“Hey man, she told me she was 20.”
Raptors 106, Bulls 113 – Box

The Raptors proved to be tough nuts to crack against Chicago for the second straight game. The Raptors lucked out by missing two starters in Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon (Oh no he didn’t!), as it put the motivated duo of Ed Davis and Jerryd Bayless into the lineup. The sub-turned-starters were called into action on both ends of the floor and didn’t disappoint. Jerryd Bayless gave Derrick Rose something to think about in every quarter of the game, and dropped 26 to the MVP candidate’s 36, which were all needed for the Bulls to take this one. Ed Davis having broken a sweat even before tip-off chimed in with a tidy 17 points and 11 rebounds, and it was his frontcourt partner Amir Johnson’s interior defense that gave the Raptors the inspired start.

The Raptors defense was fantastic to start the game, the Bulls had to work very hard at the top of the circle to get their two-man games going, and whenever Taj Gibson or Carlos Boozer thought they had seams to the rim on the rolls, Davis and Johnson provided cover. Matching the Bulls for defense and sharing the ball on the other end had the Raptors up 6 midway through the first. Tom Thibodeau adjusted to DeRozan canning a couple jumpers by sticking the taller Luol Deng on him, immediately causing the Raptors guard problems. The Raptors offense suffered under increased Chicago defensive pressure, and turnovers ensued, catapulting the Bulls to a 14-2 run to end the first. The Raptors only shot 28% in the first, including missing their last six attempts. Usually that kind of incompetency against the #1 team in the East means the game’s already over, not so much last night as the defense the Raptors played in the first (held Bulls to 43%) kept them in the game down six.

I don’t quite know what the situation with Amir Johnson’s injury is, if you watch the game he’s as immobile as Maurizio after he undoes the belt and lumps himself on the couch. Offensively last night, he stood near the elbow area and drained the jumpers Chicago was more than happy to give him. The problem was his rebounding: only 5 in 34 minutes. I’m not going to slag him for that because of his injury, but it was one of reasons why Chicago dominated the offensive glass in key stretches of the game including the second quarter. Triano tried to bring in Evans to help with the boarding efforts and expectedly, the Bulls’ length was too much for the brute to overcome. After the game, Reggie appeared frustrated and when reporters questioned him about his bad game, he bit off the microphone, scurried into the corner and gnawed at it for half an hour. A word on Amir Johnson, I commend him for playing and showing spirit despite injury, but is it all a bit too heroic for a team headed for 60 losses. I sure hope he’s not aggravating something which is going to bite him next year. Props to Johnson though, this guy’s the Anti-Turkoglu – he loves fatigue like Liston loves differential calculus.

Leandro Barbosa supplied the punch (the scoring, not the juice) off the bench with 18 points, unfortunately he was the only Raptors reserve to score in the 35-18 Bulls bench win. Go look at the box score, there are more zeros in there than Colangelo’s next contract. The Raptors were down 10 at the break in a hotly contested game. The individual battles were simmering: Bayless vs. Rose, Rose vs. Deng, Gibson vs. Davis, Boozer vs. Johnson, even Asik vs. Evans wasn’t too bad to watch. The best one had to be between me and Mrs. Arse who can’t seem to understand that when you’re recording two shows on the PVR, you have to watch one of them. The Raptors won the third and fourth quarters, in the former Jerryd Bayless starred scoring 14 points, often frustrating Rose by doing things he wasn’t expecting, like scoring. Great players hate it when someone does to them what they do to others, and there were a couple drives and jumpers where Bayless scored at the tail end of the shot-clock under pressure, something Rose is used to doing.

Just as the first quarter had ended in a dry spell caused by an increase in Chicago’s fluctuating defense, so did the third. Missed jumpers from James Johnson (proving a far more capable offensive point-forward more than anything else) caused the Raptors grief and contributed to Chicago’s 9-1 run to end the frame. Derrick Rose had a part to play in almost every play in that run which turned a game tied at 74 to an 85-73 lead for the hosts. The officiating in that quarter was suspect, the referees were going by reputation and team records instead of what was happening on the court. Several Raptors drives were met with contact without the accompanying whistle, whereas on the other end the whistle even came before the mild contact, Jay Triano picking up a technical. Leo Rautins had something to say about that, I don’t recall what it was but it was idiotic, something like, “I don’t have a problem with the official not calling a foul a foul, as long as he doesn’t also call a foul a foul when it’s not a foul when there’s a non-call foul.” WTF man? Shut up already, go away, he’s like a bad neighbor who blasts shitty music on his porch and you can’t do anything about it because of some stupid zoning law.

