Raptors 93, Nuggets 120 – Box

Not much to say here, this is what the Raptors have done in their last three trips to Denver before last night: L 130-112, L 132-93, L 137-105. Last night they lost 120-93. I guess this thing was pretty accurate. I’m more inclined to give credit for keeping it under 130 points than criticize them for getting shellacked on the heels of a great night in OKC where every ounce of energy was spent. And this isn’t even counting that whole sea-level business. Let’s face it, prior to this trip the Cips were the only realistic source of a W, and when the Raptors pulled off the improbable in OKC, they were let off the hook in Denver.

Not going to get into player analysis here, it’s not worth it because the circumstance of the game never bode the Raptors well. The Nuggets have played extremely competitive ball since their big trade and were coming back from an Eastern swing with an eye on erasing the memory of their Florida-sweep (lost to Miami and Orlando by a combined 8 points), and the Raptors were the perfect bait. Some stats from the boxscore that you make you go whaaaa…

  • Raptors lost all four quarters, down by 13 after the first, 28 at halftime, 29 after three, and lost by 33.
  • Lost the rebounding battle 52-41, that’s a -11 overall and -5 on the offensive glass.
  • Got doubled up in points in the paint – 60-30. No interior defense, lots of run-outs.
  • Speaking of run-outs, they lost that 28-8. This after a night in OKC where they turned the tables on the Thunder at their speciality.
  • Lots ‘o turnovers, 21 to be exact.
  • 40% shooting, that’s the lowest mark since February 8th when they lost to Milwaukee – about a month and half ago.

The Raptors were in this game for half a quarter when the Nuggets had a 15-14 lead. Jose Calderon was having a nice defensive game up to that point and was effective running the show, much like he was against OKC in the first. After the Denver timeout at the 5:58 mark of the first, they went on a 9-2 run which created a separation the Raptors never came close to closing. Nene’s physicality and Ty Lawson’s up-tempo style were featured in this rout where the Raptors never showed any semblance of willpower or firepower to compete. When Alexis Ajinca logs 16 minutes of playing time and Julian Wright breaks a sweat (10 minutes), you know this one was over pretty quick.

When the Raptors are lethargic on offense you can just imagine how bad their defensive effort will be. The play which was indicative of how much the Raptors were mentally and physically out of this one came around 3:57 of the first quarter. Bargnani gets the ball up at the top and is trying to make a one-on-one move, no other Raptor moves throughout this process. Not to set a screen, not to cut, not to rebound, and barely to get back on defense. Denver saw that the Raptors were there to be had and upped the pressure and the energy to give themselves a nice night of rest.

In all this funky business, our man Leandro Barbosa managed to launch 11 shots in 17 minutes. That’s a shot every 93 seconds!

This post didn’t really go anywhere, I’ll see if I can find phdsteve to make up for it.

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