Raptors 75, Thunder 91 – Box

I’ll be honest. I had PVR’d this game and started watching about two hours in when I accidentally hit this button:

And what do I see right after?

Now, if this were game #6 of a promising season, I’d rewind, watch the whole game and report on it. As it stands, this was game #57 in a 66 game season, and the Raptors happen to the fourth worst team in the East, and 7th worst in the NBA, so forgive me if I just decided to watch bits and pieces of this one. BTW, those rankings are actually an improvement over last year’s 2nd and 3rd worst, respectively.

It was expected to be a blowout and a blowout it was, how that blowout happened is hardly of research interest. The spectacular stat in this one has to be the 24-0 run the Thunder went on between the third and fourth quarters. Yes, 24-0. Despite the Raptors never leading in the game, this was a close one throughout thanks to a great performance by Jose Calderon (who always seems to do well against the elite PGs), before the run put the contest to bed fast!

Sure, the Thunder did their thing on offense, but what didn’t help is the Raptors staying completely on the perimeter during this stretch. They took eight jumpers and turned the ball over seven times in 8:21. A three point deficit had turned into a 17-point hole and with that the battle was lost.

To the positives then, here’s Jose Calderon’s shot-chart (8-12 FG, 19 pts, 6 ast):

A great game by Jose which went to waste, much like his entire career. The scale isn’t the same, but he’s really like the Raptors’ Roy Halladay. A guy who deserves to be on a better team, has never complained about anything (the contract helps, yes), and does his professional duty to the best of his ability. Isn’t it time the Raptors gave him a chance to achieve something? I’ve said this before and here goes again: I cannot understand what he’s doing on the Raptors roster, and nobody has been able to explain to me either. Instead of cashing in on him for a pick or another younger player, we’ve seemingly decided to let his $10.5M come off the books next year. I’d actually be excited about that if only there was someone we could give that money to.

The bad news tonight was regarding Andrea Bargnani who tweaked his calf again, and left right before halftime, taking the Raptors’ chancing of winning this one along with him. He was having one of those games which his critics might appreciate, one where his offensive game wasn’t sparkling, but where he was still grinding his way through. He was rebounding, getting to the line, and making the Thunder and Perkins have a think about him.

I don’t want to read too much into individual games anymore, especially Bargnani’s, because if you drew a scatter plot of his performances, they’d end up looking like a Jackson Pollock piece:

His evaluation will occur at the end of the season, and the time he missed due to injury will be factored into the overall grade. Whether someone can stay healthy is a massive part of whether they can contribute to the team. He missed 16 games last year and could miss 30+ this year, so yeah…something to think about. Still, it’s worth pointing out that he’s been better this year and here’s exactly how:

Season PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% BLK% USG% ORtg DRtg WS/48
2010-11 16.4 .533 .480 3.6 13.9 8.6 8.8 1.5 28.1 105 115 .053
2011-12 17.7 .537 .468 2.7 16.6 9.7 11.5 1.1 28.8 103 106 .097
Career 14.6 .539 .493 3.7 15.4 9.6 7.1 2.3 24.1 104 111 .063
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/8/2012.

There’s improvement practically everywhere, but these are not “breakthrough” numbers that the Raptors commentators might have you believe, these are merely improvements. Another argument, and often heard in the local media, is that he would’ve had a breakthrough year if he hadn’t been injured. Problem with that thought is the use of the word if. Whenever that word is used, the conservative alternative usually makes sense, and so it does here again.

Kudos to the Raptors for their effort which has been the saving grace of the season. What used to be listless blowouts under Triano have turned into either respectable defeats, or outings where they’ve hung around long enough for the miserable, suffering fan to say, “Hmm, I guess that’s better, or an improvement at least…let’s see what else is on TV”. There’s been an element of twist lately with James Johnson being in the doghouse, being release from it only to violate doghouse parole, hauled back into it with a misdemeanor charge of dogging it, and then subsequently given 28 minutes where he clocked a 2-11.

The problem here is twofold: 1) James Johnson can’t shoot, 2) James Johnson shoots.

The guy has never been more than a scrub getting playing time on a bad team. If you ever felt that he’d turn into a “core” piece, I’m sorry, but that’s just sheer delusion caused by watching too much Raptors basketball. He can play defense when he wants to, much like Jamario Moon used to, which hardly makes him anything special. And where Moon had that shit-faced grin, Johnson has something equally annoying: the incredulous “I’m somebody you’ve heard of” look.

The Raptors also had someone Juston Dentmon on the bench again, a point guard signed to a 10-day contract on Friday. Late in every season the Raptors usually hold a scrub convention where they bring in the dregs from the country, and where keynote speakers have included but hardly limited to Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Linton Johnston, Primoz Brezec, and Quincy Douby. There’s always one of these guys that will have a good game and fans will actually contemplate making them part of that “core” which never quite seems to form. It’s madness, really. This year we’ve had three intakes: Ben Uzoh, Juston Dentmon, and Alan Anderson, and so far nobody has been anointed as someone who could be “part of the future”. Not even Alan Anderson after he scored seven points against the Magic. Wait for it, though, I’m sure one of these guys will score 15 points and Colangelo will talk of him as someone with promising potential, waiting to be mined but for youth.

If you live in Tank City or not, last night would was sweet for about two and a half quarters.

  • Milesboyer

    The reason Calderon is still a Raptor is that Casey would quit if he, or a reasonable equivalent weren’t running the show.  He makes this team mildly watchable.

    • Destro

      You believe Casey quits if we didnt have the 23rd best PG in the NBA ?

