Toronto Sun

Head coach Dwane Casey even said post-game that he feels like a broken record.

“I thought our guys competed and played hard. We are missing a few of our key players, but our other guys came in and did a good job,” he said, sounding an awful lot like he did on Saturday night.

“Our zone was effective and we did a good job at reading and recognizing and forcing them into jump shots.”

The problem was, the Hawks — particularly Joe Johnson and Josh Smith — are good, and hit the bulk of their shots (a combined 22-39).

“They made their tough shots and we missed ours,” Casey said.

Smith, a potential all-star, was unguardable in a 28-point, 15-rebound effort. Perennial all-star Johnson added 27 points, six assists and five rebounds along with some good defence on DeMar DeRozan, who shot just 5-for-17.

“We go through droughts where we miss shots,” Casey said. “We have to recognize how to handle those situations.”

Leandro Barbosa led the Raptors with 22 off of the bench, Jose Calderon added 13 points and 11 assists for the slumping Raptors, losers of seven of the eight games played over the past 11 days.

Toronto Star

The first came as DeRozan found himself with the ball and almost a clear path to the basket in transition. But instead of going hard to the rim, knowing that a pursuing Hawk was likely to catch him and hit him, DeRozan made a passive move, had the ball stripped, saw it bounce off his foot out of bounds and an easy basket was lost.

The second came late in the game, with the Raptors desperately trying to pull off a miracle. With the ball at the top of three-point circle, the athletically gifted young man launched arguably the worst three-pointer of his life. It missed the rim and almost the backboard, finishing low and left — definitely not one for the highlight reels.

Those are moments that can’t happen if DeRozan is to realize his potential and if the Raptors are going to snap out of the five-game losing streak they find themselves in heading to Boston for a Wednesday finale to this three-game road trip.

“I knew going into this year with him being one of our top players that teams were going to hone in and lock in and it wasn’t going to be easy,” coach Dwane Casey said after DeRozan went 5-for-17 from the field and finished with just 10 points. “He’s got to make more of an (effort) to get open. Don’t give in to a guy (getting) into him. Leandro (Barbosa), they do him the same way but he works until he gets open and that’s something DeMar is going to have to learn to do, and he will.”

National Post

Atlanta never completely controlled the game’s tempo as Leandro Barbosa stepped off the bench for Toronto, with his team-high 22 points, and became the head of the hammer, trying to answer every shot from Smith and Johnson. Jose Caledron, who contributed 13 points and 11 assists, passed the ball on a string.

But it was silly mistakes in the fourth quarter, when the Raptors shot just six of 24, that made the Hawks lead too difficult to overcome. As the Raptors tried to rally inside the final three minutes, Toronto bodies crammed underneath Atlanta’s rim, but the team could not capitalize on seven offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter.

DeMar DeRozan, again, embodied Toronto’s frustrations as he went five for 17 overall for 10 points and just two rebounds.

Playing their sixth game in a week, the 66-game season was beginning to extract its requisite amount of flesh from the Raptors, with Jerryd Bayless, Andrea Bargnani and James Johnson all unable to help the Raptors end a four-game losing streak.

“We just have to get used to this,” Calderon said. “We have to keep fighting. Everybody believes in what we’re doing, we just have to do it for 48 minutes. We’re competing. We’re not losing by 20 or 30 points.”

Canada.com

Fourth quarter drought:

Toronto went into the fourth quarter down only two points. The team managed to put up only 13 points, on 6-of-24 from the floor. Everyone struggled including leading scorer Leandro Barbosa, who shot 1-of-6 in the final quarter.

DeRozan went 2-of-5 in the fourth quarter.

Free-throws:

Toronto’s free throw struggles continued against the Hawks. They had22 trips to the free throw line but hit only 68.2 percent. This was an improvement from the Bulls game, where the Raptors went 1-of-7 from the free-throw line.

During the fourth quarter they only had one attempt, which they obviously missed. Free throws are supposed to be free points!

Zan Tabak Herald

It was a strange game for the Raptors on Monday afternoon.  It was close on the scoreboard and yet never really felt all that close.  The Atlanta Hawks took it to the Raptors early and were able to hang on down the stretch despite the fact that the undermanned Raptors hung around all four quarters.