Here’s a crazy stat: the Raptors shot 12-16 (75%) in the fourth quarter and managed to lose the game. Bench players who play extended minutes tend to show it in the fourth, and Bayless (38 minutes) and Davis (40 minutes), showed it. Rose was getting past Bayless with far less resistance than he had in the first, and Davis was getting out-positioned by Taj Gibson. Barbosa had 8 typical Barbosa points, and Amir Johnson was left open again to hit elbow jumpers, which kept the game close. When it came time to make a stop, the Raptors did except they couldn’t finish the possession with the rebound. Kyle Korver making them pay with a three, and then a last-second jumper off a broken play. The Bulls’ celebration after Korver’s jumper saw Brian Scalabrine try to high-five Derrick Rose, who didn’t recognize him and had him arrested for trespassing.

No complains about this game, it was a great one to watch if you like hard-nosed basketball, some good one-on-one battles and copious amounts of alcohol. The Bulls are proud owners of the league’s highest ranked defense, the Raptors shot 50.6% against that. On the season Chicago allows only 42.9% shooting, so the Raptors offense didn’t suffer without Bargnani and Calderon, arguably two of their better offensive players. Defensively, it wasn’t until the second half that the Bulls got their way on offense against a stretched Raptors rotation which even had Julian Wright playing minutes. The Raptors lie on the other end of the defensive spectrum, and with Amir Johnson not contributing due to injury, the task of stopping a Rose-powered revenge-seeking Bulls juggernaut was too difficult.

It’s a nice day out, might even shoot some hoops.

  • EhOkay

    The Bulls are 33-5 at home contrast to 23-15 on the road. The “oh we beat them with Andrea last time” excuse holds no merit until we beat them IN Chicago.

    • Theswirsky

      In previous game against Chicago (when the Raps won), Andrea had, what I think anyways, was his best game of the season. His stats were not stellar, but he tried hard on D, chased rebounds and tried to take the ball to the net. Was one of the Raps better(?) wins of the season.

      When Andrea is dedicated to defense, rebounding and trying to get to the net the results are good. Unfortunately that has happened about 3 times all year…. and maybe a dozen times over his career. That has always been the problem with Andrea and that is likely to always be the problem with him to.

      This team is just as good/bad with or without him…. the exception being when he actually tries, then they are better. But it happens so rarely over a the course of a season, its almost pointless talking about.

    • Nga

      break in a hotly contested game. The individual battles were simmering: Bayless vs. Rose, Rose vs. Deng, Gibson vs. Davis, Boozer vs. Johnson,

      u fail arsenalist since whenn was rose on deng

  • Multipaul

    Andrea plays, we win. Period.

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

      Why are you bringing up Bargnani? Must you bring him up in every comment?

    • Nilanka15

      Andrea plays, we lose 60 games. Period. Oh wait, this isn’t a prediction…

    • DG88

      If that’s the case we should won 65 games this year and be the number 1 seed on the playoffs…..oh wait don’t we have 20 wins this season. Your logic is flawed by your lust for Andrea Bargnani.

      • SuperJesusMan

        Lust for Bargnani… nice.


      Hey Multipaul, I got another good joke for ya. Ready?


      The New Raps Will Be A +0.500 Playoff Team

      Lots of haters recently drinking the ESPN Kool Aid and crucifying our team before the season starts.

      I would counter that and argue that this year we WILL be a +500 team, and we WILL make the playoffs.

      Here is the Eastern Conf teams list:

      New York
      New Jersey

      Who are we really afraid of here? I would say Boston, Miami, Orlando, and ATL. Milwaukee is pretty tough too, so we should split the season series with them.
      The Atlantic Div isn’t stacked, and I think we match up with most of the other teams very well.

      Playing vs the West is always a crap shoot, usually the teams we “should” beat, end up shellacking us.

      That being said, I think considering the makeup this new squad I think we can do +500 no problem. Come on, are we afraid of Amare and the Knicks? Detroit? No way.

      • mountio

        Maybe Im the only one .. but I cant follow what you are sayin here at all. Are you being saracastic or serious? A little of both?
        I might just be thick .. but had to throw it out there .. Im completely lost ..

        • FLUXLAND

          Multipaul posted that gem at the start of the year. I should have posted it with quotation marks – mea culpa.

