Raptors 99, Wizards 92

No sense sugar-coating it: this was a dud. A win’s a win, unless you’re a Draft-obsessed fan and a win’s a loss, but this was not an inspiring effort from the Raptors against a Wizards team without its starting power forward and center. There were defensive lapses all over the place, there were some very, uh, strange offensive possessions throughout, and Toronto let Washington back in the game in the fourth quarter when a stop or a bucket here or there would have put it out of reach.

Talking about the absence of energy in the building in the fourth quarter, Jack Armstrong hilariously said it was “one of those days you don’t want to get out of your pajamas.” I think this can be said for the players, too. It’s been a grueling season with a ridiculous schedule and it’s tough to get amped to play Washington on a Sunday on the first day of April. I’m not going to kill Toronto for this because it’s actually been remarkable how few of these less-than-entertaining games there have been this season. The opponents are almost always more talented, but the Raptors have been competitive way, way more often than not.

It’s Dwane Casey’s job from now on to try to get these guys to play with the same effort and focus they did earlier in the season — in his halftime interview, he said the team’s defensive concentration had “gone the way of the buffalo.” Curious to see if there’s an improvement against the Bobcats on Tuesday. If you’re wondering, Charlotte is 7-43.

Some notes:

  • The Wizards’ offense looked a mess. This shouldn’t be surprising if you’ve watched them this year. With Nene and Trevor Booker both out with plantar fasciitis, it was a bunch of young guys plus Brian Cook, Roger Mason and Cartier Martin running around, basically.
  • Not really sure how a lineup of Shelvin Mack, Mason, Martin, Jan Vesely and Cook is supposed to score points. That group played together in the second quarter.
  • Cook is my favorite NBA player. I love nothing more than to watch him jog up and down the floor and shoot jumpers. It’s a treat when he puts the ball on the floor, too. He doesn’t make me completely lose my mind and want to throw things at my TV at all. Nope. Not one bit. Promise.
  • Andrea Bargnani had 18 points on 6-for-15 shooting, plus eight rebounds. Yay, eight rebounds! But he could have done lots more. He was 2-for-10 after the first quarter and, sorry Wizards, but I’m not giving the defense credit here. Bargnani is more than capable of shredding them.
  • John Wall had a case of the Bargnanis himself. He had no trouble getting in the lane, but he didn’t appear interested in taking over the game. A modest 13 points and 11 assists for Wall, who made Kevin Seraphin look good by continually setting him up for dunks. No reason he couldn’t have looked for his offense more, however.
  • Amir Johnson had two big plays down the stretch when Washington was in striking distance: a screen for DeMar DeRozan and a putback dunk.
  • Credit DeRozan for repeatedly attacking the basket. He isn’t exactly going to get a ton of love from the national media for putting his body on the line in a game like this. I’d almost forgive him for settling for jumpers at this point in the season, but he got to the line nine times and took a couple of bumps. Good for him. It’s starting to feel like he’s been around for quite a while, so it’s easy to forget he’s still 23 and the organization still wants him to get stronger in the off-season so he can absorb more contact and be more physical defensively.
  • Vesely had the play of the game.
  • Ben Uzoh dunked, too!
  • This game was ugly, but I’m still enjoying the Alan Anderson experience. Aren’t you?
  • Milesboyer

    Was at the game and I think I cheered once, on the Amir putback.  What a yawn fest that was.  Better days ahead hopefully, where games at the end of the season might actually matter.

    • Destro

      *yawnfest*
      Teeeee ooooooh basketball !!!!

  • c_bcm

    I’ve been enjoying watching both Anderson and Uzoh. These guys are making the best of their opportunity. Although, Anderson is giving me flash-backs to Anthony Parker. 

    • Ryan

      Parker was pretty solid for the first little while.

  • KaioKev

    Inching closer and closer to the 20 win plateau.

  • pran

    vesely intrigues me. He has just as much athleticism as any black man (see dunk), and understands the game of basketball(see 4 assts), but has no discernible talent when it comes to dribbling the ball, and shooting it. Plus he’s kinda weak. A true project, when is he coming to toronto?

    • pran

      and when he has some free time, can my boy bargs call him up and ask him how to do this:  

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAx0VWsxmB8 

    • Nilanka15

      Vesely looks like a random dude who was picked up off the streets of Prague, and asked to play basketball for the first time.  He has no basketball skill whatsoever, but can run and jump.  His is the epitome of “project”.

      • Theswirsky

        Vesley = taller Derozan?

        • Nilanka15

          lol, very tempting….but I’ll leave that one alone for now 😉

          • M.Tulloch

            smart

    • Bendit

      Thats what one spot lower in the draft can do…the diff. between JV & Vesely. 

    • Destro

      He has as much athleticism as Bron,Dwight,Westbrook,Rose ?

      • pran

        the guy is longer and taller than all those players……I meant for his size

        • Destro

          He’s longer than Dwight ? and no he isnt in that category of top athleticism in the NBA…

        • voy

          then why are you concerning yourself over how well a 6’11 guy can dribble or shoot from distance?  How many times have you seen him play.  His handle is way better than most 6’11 players.

    • Derozan

       he is a piece of garbage. Even soloman alabi is athletic you don’t see him starting. Vesely is nothing more than a role player i would hate to see him in toronto.

      • pran

        I disagree, I see him being a starter in 2 years, and btw there were still moments where he turned bargnani’s blouse inside out!

        • Destro

          You see him as a starter based on what ?

          • pran

            based on the fact that he has no skill, yet still manages to help the team win.