The Raptors were really missing Andrea Bargnani who was out once again with a strained calf.  The offense was stagnant without him.  Demar Derozan could not get anything going and became a jump shooter that failed to get to the line once.

Still the effort was there.

This may be a phrase that Raptor fans are tired of hearing already.  It seems they are always on the short end of the stick despite the fight.  The truth of the matter is that they lack their number one guy right now and don’t have anyone who seems ready to step up.

Dino Nation Blog

You can certainly understand why the Raptors are struggling with injuries mounting combined with the schedule that has been challenging. But, if you are not starting to have some deep concerns about this young core that Raptors have claimed they are building, then you must not be paying attention. Is it a product of the new system? Is it a product of having to play harder with a focus on the defensive end of the floor? Is it the fact the Raptors were handcuffed by the lockout and had no control of there young players for the entire lockout? It could be all of the above. But for the Raptors ultimate game plan to work they need a lot more from their young core. That begins with Demar DeRozan and Ed Davis.

The Score

My early excitement about DeMar DeRozan’s three-point range his been overshadowed by his regression in every other area of his game. As much as I’ve criticized Bargnani over the years, I never doubted that he had the potential to be a great player if he got his head right. I don’t doubt DeRozan’s work ethic and I’m well aware of his proclivity for sweet dunks, but what happened to that aggressive driver with impressive body control around the rim we saw in stretches last season? Over the past two games, he’s played 73 minutes and taken exactly zero free throws. If DeRozan doesn’t remember how to drive, he might have his NBA license revoked.

  • Theswirsky

    I found the poll (“How you feeling now about your Raptors?”) to be an interesting question. 
    While the Raps record is about what I expected, how they’ve come to that point is not.  I thought a combined lack of effort along with lack of talent would lead to a bottom 5 record.  Instead its just a straight lack of talent leading to it.

    Both a compliment and insult to this team I guess.

    • Nilanka15

      I see where you’re going with this, and I somewhat agree.  Prior to the season, I knew we’d be utter shyte, but I was optimistic about our young pieces, and hopeful they’d improve to the point of being solid rotation players moving forward.

      But through 14 games so far, none of DeRozan, Davis, J.Johnson, or Bayless look like keepers, which makes our list of “holes to fill” that much longer. 

      Outside of Bargnani, Amir and Calderon, nobody on this team even looks NBA-ready, let alone contributors on a championship squad one day (and most can agree, Calderon will not be our starting PG when we finally turn things around).  I hope things change for our young players, but at this rate, the future of this team does not look bright at all.

      • SR

        I wouldn’t be so anxious. The young guys are being asked to do too much – flat out. The only difference between now and the start of the season is that we now know DD and Ed are not ready for prime time. That’s not such a big shock, is it? They’re still young. Fan disappointment has more to do with fallen expectations (ex completely arbitrary timelines for player development) than what’s happening on the floor. I think Casey is a great coach who is teaching these kids how to play the right way. They will develop, and more talent will come via draft, trades, and FA.

        • what the

          +1

      • Theswirsky

        You know I’ve always figured this team was many more years removed from being a contender than some have thought.  Probably 5 years or so.  Now I’m not sure if Casey has improved those chances with how he has approached and changed this team, or exposed how far away they really are!  

        • Statement

          Realistically,

          Chicago and Miami have the Eastern Conference locked down for like 5 years or so, so we won’t be able to do anything until afterwards anyways.

        • Ralph

          He’s done well for what he has to work with, the defense has improved. 

          And remember, as one of the article blurbs above states, there’s been a compressed training camp, and teams (coaching staff) were not allowed to have contact with the players, a new coach and new system as well. They had to learn so much, so fast. 

      • Valit

        I really agree with you most of times and I think your posts are very pertinent. However, if we consider a cycle to be 3-5 years, there is no way this team will be a championship contender. What we should look at is to be more realistic and hope for a consistent 1-2 rounds of playoff ( hopefully this will come in 1-2 years). and again and again…until we find some bona fide proven NBA players let’s not trade our only chips for more prospects; we can not build continously…just my thought.