          • mountio

            ahhh .. got it. Thanks

  • JJ

    Like A Good Neighbor Leo is out and Jack is here

  • hateslosing

    Great game by our guys, a moral victory if there ever was one. Ed continues to improve and is starting to show a more well rounded offensive game. Lovin Amir’s Big Z like jumper from the elbow, that is going to be an important shot for him for the rest of his career. Derozen and Bayless both finished some very difficult layups and DD is rally starting to look like he may be ready to take the next step and become a playmaker on offense and running two man games. JJ is looking more and more like a fantastic pick up by BC and I’m starting to rally believe that he is good enough to be our starting small forward going forward. His ability to perform like a point forward also gives more options at the point since it becomes less important to have a pass first guy. I’m starting to really like the idea of drafting Brandon knight or Walker because of this.
    We played against the best team in the league and we made a game of it even missing two of our starters so it’s really hard to complain.


      JJ is an UFC fighter that happens to play basketball and comes from a very athletic family.
      That is all. Just the kind of player Raps fans drool over, for no apparent reason other than potential and the kind of player every other teams has given up on. See: Bayless, J.

      • Toshmon

        yeah man, he needs to stop training for kickboxing in the offseason and work on his jumpshot….anybody have him on twitter?

      • hateslosing

        Well that UFC fighter is averaging 8.6 points,5.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.3 bocks per game in 26 minutes since he got here (NBA.com). Those are very solid stats that show a very good understanding of how to pay basketball. Just because the guy used to fight and is good at it doesn’t mean that he will ever decide to go back to it or that he can’t be a great B-baller. Jordan liked to play some base ball if I remember correctly so is he just a baseball guy who happened to play b-ball? Maybe Nash is a soccer player that, ironically enough, is a 2 time NBA MVP. Or how about that Lebron guy who was also one of the most highly recruited FOOTBALL players in high school and chose basketball for the money/stardom. The game is full of guys who started out in other sports, doesn’t mean they can’t be great at b-ball.

        • Toshmon

          Didnt say he can’t be great at basketball read my post again. actually, i was implying the opposite starting with more practice.(one of the knocks on him from Chicago coaches and

          JJ is the same paragraph as MJ? Nash?…really?

          btw, his jumpshot needs work JJ would be the first to admit that.

          (sorry if your post wasn’t directed at me, but i think these points still apply)

          • Bendit

            Nash did not have an easy go of it the first few years in the league. I dont think the poster was trying to compare bb abilities. JJ came from a rather deep team…he needs some regular play time and shot improvement before judgement day.

            • hateslosing

              Thanks Bendit, you encapsulated my thought perfectly.

              I’d like to add that I didn’t say anywhere his jumper doesn’t need work and that he doesn’t have a tonne of room to grow, but this is only his sophomore year(same as DD) so I don’t see why he can’t get there.

        • FLUXLAND

          “..chose basketball for the money/stardom.”

          I’m not arguing his athleticism, and basketball is not rocket science (although watching him bring up the ball his 1st couple of games made me wonder).
          I agree with you though, given that athletic ability, he (like LBJ) chose the sport because it provides the best “money/athletic life ratio”.

          Needless to say, a guy who’s been threatened with D league time doesn’t belong in the same paragraph with those players. There’s a reason he’s on the Raptors… and I’m guessing it has nothing to do with all the other teams missing something.

          Would love to seem him rebound the leather off the ball however, seeing it takes a UFC mentality in the NBA to fight in the trenches. Why should the Raptors have to be a jump shooting camp for players?

          • hateslosing

            Definitely not trying to compare him to those guys, I’m just saying that other sports back grounds are not a detriment to basketball. I’ve been happy with him so far and I think he has a bright future if he can continue to develop that three point shot, and like you said, rebound the hell out of the ball. He’s certainly got the size to do it.

  • Matt52

    Nice write up, Arse.

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

    “J. Johnson, Davis, A. Johnson, DD & Bayless have an average age of 22 years, 309 days. This is the 2nd youngest lineup in team history.” – E Smith
    All played over 22 minutes, all but JJ played over 33 minutes. To keep in tight against the league’s 2nd best team (by record) at HOME is impressive.

    Arsenalist is right, Amir’s rebounding has been poor as of late – perhaps due to injury. I’m in agreement, its time we shut him down to protect our investment (and our 4th best lottery odds). Keep playing Davis heavy minutes and throw Ajinca out there more.

    And the Ladies love differential calculus. Just sayin’.

    • Daniel

      Colangelo would approve this message. Raptors fans never learn. Young teams with 3 days of rest against a good team that just played the previous night are known for playing above their heads. They have something to prove and they play hard. It always taper off. This line-up will never win more than 20 games in NBA per season.
      Tom, you are better than that. One game doesn’t mean anything. Bayless, DeRozan, James Johnson are bad young players. Amir should be the 3rd big off the bench. Davis is intriguing however he needs to become stronger and to develop a shot. Weems, Ajinca, Wright are scrubs.

