Just one of those games, like Jack said. You can blame it on the fatigue of a quick turnaround from finishing 4 games in 5 nights. You can call it sheer stupidity to give Ryan Anderson open looks over and over again when you know exactly what he does.
Or you can just call it one of those games.
It is a slippery slope to just marginalize an effort like this by calling it an anomaly, but this team has performed well enough to be given a “mulligan”, if you will.
The torches are already being lit for Andrea Bargnani and his very mediocre performance since returning from a calf injury.
There’s a couple of ways to look at this. Ok, maybe three ways.
Either Bargnani is 100% but his conditioning is off, which was understandable for maybe 4, 5 games after coming back but doesn’t fly anymore and another indictment on his perceived lack of assertiveness and professionalism. But virtually none of us fans are 7-footers (yes we know Leo) and it’s probably that much harder to regain elite quickness at that size so it’s not completely unforgivable, but a little understandable.
Or Andrea is not 100% but has been thrown out there because of the consensus amongst Raptor brass that he’ll still help this team in his current state. If this is in fact the case, he isn’t. Andrea Bargnani is not helping this team right now. He’s shooting horribly, which makes this theory more viable because of the role legs play in giving a player lift in his shot. His defence, until last night, was passable. He’s become better on interior rotations for sure, but the added element of closing out on a stretch 4 was probably too much for a guy who needs to be spoonfed defensive concepts because he it utterly clueless how to read NBA offenses and go with his intuition. They need to shut him down if he’s not 100%, although Tank Nation may actually object to that at this point.
The third way could be that he’s fine but gone back to his regular self after a tantalizing 13 game stretch to begin the season. This might make sense if he was playing like the old Bargnani, but he’s not. He’s not the same player offensively, and believe it or not the defense has still been decent after coming back, so it’s hard to believe this is the case.
Dwane Casey will learn from this game, as will his young team. It was a different type of offense than they’re used to. Ironically, the defensively inept Raptors under Triano did have some success dealing with the Magic defense, because it’s designed to make defenses, especially aggressive ones, beat themselves. Passive defenses actually do well against this type of offense. It was actually impressive the way Orlando picked apart the zone that the Raptors tried later in the game. They are well coached, to be sure, but still do not strike me as a team that will keep Dwight Howard happy enough to stick around.
Gary Forbes should be a major part of the rotation when DeMar DeRozan comes back. He gives this team that long range threat it needs to open up the floor, and has decent ability to finish as well. If the Raptors could have just made some stops consistently, his offense would have brought them back into this game, but it wasn’t to be.
Just one of those games. Don’t tell that to Ed Davis, who just replaced Hedo Turkoglu as the new Pizza man. Maybe Bryan Colangelo needs to re-work Easy Ed’s incentive clauses on his contract, because he pulled one of his more aggressive moves all year to deliver that free slice to the Raptor faithful.
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