        • Nilanka15

          I’m not willing to pull the trigger yet.  But I was hoping for more improvement than what I’ve seen so far.

      • p00ka

        With all due respect, please clarify just where you are. Unless someone else is using your name, you sure seem to have flip-flopped within minutes. Your commentary in the previous blog entry, mere 15 or so  minutes prior to this one, stated:

        “Bare with the ugly basketball for now, let the coaches figure out which
        players are worth keeping (using a full 66 games), and watch Colangelo
        transform this team into something we can [finally] be proud of this
        summer.  During his last attempt, Colangelo turned a 27-win team into a
        47-win team.  Only this time he’s armed with two top-10 draft picks, and
        potentially more cap space (depending on the fate of Calderon).  Things
        will turned around….it’s all but guaranteed.  And no, this opinion
        isn’t a result of drinking kool-aid.”

        What happened to the “using 66 games” and the “Things
        will turned around….it’s all but guaranteed.” in such a short period of time?

        • Nilanka15

          On the one hand, I acknowledge the need to be patient.  On the other hand, I haven’t been impressed with what I’ve seen so far with the young players.

        • Nilanka15

          One post speaks of the full season, while this post speaks of the first 14 games.

          • p00ka

            I don’t want to belabor it, but dude, this response is like saying a stat (a number) tells the whole story.

            I’m trying to not pick the two posts apart in detail, to prove my point, but one says it’s all unfolding as planned, be patient for the full 66 games, a better future is guaranteed. The second, minutes later, though it expresses valid judgement of surface progress to date (14 games) of several players, demonstrates a lack of patience of the progress in concluding “at this rate, the future of this team does not look bright at all.” (diametrically opposed to the first sentiment)

            The first post is what one might write as a counter argument to the second. Truly. Sorry if my pointing this out is embarrassing, but sometimes we have to admit that we’re torn with our thoughts. What I found shocking is that this tear happened so quickly and was wondering why?

            Anyhow, I’ll go back to concern about my own split personality (;-(, and wish ya a g’day.
            Cheers, GO RAPS!

            • Nilanka15

              lol, I fully admit that the rational thinker in me says “be patient”.  But at the same time, I can’t help but critique the poor play I’ve seen from certain players, who I expected more from coming into this season.  And if that poor play continues (big “if”), then the future doesn’t look as bright as it once did 2 months ago.  I guess you can call that split personality.

              • p00ka

                haha, being rational doesn’t always go along with being a fan of a pro sports team. The most highly intellectual person I ever had (passed away way too young) the privilege of calling a close friend had zero interest in pro sports, and I understood his reasoning. Him and his circle helped me grow and expand my mind, but we all have our limitations, and triggers I might add. hahaha

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      BC sure has fucked up Raptors basketball leaving fans waiting for a half hearted big man in no hurry to come back from an alleged strained calf amongst the current losing & it’s only going to get worse for the month of January.
       
      At least for all the pro tank fool fans they can get their desired Lottery Balls- I thought this was the NBA though not Casino bingo, the same Lottery balls that saw the Raptors fall from 3rd to 5th in the last Lottery Draw with said rookie drafted not even on the team this season after all the BullChit from last season that the fan base put up with.smdh
       
      Everytime I see Calderon & Butler starting while Ed’s not getting 30 mintues plus every game sans Bargnani I know the building for the future with the youngsters is BullChit.
       
      Player development has seemingly stagnated since the great NBA legend & Basketball Hall of Famer Alex English was not retained by Casey and/or BC.
       
      Bargnani lasted all of 10 games playing with 2 way effort (needed in order to justify his move to PF to the fan base- slight of hand) before going down in game #11 with the same calf injury he suffered near the end of last season even though he should be in solid basketball shape since he was playing competitive basketball in Europe during the NBA lockout & working out in the TDot as well.
       
      The one thing I noticed about AB over 5 years is that he’s a quitter, whom quit on the Raptors last season, when the going gets rough he gets going ala Post London 2011- flu shot anyone?
       
      On to Boston……

      • Ryan

        I get the starting Butler point – but Calderon? Who else are they going to start? Crippled Bayless? Carter?

        • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

          If BC had an actual 3rd roster pg instead of the ancient AC (who said in an interview that he is here to mentor Bayless & the 30 year old Calderon lmfao) we might get to find out but after JB it’s AC at the point (now it’s GForbes as back up pg).

          But everytime someone challenges JC’s starting position they get shipped out faster than you can say Jarrett Jack because JC can’t take internal competition especially if he loses his starting spot & his game sulks.

          Bayless is currently hurt but when he comes back he should start as this season is all but a wash might as well give the youngsters real time game experience for next season in order to truely evaluate said talent level under NBA game conditions.

      • Gorinzio

        bargnani has not played during lockout.  He just worked out by himself and got some rest… I don’t agree with the fact bargs is a quitter. I followed him cause i’m from italy and he’s the only player in raptors team that actually has won something with his hands. what some of you don’t realize is that the raptors is a team which lacks a decent 2 and i dare say a 3… derozan is just overrated probably would be a bad player even in the nba development league… i won’t even mention their lack of decent bench player. The only thing this team can do in order of winning some games is play his ass off every night, i just don’t think everybody is doing it.

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      BC’s Raptors basketball vision in action….

  • Raps

    casey is going to start holding demar accountable. He better start playing with a fire unless he wants to be benched.

    • what the

      from casey “I don”t give a PucK if demar takes 15 shots and misses them all as long as he is were he’s suppose to be on the floor” defence first… Demar need to do the ” 2 baskets per quarter a couple of times to the line” and the rest of the time defence  DEMAR 2 BASKETS PER QUATER AND 2 TIMES TO THE LINE = 20 points     

  • Jeffrey Thompson

    I think Toronto could have taken that one away.  I just think that it all boils down to confidence.  Right now the Raptors do not have that confidence that gives them the focus to produce in the clutch, especially against elite teams such as the Hawks.  The effort is there, it’s just this wall that’s blocking Toronto from taking that grand step forward.  I’m certain that with time, the Raptors will pass this wall and thus surprise everyone in the league.

    They have already faced their demons for the first time,and know they have done that, they will have the confidence along with knowledge received from their loses to come back and exact revenge on those teams.  The season is not over yet and the raptors do have a shot at making the playoffs.  I’m still holding my assertion to that. 

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    BC sure has fucked up Raptors basketball leaving fans waiting for a half hearted big man in no hurry to come back from an alleged strained calf amongst the current losing & it’s only going to get worse for the month of January.

    At least for all the pro tank fool fans they can get their desired Lottery Balls- I thought this was the NBA though not Casino bingo, the same Lottery balls that saw the Raptors fall from 3rd to 5th in the last Lottery Draw with said rookie drafted not even on the team this season after all the BullChit from last season that the fan base put up with.smdh

    Everytime I see Calderon & Butler starting while Ed’s not getting 30 mintues plus every game sans Bargnani I know the building for the future with the youngsters is BullChit.

    Player development has seemingly stagnated since the great NBA legend & Basketball Hall of Famer Alex English was not retained by Casey and/or BC.

    Bargnani lasted all of 10 games playing with 2 way effort (needed in order to justify his move to PF to the fan base- slight of hand) before going down in game #11 with the same calf injury he suffered near the end of last season even though he should be in solid basketball shape since he was playing competitive basketball in Europe during the NBA lockout & working out in the TDot as well.

    The one thing I noticed about AB over 5 years is that he’s a quitter, whom quit on the Raptors last season, when the going gets rough he gets going ala Post London 2011- flu shot anyone?

    On to Boston……

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    BC sure has fucked up Raptors basketball leaving fans waiting for a half hearted big man in no hurry to come back from an alleged strained calf amongst the current losing & it’s only going to get worse for the month of January.
     
    At least for all the pro tank fool fans they can get their desired Lottery Balls- I thought this was the NBA though not Casino bingo, the same Lottery balls that saw the Raptors fall from 3rd to 5th in the last Lottery Draw with said rookie drafted not even on the team this season after all the BullChit from last season that the fan base put up with.smdh
     
    Everytime I see Calderon & Butler starting while Ed’s not getting 30 mintues plus every game sans Bargnani I know the building for the future with the youngsters is BullChit.
     