    • Theswirsky

      they should have shut Amir down right after the injury happened right until his ankle(s) were 100% (even if it meant the rest of the season). This has a Jose 08/09 season feel to it.

      • Raptor4Ever

        I agree or Alvin of the few years back. The guy is getting exposed on every single game and hurting his team.

        You want to be a Hero, fine, do it next year !!

  • Balls of Steel

    Time to shut down our trade baits (if you can call it that). The team running out of gas in the fourth is expected as they weren’t used to those kinds of minutes. This game should signify Bayless getting more burn as well as Ed (not because of their performances but because it gives them more time to develop til’ season’s end).

  • Milesboyer

    Games like that make me think Colangelo might be seeing what I’m seeing – that if you can get a good asset in return – you trade Bargnani. His laissez-faire attitude on D would be a welcome subtraction.

  • Guest

    Missed the game but enjoyed the write-up. Surprised that no mention was made of Noah’s absence. Bulls’ top defence not the same without him.

  • mountio

    Good effort and good loss. We dont need any more wins now .. but its nice to see positive signs. Not a huge Bayless fan .. but lets give him some run and see if he can figure out how to get something out of his talent and figure out how to “get his” while still keeping the team involved. Same with Ed .. more run please. Not sure why, after all the injuries, we cant get some Alabi? Shut down Amir for sure .. let Ed, Alabi, Reggie and AB (if healthy) see what they can do.

  • dribbles

    What possibly justifies playing Amir right now at this point in the season? He’s obviously playing hurt. Are wins really that important now? Throw Dorsey or Ajinca in there. Sometimes I can’t tell if Triano is trying to tank or not. Maybe he figures playing an injured Amir helps, but I doubt it. Anyway, that was one of those good losses.

  • sucka

    Trade the 7 foot lazy ass center/pf for the sake of the team’s future.

  • Maleko

    Watching the game the ball movement was fantastic to start even with Bayless. What hurt Higgins was JJ getting two quick fouls and having to go out. That hit in two ways: we lost a strong ball moving point fad which he is very good at, and Weems came in. Now I kind of like Weems, although I don’t know why lately. He hoarded the ball and chucked up some shots I was surprised even touched the rim a couple of times. The ball movement got worse when Barbosa came in. The team became a lot of isolation one and onde plays that seriously turned the tide of this game.
    Amir is definitely hurt, and needs to be preserved. Reggie Evans actually lost us a couple of rebounds when he knocked Davis off the ball. James Johnson played well overall, but tried to force his game a number ofttimes. His overall stat line was good and some stellar play was great at both ends but the fouls hurt with a short bench. Liked watching Davis, Bayless, Johnson, DD out there.

  • Nilanka15

    We’re only 1 game behind Washington in the inverted standings! Happy days are soon to come!

  • 511

    With Amir about as hobbled as a player can be and still somehow get himself on the floor — ya, not so smart but the size of the guy’s heart is kind of amazing — and how the team was also shorthanded without numbers 7 and 8 available, it was quite something to see how they hung with the Bulls, yet again, on a night when there was little question that the Bulls wanted it.

    So, it pains me to ask but, how many games has it been now when we’ve seen that the team has looked faster/better/stronger without our ‘best player’? And … is there any denying it, how good they’ve looked without Bargs for most of the games he hasn’t been there? Not as far as I’m concerned.

    The question I wrestle with — and wonder if Colangelo does as well — would we be better off to cut Bargs loose altogether in a trade, getting the most we possibly could (I bet we’d do well … or should/could) … or would the luxury of keeping him as a sixth man be better for the team in the long run?

    Cuz … we’ve got some serious young talent here that seems to show better somehow, when it’s left up to them, alone. And ya know … enough’s enough.

    • mountio

      Youve hit the nail on the head in your ending question. Yes .. we do look great for stretches without AB. Good defensive energy, running the floor, even good ball movement on offense. The problem is, we also run into many 10-0 stretches where we could use his (or someone else’s) offense. Same thing happened last night at the end of the first .. bulls overplayed DD and we couldnt buy a bucket with the rest of the team. Similar thing happens when teams go zone.
      I dont have a perfect answer. I agree AB has looked like shit at times this year (more than I expected coming in). BUT – he is still our best offense player (by a margin) and he has a lot to add (notwithstanding his shortcomings).
      My own view, is keep him (whether as sixth man .. start him and have a quick hook if his shot isnt falling / he isnt bringing energy .. Im not really fussed either way) .. hes gonna give this team more than we will get back in a trade. On the other hand .. if a team places a great value on him because they already have a defensive stopper (the way Hedo is more valuable to ORL than anyone else because DH hides his complete lack of D) .. then Im all over a trade where we get full value. What i think is a terrible decision would be to trade him for a marginally talented 10 and 8 guy, who we could find many other ways ..

