This is probably the worst place to say it, but whatever: people need to calm down about last night’s loss to the Bobcats.

Yes, it was bad. Very bad. I produce a web show where two of the hosts recently called the Bobs the worst NBA team ever. Getting D.J. Augustin back makes them a bit better than they’ve been for most of their 16-game losing streak, but the Raptors still lost to an inferior team. They lost while playing fairly uninspired basketball — Dwane Casey said he was disappointed and said they “came out flat.” But let’s not freak out. Let’s not use words like “disgusted” or “embarrassed” or say that the players don’t care.

They do care. They just played down to their competition, as much as a team like this one can “play down” to anyone. It happens. A month ago, the Thunder lost to the Wizards. I’d say there’s a bigger talent disparity there. The Heat have lost to the Bucks twice and the Bulls have looked terrible against second-tier Eastern Conference playoff teams on a couple of nights. Some games, you just don’t have it. This is true every season. It’s doubly true with this compressed schedule.

I get that rebuilding is tough. For fans, players, GM’s. You want instant gratification, you want exciting games every night, you want the games to matter. But for fans, it should be easier to take a step back. Your job isn’t on the line. You probably predicted they’d finish near the bottom of the conference. You should be able to see the big picture. This season is important in terms of development and establishing good habits, but no single game should get you too riled up. I’d say this even if Andrea Bargnani wasn’t hurt.

With him hurt, fan expectations should be low. They should be losing-to-the-Bobcats-isn’t-shocking low. In the locker room, they’re understandably higher. Casey wants wins not because he hates lottery balls but because he wants to keep his players fighting, motivated. He needs them to feel they can win every single game. They need to be working, improving, growing. The most challenging part of coaching a rebuilding team is to stop them from getting discouraged during a losing streak. He’s said he’s not happy and they need to play with more urgency. The Raptors didn’t get their day off today and that should be enough. Stop getting all dramatic. Go watch Jonas Valanciunas highlights or something.

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

    “But for fans, it should be easier to take a step back. Your job isn’t on the line. You probably predicted they’d finish near the bottom of the conference. You should be able to see the big picture. This season is important in terms of development and establishing good habits, but no single game should get you too riled up.”

    Well said James.

    • mountio

      +1 for sure. The raps are right about where we all expected, have been competitive (without AB and JB) with some pretty decent teams (Bos, LAL, NYK, SA) over the last week and weve seen some dramatic improvement from a few guys (JJ, LK and JC(trade value!). This game was ugly .. but we are a bad team missing our best player .. you are gonna see some ugly games …

      • TwoSteaks

        AB isn’t playing right now, in this year of rebuilding, and I think it’s a good thing. For what it’s worth, we don’t need the wins we might have gotten in these close game with his input, and it extends his career–less games played–just as long as it doesn’t become a chronic injury we should all be satisfied knowing he will be there next year when it counts.

        • cesco

          This is what many wish will happen this year but when Andrea return he will play full out because it is in most professional players make-up to do so , they cannot be afraid of a new injury . There will be 33 games remaining after the all star game , 15 wins are a possibility as long as everyone play to their averages ( offensively and defensively ) for the year . Possibility of a  lower pick is there .

          • cesco

            I meant 15 wins out of the 33 remaining games .

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      This game’s loss was made even worse as Indiana beat the Bobcats by 35 tonite….

      The fans money, time is on the line in support thereof- recognize game.

      The big picture is that BC has fucked up Raptors basketball- fans praying for ping pong balls?

      Wasn’t last season for development?

      Bargnani is in his prime. Jose is in his prime. Raptors are still (re)building?

      Patience is for waiting rooms……

  • thatpeterguy

    I can’t wait for next year.  That was painful.  

    • cesco

       Next year there should be improvement but JV and whomever we pick in the draft will be a couple of years away from making this team a contender  assuming Andrea keep improving and does not become injury prone . If he is resigned , DD could be a valid 4th/5th scoring option . That is the best scenario we can hope for .

      • 511

        There’s no reason for anybody to use the term ‘injury prone’ when talking about Bargnani, even to speculate. With the exception of a couple of brief times over the years, he’s hardly ever been injured. 

        • Rick

          Ya, he’s been really durable over much of his career.

          • What the

            playing at one end of the floor now the coach want him to play at both ends the f**ker breaks down after 12 games

            • CJT

              You may have noticed that there is a rash of injuries this year with the crazy schedule and lack of rest between games.  So why don’t you stow the pretend horseshit logic and limit your responses to “I hate Bargnani”  It will be easier for everyone to understand what you are trying to say. 

      • What the

        a couple years not the standard 7 years

  • Brian B

    It isn’t losing to the Bobcats that is the problem. It is the lack of energy; the lack of defensive intensity; the exhibiting of bad habits rather than learning good ones. In a free and democratic society, we are allowed to feel, and express, our concern that this is NOT rebuilding, but rather more time wasted without real progress.

    Couldn’t help noticing that Nets just beat Bulls . Hump had 24 and 18. Lopez back tomorrow. Wait… didn’t Hump used to be a Raptor??