    Player development has seemingly stagnated since the great NBA legend & Basketball Hall of Famer Alex English was not retained by Casey and/or BC.
     
    Bargnani lasted all of 10 games playing with 2 way effort (needed in order to justify his move to PF to the fan base- slight of hand) before going down in game #11 with the same calf injury he suffered near the end of last season even though he should be in solid basketball shape since he was playing competitive basketball in Europe during the NBA lockout & working out in the TDot as well.
     
    The one thing I noticed about AB over 5 years is that he’s a quitter, whom quit on the Raptors last season, when the going gets rough he gets going ala Post London 2011- flu shot anyone?
     
    On to Boston……

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    BC sure has fucked up Raptors basketball leaving fans waiting for a half hearted big man in no hurry to come back from an alleged strained calf amongst the current losing & it’s only going to get worse for the month of January.
     
    At least for all the pro tank fool fans they can get their desired Lottery Balls- I thought this was the NBA though not Casino bingo, the same Lottery balls that saw the Raptors fall from 3rd to 5th in the last Lottery Draw with said rookie drafted not even on the team this season after all the BullChit from last season that the fan base put up with.smdh
     
    Everytime I see Calderon & Butler starting while Ed’s not getting 30 mintues plus every game sans Bargnani I know the building for the future with the youngsters is BullChit.
     
    Player development has seemingly stagnated since the great NBA legend & Basketball Hall of Famer Alex English was not retained by Casey and/or BC.
     
    Bargnani lasted all of 10 games playing with 2 way effort (needed in order to justify his move to PF to the fan base- slight of hand) before going down in game #11 with the same calf injury he suffered near the end of last season even though he should be in solid basketball shape since he was playing competitive basketball in Europe during the NBA lockout & working out in the TDot as well.
     
    The one thing I noticed about AB over 5 years is that he’s a quitter, whom quit on the Raptors last season, when the going gets rough he gets going ala Post London 2011- flu shot anyone?
     
    On to Boston……

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Sorry for the triple post but my posts weren’t going through at 1st.

    Could a RR Mod please delete 2 of the 3 duplicate posts- thank you.

    • p00ka

      I hope they leave all up, so some may finally realize how sick you are in your determination to incessantly post the same pathetic baiting every day on here. If there were real moderators on here, you’d have your azz tossed, as it would be if you showed up on the forums with this trolling. Now go change your name to one of your list of usual ones, and continue getting your jollies, or maybe you’re incapable of getting off and this is the closest substitute you can think of.

      • what the

        pook wants others thrown out of his sandbox time out poohhh! calling for the teacher are we? sad 

        • p00ka

          no, not calling for a teacher tag#6. Just calling a cancer for what it is and stating what would happen if the doctors he/you ask for were actually around. What’s sad is you appearing on here as different names supporting your other ones.

  • FAQ

    Most of the new Rap players have little to no upside left to their talent.  They have peaked and are unable to improve because they are physically and mentally handicapped.

    This is a low IQ team who cannot play a higher level offense and defense in the same game. 

    They are one-track players, and often find themselves on wrong side of the track  too.

    • SR

      Most of the Raptors Republic’s readers have little to no upside left to their talent.  They have peaked and are unable to improve because they are physically and mentally handicapped.

      This is a low IQ group who cannot play a higher level offense and defense in the same game. 

      They are one-track cynics, and often find themselves on wrong side of the track  too.

      • p00ka

        Believe it or not, it’s my observation (I know, too much time on my hands, and what the hell am I doing analyzing this crap) many of “them” are actually the same person trolling here under multiple names. I’ve identified at least 5 names that I’m certain of, but have a strong feeling that he uses 10 or more.

        Based on some of his posts that resemble some semblance of intelligence, and the effort he goes to in varying his posts just enough to be hard to notice, he isn’t stupid, but is one sick bugger whose sole purpose is to suck people in to taking him serious in the stupidity, and sometimes laugh at them. It’s pathetic, and paints a very poor picture of these boards, but it doesn’t seem the mods or admins give a damn.

        • FAQ

          Somebody here has to be sane to be realistic about the Ratpors .. the worst team in the franchise’s history.

