defense and rebounding perspective. Even in a man-to-man defensive scheme, basic team positioning ends up looking like a 1-2-2, with one bigman on the right block, and the other bigman on the left block. Their defensive and rebounding responsibilities are exactly the same, depending on which side of the court they’re on.

          That’s why that I don’t believe “complimenting” Bargs with a legit rebounder is going to solve anything, because even as a power forward, Bargnani is required to rotate, defend and rebound…3 components he’s very poor at.

          • Milesboyer

            You’re right, actual positions with the two bigs doesn’t matter for semantics sake, what does is the need for someone who can handle other bigs, take up space, rebound and maybe block a few shots. Bargnani doesn’t have the instincts or the gumption to man the middle and I disagree that both PF and C have equal responsibilities – they can end up that way, if you have the personnel for it, like maybe Perkins and Ibaka but inevitably one takes on more of a role in the middle (or “center” position). I fully believe that Bargnani’s deficiencies can be (fairly) well hidden with the right big beside him. Neither Amir nor Ed Davis are big enough, they can generally hold there own to a certain extent but they don’t clog the paint like they need to. Bargnani’s negatives cancel out his positives unless you fill the gaps with someone who’s strengths are his weaknesses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=632775895 Eugene Earnshaw

    Bargnani and Perkins would be boss. I don’t know why you think Andrea and Amir doesn’t work, though — it mostly worked very well last night.

    Ed just has hit his rookie wall I think, and he’s still getting used to the NBA. He’ll put on weight over the summer and be a good complement to bargs.

    • Milesboyer

      Amir and Bargnani can work in stretches but as a permanent thing it’s highly flawed and this year’s record is the proof. Obviously there are alot of other issues with the team but this is a glaring issue especially and almost exclusively on the defensive end.

  • voy

    one other thing. I’ve been critical of triano all year long, for the most part, for drawing up shit plays, but last night’s 2 man side-by-side screen to give barbosa a clean look to hit the 3 was brilliant.

  • dribbles

    I don’t know if the Raps are better than their record, but I bet they would have won a few more games had Reggie not been out for so long. Apart from the rebounding, and in particular all the offensive rebounds, you can’t discount what that toughness and energy does for your team. The guy was clearly the heart and soul of the Raps when the season started and nobody replaced that. I like Ed and Amir, but Reggie totally changes the complexion of the team when he’s out there. I will say that my eyeballs almost fell out after seeing him convert so many looks inside. That left-handed layup in traffic?

    And what’s with all these BS rumours about Ed being unhappy in TO? Link or STFU (or go work for the Enquirer), seriously. The only link I’ve seen is a re-tweet of Drake saying TO is the best city in the world.

  • joaquim

    Arse,

    can you just run a quick survey. here are potential qs:
    on the last play of the game did you think…
    ab is getting the ball and we lose the game
    somebody is going to screw up royally and we lose the game
    raptors pull this one out of the hat and i’m playing the 6/49
    amir gets the ball down low, wins the game and triano is a genius

    Thanks

  • sleepz

    Liked the fact that Raptors didn’t get intimidated last night and fought when they could have folded.

    OKC looked questionable all night and paid for it in the end. A Thunder team that took the Raps lightly or a Raptor team that outplayed OKC and refused to wither and die? Regardless, a good win for the Raps.

    Only question is whats the plan here? Heard BC get on the radio 3 weeks ago claiming the plan was to continue to develop “the core” and protect draft positioning. If developing the young players is the plan as indicated why are Reggie and Leandro playing significant minutes while Ed and Bayless sit (although I don’t see Jerryd as a long term piece)? Triano is supposed to try and get wins so I understand why he plays the vets but this doesn’t seem in line with “The Plan” the architect has devised.

    The last time a coach didn’t agree with BC’s plan and played the rotations he thought were best to get wins, he was fired.

    I don’t understand this organization anymore and this regime has never had a course of action and stuck to it.

    • cesco

      Sam was fired because he was not getting the expected results . Had the team be winning BC would have gladly accepted that Andrea stay a back-up to JO/CB4 for a while longer . Do you think Sam is going to get another head coach job ? , it is extremely unlikely .

      • sleepz

        Really?

        What are the ‘expected results’ in your opinion? I base it on wins myself. What do you base it on?

        The Raps had been to the playoffs the 2 previous years before he was fired. They had won the division the first year and then I believe had the 6th seed the following year. They then fired Mitchell after an 8-9 start. Not a great record but not some cellar dweller either, especially considering the roster. I would have thought he would have received some more slack considering the results the 2 previous years.

        Triano took over and didn’t right the ship and quite frankly still hasn’t despite being around for quite some time without the ‘expected results’ as most fans would want.

        Mitchell was fired for not playing Bargnani, or better yet trying to find a suitable position for him to play while trying to make him accountable to the team on both ends of the floor when he was on the court.

        I am very curious what you consider ‘expected results’?

        • cesco

          The team had lost in the first round in the two previous years but with the addition of JO , BC expected the team to challenge for a top 4 position in the East . They did win the first 3 games of the season , none against a top team , then they lost to Boston (twice) , Orlando and I believe Atlanta . BC must have seen that the team was not responding to Smitch coaching and he got canned . Also BC must have noticed that Andrea development was being stalled but that was secondary to the poor performance of the team after the first 3 games .

          • sleepz

            With the addition of J.O? Do you also know that Ukic and Solomon were large parts of the rotation that year? They weren’t challenging for top 4 in the East that year and Triano showed that this definitely was the case after he took over.

            BC ‘saw’ what he wanted to see instead of what he should be seeing, like he has the entire time he has been Raptors GM. The team wasn’t responding to a coach that had the team at .500 but had less than .500 talent?