    • cesco

       Chicago without Rose is a middle of the pack team .

    • Rick

      Ya, he also used to be a Utah Jazz, and a Dallas Maverick. So what’s your point?

    • What the

      24 and 18 wow i wonder if the raptors best player could do something like that when he gomes back from his fake injury

  • Rick

    Good article, puts things into perspectives. Reading the post-game comments yesterday, you get the impression that fans want to move the damn team to another city and tear down the ACC. You should’ve seen our old pal Gots2Go, the poor guy was foreshadowing an imminent apocalypse. Relax people.

    • Lorenzo

      ^Rap of the day

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV7_8Jr2DZo

    Tony Wroten Jr vs Arizona Feb 18

    FF to 09:45 and wait………..

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    The Raptors can’t play down to anyone….smh

    • Sho

      I have been perusing this great website for a couple years now and i gotta say i have never seen anybody be this positively negative about a team that you cheer for (at least i think u do… Otherwise why r u here right?!)…

      I mean isn’t it tiring to just keep on keeping on about the same thing over and over?! I mean i’m tired just reading it over and over… Please add something new to your diatribes and try saying it with a little less vitriol… Maybe then u won’t be so hated by all… Jus’ sayin’ dude…

      • Sho

        Oh yeah and stop smackin’ ur head, gotta start hurting eventually no?!

      • Lorenzo

        ^Rap of the year

  • hateslosing

    If you told me that this team would have Andrea go down for half the season and that they would not be in last place in the league, I would have called you crazy. To think that this team, with Andrea and Kleiza out (he’s played very well off the bench, likely our strongest reserve), could beat any NBA team is pushing kind of pushing it. We had a couple good games with Jose picking up the load but the truth is that this team has won a total of 3 games without Andrea. We have lost 16. The three that we won were against an awful Washinton team, an awful Net’s team, and then the big one against a very tired Celtic team.

    This is not a good team, without Andrea we have no one ho can score consistently and our defense has been suffering lately.

  • Trill

     DeMar’s postgame interview:

    Reporter: How difficult was it going up against Reggie tonight?

    DeMar: (Pause) Reggie who?

    Sums up his defensive focus now doesn’t it

    • What the

      i understand your trill is gone(Primo)so you have to find some one else to rake on don’t worry the pussy will be back soon and you can watch her defend all the best players in the NBA or are they also hiding her on the defensive end #1 pick 6 years and counting,there might still be a chance for K.BROWN

      • cesco

        The main reason why the Raps were 6/7 when Andrea was playing is because he plays    offensively AND defensively very well . Everyone knows that but you .

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!
  • Prufrdr

    First:

    “Yes, it was bad. Very bad”
    Later:

    “They should be losing-to-the-Bobcats-isn’t-shocking low”

    Which one is it?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MKD7XEPQZYPPVVSGZ2TPM6RNQI Killingjoke

    if they get a decent pick this year they’ll look back and laugh about this

  • Copywryter

    I can’t mirror your optimism about a team that has been ‘rebuilding’ for most of its history. Bargs is having a good and perhaps even great season, but has otherwise not shown that he has the DNA of a superstar who can win championships, and we don’t have another young player who has the makings of an all-star. 

    What has this team really got beyond conjecture and wild hope? What if Jonas doesn’t pan out? What if he does but (like most bigs) takes 3-5 years to develop? Andrea might not even be here. How much losing can he take?       Sure, there are other teams worse off, but there are 24 or so teams that are better off, many with talent in the hand rather than drafts in the bush. Our glass in that sense is 20% full. You’re right in that this is just one game, but so were the ugly losses to the winless Wizards and the winless Nets. This team stinks. I can mostly live with that. Hell, I’ve lived with it for 18 years, but a turnaround is not happening within the next 5 years, at least. 

    • FLUXLAND

      In his defense, Jimmy The Fluffer holds media credentials I believe, so
      he can’t write anything but fluff material or anything without complete
      blind optimism, regardless of any realities (that you mention).  Just read this one more
      time and you will see it would fit in any national newspaper – typical
      “grunt work” selling you tickets.

      Here’s some more hits:

      “Raptors
      Beat Celtics”  (beat, right.)
      “Raptors Stay Close in Miami”
      (contenders, really)
      vs Nets: “I’m going with Toronto.” (only a TRU
      FAN duz)

      vs Nuggs:”but I’ll take the Raps to cover” (of course)

      The ultimate DeBunk fluff post (and notice the image accompanying this
      post) 

      The real tell is that only media clowns will have the audacity to
      tell you what expectations you should hold, how to cheer or what
      reactions you should have after a game while reminding you that if you
      are getting paid to follow / work for the Raps, only then are you
      entitled to an opinion or know anything about basketball.

      He’s the Sonny Weems of RR – losing is fun, baby!! 

  • Statement

    The Bulls got blown out by the Nets on Saturday.

    That makes me feel better about the outcome.

    Who are the projected Top-5 for the draft?