Raptors loss checklist:
Blown out early? Check. Down 18 points in 1st quarter, which ended 27-11 Clips.
Passable level of respectability restored by bench? Sure, down 29-22 at 9:22 of the 2nd quarter.
Bench players provided offensive spark when things couldn’t get much worse? Yes sir, Barbosa and Kleiza.
Opposition safely pushes lead to double digits and restores control by halftime? Done. 49-37 at halftime.
Blown out proper in third? Sure enough, 60-40 less than three minutes into the third. Quarter ends 76-58.
Fourth quarter officially garbage time. Check.
Blown out team makes final score appear less pitiful? Yup – 103-91.
Best Raptor on the right who shouldn’t really be that since others are supposed to be that. You betcha, Barbosa when it should be DeRozan.
Guy you totally didn’t expect to have a big game had a big game. Oh yeah, Mo Williams. Mo Williams – 26 points.
Here’s DeRozan’s shot distribution:
His finishing has always been weak and lacking power, what has made up for it in the past is that he’s gotten to the line and put some pressure on the defense. That was last year, though, this year the responsibilities are greater and it’s no longer good enough to get to the line 6-8 times and shoot poorly, certainly not with Bargnani out. It’s a tough ask to finish against some of the athleticism and leaping prowess presented by the Clippers in the paint, but man, getting your shot blocked five times? Isn’t this where your apparent aerial maneuverability should help you out?
I’m not talking about this game because there’s nothing to say. Casey can try yanking guys left and right, like he did with half the team yesterday, but it’s not going to make a difference. Guys know they’ll play because the overall talent level and depth on this team is so low, that yanking Amir Johnson, Ed Davis, or any other player for that matter does not make a lick of a difference.
Have to keep reminding myself that this is how this season was supposed to be. I get that we’ll get a high pick at the end of it, which is great, but the other “good” part about losing this season was that there was going to be some player development, and that hasn’t happened. Only Bargnani has shown improvement, and he was supposed to be the least likeliest to shine through this season. DeRozan, Davis, and Bayless (back for this game, looked OK despite not having any legs) haven’t flattered in the least. So I ask, is getting a high pick a good enough reward for going through this agony?
I don’t think so, it’s not sufficient because adding another pick is just making the team younger, and further from contention. That pick needed to be complemented with what was already here, and so far all we can safely say that we’ve added this season is a coach who values defense, and can communicate that message to a roster that’s deficient in quality. It’s kind of like that scene in Full Metal Jacket, where the drill sergeant’s yelling at the recruits, except that those guys turn out to be some pretty good soldiers, whereas it’s getting more and more difficult to see the current crop of the Raptors turn into the foundation for the future.
Read the Roll Call if you haven’t already.