          What you tribal honkers can’t accept is that the Ratpors are out of playoff contention for the foreseeable future… 10+ years …. and it’s because the US homies don’t want to play for an “international” team… they want to play on a homie club where the culture is hip-hop-right.

          Besides living in Toronto during the season is like living in a prison, unless yo impo’t yo’ wimmen fom da states.  Bangin’ jamey wimmen is risky…..!

  • what the

    The raptors scrubs lost by three pos. almost had 6 guys in double digits in scoring missing three players kept the game close balance scoring just like we did in Cleveland  {{{{{{{{DEMAR 2 BASKET PER 1/4 — 2 TIMES TO THE LINE FOR 2}}}}}} = 20 Points

  • Rpsfan95

    word, after 96 games of the same core, I am starting to get indifferent as to who gets traded, and just want to see a different mix of players out there

  • Sheptor

    I’m sure if you guys check older posts of mine on here ( there isn’t too many) I used to say to all the DD and Ed Davis Fan Boys ( myself kinda being a Bargs fanboy but more so just a patient believer) is that DD’s ceiling is Josh Howard when he was good on the Mavs, not Joe Johnson or any other that most of you thought he would be. ED Davis is Nazr Mohammed grab some boards block some but the the kid has no offense and never will. Bosh was light years ahead of this kid. These are GOOD pieces to the puzzle but not the answer. I’d keep them both but we can’t expect either of them to be much more than what we’re seeing. They will of course improve but not that much.

    We also have to realize that the Hawks game, Kings game, and possibly even the Bulls game (can’t see noah handling Bargnani, just look at Euros against France) could have been wins with Bargs healthy. No need to panic this is a rough month schedule wise. I still want to see this team make a playoff run because its why I watch sports. A tanking mentality is bad for these youngs guys and won’t make them want to stay here. It’s especially bad for Bargnani. He’s finally turning the corner and can reach even higher heights if he can help bring this team to the playoffs as the ONLY star. He needs that confidence and a winning foundation is also what this team needs when Jonas “the pick” and our free agent signing arrive next year. Keep faith Raptors faithful.

    • Theswirsky

      The Raps could have beaten three of the best teams in the league if Bargnani was there and healthy?

      Exactly why aren’t we considering this team for a deep playoff run then?

      • CaseyDaMan

        You think the Kings are one of the best teams in the league? Really? The Hawks are certainly a playoff team, but one of the best? At what ranking do you draw the line at “one of the best”?

        He was talking about 3 games, not a deep run in the playoffs, and saying they battled and kept it close in each of those games, pointing out that a healthy best player on the team “could” have turned them to wins. Is that really so unreasonable that a fellow fan(?) would pull out the snark knife? Sheeesh, some peoples children.

        • Theswirsky

          I made a mistake thinking he meant Indiana seeing how Bargs did play most of that game against sacramento.

          Regardless Chicago and Atlanta are both playoff teams… Chicago one of if not the best in the league.  Atlanta even without Horford is winning (10 – 4).  If someone thinks Toronto can win those games, with or without Bargnani, they might aswell think of this team as a deep playoff team. 
           

          • Sheptor

            Toronto was in the atlanta game until midway in the 4th..They didn’t execute and panicked. Bargnani would have scored some crucial points downt eh stretch instead of Gary Forbes hoisting up floaters. Do you even watch the games? Or do you just look at records and box scores? the bulls games was also a tight one that Bargnani would have been huge in. Bargs not only brings scoring but confidence to this team as well. The team is more at ease when he’s playing. We’re also missing Bayless who is a scorer and its scoring that we have been missing these past 4 games. The raptors CAN be a playoff team this year even at 4-10 to start and possibly 4-11 after tonight. Go look at the standings and tell me we can’t be better then half the east if everything clicks.

  • AB7.38pt.on.CB4

    A question to Trade/salary expert (Im not), thanks:

    with our  cap space,using tax,mid level,could we have this roster next year or not ?

    Der Williams/Bayless/Forbes
    Derozan/Jason Terry/Bradley Beal
    Gallinari/JamesJohnson/Butler
    Bargnani/Amir/Kleiza
    Valanciunas/Aaron Gray/Magloire