            Andrea development had indeed stalled but it had very little to do with Mitchell as we are now seeing to this very day.

            To play the game of basketball for the millions that these guys get paid a coach should not have to be the main motivator of a player. It has to come from within instead of a coach cattle prodding a player to fufill their potential imo. The great players are great because they put in the work and leave it on the court night after night. Coaches put them in the best position to succeed but they don’t need motivation from coaches to get them to perform at their best.

        • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

          Exactly Jay finished up at a 25-40 clip- worse than a projected 8-9 start over 82 games.

          BC turns roster over provides Jay with a true talent upgrade from Sam’s last team.

          Now Jay messed up that Rap’s playoff claiber roster last season by being unable to manage players or hold them accountable.

          BC turned roster over signing Kleiza as his flagship f/a.

          This season Jay is proving his worth as a Bush League coach as he leads the Rap’s (with another high turned over roster) straight to the Lottery in a projected weak draft year not to mention the possibility of a lockout.

          Using injuries & youth as an excuse for losing in year 5 of the BC era doesn’t cut with me, I don’t believe you- you need more people!

  • Jonathan R.

    Can anyone confirm this is true?
    I think this is terrible if BC did go on a radio show and say I am going to develop the core and “protect the draft” WHAT flipping draft? it’s already proven the draft is genuinely a pretty big joke.

    Go out there and see what all your players can do.

    I have always been the one to say give the minutes to the players who deserve it?

    Who deserve it?

    The players who play with 100% effort on defense and offense and play hard all game long.

    I think everything Triano did last night was great and it showed…

    We finally have a funcational rotation that works well..

    Ed is the rookie who will still have plenty of practice this off-season.

    We all know his potential already we aren’t going to get rid of him for nothing..

    • http://www.wearingfilm.com/picketfence/ Tim W.

      “We finally have a functional rotation that works well”??

      They’re 7-13 in their last 20 games. Yes, this is better than their current record, but it still would put them out of the playoffs in the East. I’m not sure how winning 3 or 4 more games this season helps them in any way, shape or form. Al it does is appease fans who have little patience.

    • slaw

      Why is it terrible? The team is 20-49. Does it really matter if they finish 25-57 or 22 and 60? Who cares? A few wins at the end of the year are immediately gratifying for the players but that feeling fades while the consequences of losing 3 or 4 draft positions might be felt for 5 or 6 years.

      This rotation taht works so great? Guess what? Calderon, Evans and Barbosa won’t be here in 2 years. Not one of them. How does it benefit the Raps long-term to have a rotation filled with guys that are place holders? Makes zero sense.

      The draft may not be great but that’s even more reason to want maximum flexibility in terms of choice. If you are 3 or 4, you will have a better pool of talent than at 7 or 8.

  • Leo

    Wasn’t that play that happened @ the OKC game happened where Mike Bibby got wide open for the 3 pointer as well? I remember they were similar :O

  • tonious35

    This Raptors win just shows that the Durant-Westbrook duo still needs to grow up. They fell knee-deep into this trap game, and a veteran team would not of done so an put the Raptors away. Give credit to our team though, they took advantage of a team sitting on the can.

    • Nilanka15

      Not sure if it was a sign of immaturity. The NBA season is an absolute marathon, and it’s difficult to continually stay focused for 6 months of regular season basketball.

      Even the greatest team of all time (the ’96 Bulls) lost 10 games…one of which was to the 16-66 Raptors.

  • http://twitter.com/Buddahfan Buddahfan

    When Evans was inserted did he grab Perkins family jewels like he did Kaman’s?

    • slaw

      Figuratively, yes…

  • http://twitter.com/Buddahfan Buddahfan

    Triano Cutting Davis’s minutes in an attempt to keep his job.

    There is a delicate balance that must be achieved by the Raptors for the rest of the season.

    They are playing out the string and looking for individual development, but coach Jay Triano — whose contract for next season is only good if the team picks up an option — has to be at least a little concerned with wins and losses to make a case for his continued employment.

    And that’s why he’s willing to sacrifice some development of young players each night to make sure his team has a chance to win.

    It might mean fewer minutes every now and then for someone like rookie big man Ed Davis, but so be it.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/teams/tor/report

    • Balls of Steel

      The only thing that saves Triano is his “paisan” in Colangelo. If BC goes, so does Triano and a handful of his other cronies. I would argue that Triano can orchestrate a 10-game winning streak and there’s still no guarantee that the team picks up his option.

      • cesco

        I thought Triano was a Canadian , does he even speak a word of Italian ?

      • Junior

        you can spot the bigots by comments like these. congrats.

        • Balls of Steel

          I guess what I’m loosely referring to doesn’t exist in real life huh? Bigot? More like a realist. As a member of the visible minority, I guess I’m just all too familiar with this concept.

          • IC

            didn’t know retards are considered a visible minority.

            • Balls of Steel

              I guess it’s ok to call someone a retard. The irony and hypocrisy in your statement is laughable.

              • IC

                I guess what I’m loosely referring to doesn’t exist in real life huh? Hypocrite? More like a realist.

        • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!

          Pump your brakes- there is nothing bigoted about what he said- get a grip on reality.

    • BCGheradiniJayGots2Go!!

      Jay is Bush League- point blank.

  • Jamesk

    A more complete 48 minutes have never been played by a Jay Triano coached team

    Really?…Really? Pretty large statement from a blogger, but the tone and knowledge shown in the statement are reminiscent of the renowned sun reporter ziccarelli. Kudos, u bitter jackass.

    • Nilanka15

      LOL, Jamesk = Jay Triano.