            • Destro

              *side eye* so based on no reason…

              • pran

                specifically: his athleticism combined with his court vision, and he is a good finisher imo.

    • voy

      “as much athleticism as any black man”
      Really?  There is no better way to say this?  

      • voy

        how far away is the above statement from something like “derrick rose is as cerebral as any white guy”

        • Destro

          Quite far away…

          • voy

            its the same thing.  the statement jan vesely is just as athletic as any black man is tremendously racist.  are all black men athletic? no.  a more accurate statement would be jv has elite athleticism. 

            its the same thing as saying derrick rose is as smart as a white guy.  are all white guys smart. hells no.

            • pran

              I honestly don’t give a shit, you can’t please everyone………

            • voy

              or maybe a better example than my derrick rose point would be:

               “steve nash can dribble as well as any black man”.  what an incredibly stupid thing to say.

            • Destro

              In context of basketball its a true statement…Are the majority of the most athletic NBA players black ?

              • Destro

                I meant its true in terms of the top athletes are black not that Vesely is amongst them….

              • Nilanka15

                Yes, most players are black, but it’s still a silly thing to say.

                You don’t exactly hear John Madden saying that Michael Vick can pass as well as a white man (even though most QBs are white).

      • Lorenzo

         Agreed

    • voy

      “as much athleticism as any black man…”

      really? there is not a better way to say this?

      how far away is the above from “derrick rose is as cerebral as any white guy” or “Tim Duncan banked the shot in like he was a south korean performing geometry”.

      • Destro

        Not the same,as we know racial prejudice in joke and reference against black is not on the same level as white or asian so its not even close to the same…Its well known blacks are the top athletes in the NBA and in general,its not a fact that whites are more cerebral….morseo a blanketed statement based in bigotry and stereotype…

        • Lorenzo

          “Not the same,as we know racial prejudice in joke and reference against
          black is not on the same level as white or asian so its not even close
          to the same…”

          What?!?!? I hope that you are kidding. Out of all the fucking retarded things you have said, this is definitely the stupidest and makes you look paranoid

          • Destro

            You disagreeing and not understanding is about as much of a co sign as i need…

            • Lorenzo

              Like I said, paranoid.

              “Oh no! Everyones out to get me!” shut up

          • Cred

            He isn’t kidding, just another one of Destro’s stupid antics. 

            • Destro

              this black white thing is over ya head just stay on the sidelines whiteboy…

        • Nilanka15

          It may not be on the same level in terms of society’s sensitivity, but it’s on the same level in terms of right and wrong.

        • Ryan

          The original comment aside, what you just said is pretty damn racist. Essentially, you’re saying “Being racist against blacks (even as a joke) isn’t as bad as being racist against an Asian or a white.”

          Um.

          • pran

            the people who took this the wrong way are assuming that being athletic means you’re lacking something else.   

            you guys are the real fucking racists b/c I didn’t mean it that way at all, and I apologize if you thought I meant: Yeah vesely is athletic as a blackman,  by the way all niggers have subpar intelligence and the only thing worth mentioning about them is there athleticism and rap music.  

            like stfu, I WISH I was athletic as derrick rose.      

            • voy

              “He has just as much athleticism as any black man (see dunk)”.

              you may as well have said “he has as much athleticism as any black man (see his dance moves)”.

              all black men are not athletic.  its not really a high standard you are setting for jan vesely if you are impressed that he is as athletic as “black men”.  I think its safe to assume jv is a ton more athletic than most black men. 

              if the point you were trying to make is jv has elite athleticism you could have made your point with much more depth if you said something like “I think jv is as athletic as javale mcgee (or whomever)”.

              I dont think you meant any disrespect.  But there is a huge difference between saying “black men” and guys who play in the nba.

            • Ryan

               Oh, come on now. Actually read my post, please. I wasn’t even talking to you – I even specifically said that I wasn’t talking about your original comment. I guess you missed the “in reply to Destro” part, too.

              Thanks for calling me racist for no reason, though.

              • pran

                apologies, meant to reply to voy.

            • guest1

              You are an idiot and using the “n” word to prove you are not a racist idiot is almost comical If we are staying with stereotypes it probably has something to do with you having a small penis.

          • Destro

            lolololol smh

    • You’re an idiot.

      Maybe he should put that on his resume.

  • Bendit

    Though it wasnt Wall’s A game I think he has the leash on him to be a distributor primarily. Isnt that what we want of our PG? The last half of the qtr 4 saw him try to get to the rim when he sniffed a possible W. If he was on a mildly more talented team (Raps) this guy would be lights out and we’d be sniffing the 8th spot.

  • cesco

     A panel of experts convened by the Wall Street Journal in 2008  ranked Roman Šebrle as the world’s greatest athlete , LBJ came second ,  http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121392004594090355.html
     Sebrle is a Czech and the current world record holder in the decathlon and winner of the Athens Olympics .
    The winner of the decathlon at the last Olympics was an American , Bryan Clay , of Afro-Asian parents , his mother is Japanese .

    • cesco

       and Jim Thorpe of Caucasian and American-Indian ancestry was the first athlete to be called the greatest athlete in the world .

      • voy

        too difficult to quantify with any real legitimacy, in my opinion.  different sports require different traits in order to excel. 

        • cesco

          The point I was trying to make was that any ethnic group can produce great athletes . Arguing one ethnicity has  better athletes and another has brighter people show stupidity and nothing else . Since the modern Olympics started all sort of ethnic groups have won in various track and field disciplines as well as other sports and various Nobel prize winners have come from all around the world .