  • Rpsfan95

    Amir’s contract got bashed big time by Bill Simmons and a lot of media, either he or the organization is trying to prove a point that he was worth it

    anyone else notice a lot less promoting Bargs in the TSN and Sportsnet promos ? maybe a good sign

  • Mad Max

    The team was much more enjoyable to watch without bargs and Jose. Don’t get me wrong, both are great offensive talents, but can’t or won’t defend.

    • Daniel

      Our DRtg yesterday was 127.9. In the last game with the Bulls we had a DRtg of 117.1. It is your right to consider the team more enjoyable to watch without Jose and Andrea. It is not right though to ignore the facts in regards to the team’s defence without the two playing the same team, without Noah to boot.

      • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

        Instead of using an inaccurate stat like DRtg, to assess the performance of the Raptors in their last 2 games against the Bulls, instead, how about you something like this:

        Game 1, Feb 23, 2011
        Chi – Pts/113; Poss/116 [i.e. based on FGA/87, TO/13, FFTA/16]; Pts/Poss = 0.974
        TOR – Pts/118; Poss/104 [i.e. based on FGA/74, TO/15, FFTA/15]; Pts/Poss = 1.135

        Game 2, Apr 02, 2011
        Chi – Pts/113; Poss/107 [i.e. based on FGA/85, TO/10, FFTA/12]; Pts/Poss = 1.056
        TOR – Pts/106; Poss/100 [i.e. based on FGA/81, TO/8, FFTA/11]; Pts/Poss = 1.135

        From these numbers what you should then be able to see is that Toronto’s:

        1. Offensive Pts/Poss decreased by 0.075, from Game 1 to Game 2
        2. Defensive Pts/Poss decreased by 0.082, from Game 1 to Game 2

        Draw whatever conclusions you would like, from data that is at least accurate.

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

          Unless I’m greatly decieved, Drtg is just defensive points per possession x100. So it’s the same thing as what you said was ‘accurate’, except you didn’t calculate it right.

          • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

            Trust, instead, that my calculations are indeed accurate … and, that DRtg does not use the correct methodology for determining how many “possessions” a team actually accumulates in a basketball game.

  • AnthonyF

    113 points allowed with AB and Calderon out…. Shouldn’t we have been lock down on D without those defensive albotrosses? BTW Noah was out for Chicago and they were on a back to back….

    Wednesday I was at a Raptor season ticket meet and greet and talked 5-7 minutes with BC and listened to hime talk with others. Highlights….

    1.He said the NY Post (?) blog about D’antoni and AB was made up and he called/emailed the writer. He then reiterated as to how many 22ppg scorers there are in the league who garner as much defensive attention as AB… And yes everyone asks about him in trade calls.

    2. He was offered nothing approaching the Anthony deal with New York for Bosh.

    3. I asked him if he had watched the Fab 5 program on ESPN and heard Jalen Rose’s comments on VC and what happened in Toronto. This was on Bill Simmons’ podcast and top paraphrase he blaimed the media and Toronto turning on VC and most importantly he pointed the finger at Sam Mitchell screwing the situation. BC was surprised.

    Have to commend BC for having to listen to people give their 2 cents on draft picks and trade scenarios. He did however mishear my son’s question about getting Derrick Williams in the draft, thinking my 14 yo, was asking about getting Deron Williams.

    • TheGuest

      Some very nice information, thanks for this. Did BC provide any further info on the draft?

  • Bendit

    Strange reporting by D Smith in the Star…”Jose Calderon was injured and Andrea Bargnani was not available”. “Not available”…what is that? Dentist appointment?

    • HG

      He was “ill.” lol

  • Raptor4Ever

    This team has no chance of winning when AB is not in the line up. We have 20 wins this season and I willing to bet less than 5 of them are wins without AB.

    Does anyone has this stat ?

    • http://khandorssportsblog.com/wordpress khandor

      Raw W-L Records look like this:

      1-9/.100 without Bargnani
      19-46/.292 with Bargnani

    • RapsM

      Cause with Bargnani, we’re one of the best teams in the league. It doesn’t matter cause we suck with or without him.

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

    Unless I’m greatly decieved, Drtg is just defensive points per possession x100. So it’s the same thing as what you said was ‘accurate’, except you didn’t calculate it right.

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


  • Pesterm1

    maybe andrea should be a 6th man? might be a really good for him and he could really tear apart other teams benchs and his D wont effect the team