      1/10

    • Valit

       I think it is wrong to assume that Jose’s career at the Raps was a waste of time from HIS point of view. I dont know him personally but since he came here, he did not seem the guy to run for the trophies. I know he has much more than basketball on his plate ( or family’s plate). I honestly think there were many  MOMENTS when he loved playing here. I’m sure he would want to win a trophy but just like Nash he is not obsessed by it. I know there are lots of people here in RR who do not like him and want him out of town ASAP , but as Miles said this year Raps are watchable when he’s running the offense.

  • KaioKev

    In the 3 quarter, the Raptors couldn’t find the paint.

  • cesco

    If you discount , because of lack of conditioning , the first 8 games following his return from the second injury  , the Raps are 11-12 in the other 23 games Andrea played . Discounting the game at OKC ( they were still in the game when he left ) , they are 11-11 with him . These 22 games simply confirm that with a healthy Andrea , the  Raps are a strong PLAY-OFF candidate , no doubt about that . Now they need to shut him down for the rest of the season and start next season running with JV , the pick , FA’s and possible trades .

    • Nilanka15

      I’m sure every team in the league can make a claim about playing near .500 ball when hand-picking certain sections of their schedule under very specific circumstances.

      This team is nowhere near playoff-calibre.

      • cesco

        So , why don’t you make a bold prediction about next year . Will they make the playoffs with the current team + JV and a winger or PG picked in the draft . According to you they are nowhere near a playoff team , so with the rookies they will still miss the playoffs ? Go ahead and predict , I will remember it the same way I remember you predicted Andrea was going to be traded by the last trade deadline and you were WRONG .

        • Nilanka15

          What’s the point of making a prediction this early without JV having played a single NBA game yet, not knowing where we’ll draft or who we’ll draft, or knowing which of the current players will even remain on the roster next year?

          I predict a 72-10 regular season, followed up with a 16-0 championship run.

          • cesco

             The question was hypothetical , the starting five ( after a month or two ) would be : JC , DD , JJ or rookie/FA/trade , AB and JV . So no PF’s from the draft taken . AB remain the main scoring option . Do you think this is a playoff team ? .

            • Nilanka15

              There’s potential if the stars align perfectly (i.e. if Valanciunas doesn’t struggle, Bargnani remains healthy and actually plays well, DeRozan learns how to dribble/shoot, Calderon isn’t traded/amnestied, who the rookie is, etc.). 

              Too many unknowns to make a real prediction right now.  Let’s re-visit this topic in September when we know who’s on the roster.

              • cesco

                 OK . fair enough but I assume that all five starters are ok to start the season , JV does not disappoint and of course no major injuries to the starters . I still have a feeling that you do not think that team will make the playoffs .

                • Nilanka15

                  I’ll believe it when I see it 😉

                  Every other team in the East will be making roster upgrades too.

            • voy

              why would you ever want to roll with a team like this towards the playoffs?  the 8th seed would be their absolute cap in terms of achievement.  You would have a 2 and 3 who cant shoot and starting centre who would be 21 years old.

              • Destro

                Conveniently left it out….

        • cesco

           On my first comment I used the words ” strong playoff candidate ” . I meant to say a ” potential playoff candidate ” , I just got carried away .

          • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

            Another one of your klassic ‘stuck on stupid’ moments….lol

            • cesco

              and you are stuck on your retarded comment every single time .

        • voy

          the team has way too many holes to be a playoff team next year, or at least a good team anyway.  next year is gonna be what next year is gonna be but I think an improvement over this year’s win totals + another reasonably good draft pick is what I am asking for. 

          What I dont what to have happen is what happened when we brought in a bunch of older pieces that didn’t fit properly, with JO the matrix and turk, in an effort to speed up the winning process.  That is the worse possible case scenario.

        • cb

           cesco i thought we told you to stop posting here. you’re a class a sub-mental who has utterly no concept of how basketball works or what a legit player looks like. PLEASE STOP POSTING HERE.

    • 2damkule

      even more telling, if you discount bargs’ missed FGAs this season, he’s shooting 100% from the floor.

      • cesco

        I showed real stats , everyone knows he was slow in getting back in top gear after his second injury , in fact he never got back to full speed , people with a good basket ball IQ noticed that  . You on the other hand made a retarded comment typical of a hater .

        • 2damkule

          oh, cesco.  so passionate. 

          actually, you didn’t show ‘real’ stats, you purposely chose to eliminate ‘real’ stats (those 8 games) in some weird attempt to support your argument.  what value do stats have if you’re just cherry-picking the ones that you like/support your argument, and ignoring those that you don’t?

          ‘hater?’  please.  so weak.

          • Shaimang

            Sure but you cant deny he was on some kinda roll prior to the injury and he dropped off a bit since..

      • Destro

        So we should be chanting MVP when hes at the FT line…*daps*

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      Talk about being delusional…wow…back to life, back to reality..

      Coulda, woulda & shoulda bullchit…you are suffering from a deadly case of BCism….please go watch the Spurs for a week then we’ll see how you feeling……..lmfao

      Year 7 will be AB’s breakout year- yeah right…….smdh

  • Theswirsky

    1:06 left in the 1st quarter, score 21 – 18 OKC, Calderon subbed out

    7:47 left in the 2nd quarter, score 37 – 24 OKC, Calderon subbed back in

    2:17 left to go in the 3rd quarter, score 60-55 OKC, Calderon subbed out.

    10:04 left in the 4th quarter, score 80 – 55 OKC, Calderon subbed in.

    2:54 left in the 4th quarter, score  89 – 74 OKC, Calderon subbed out

    Thats the game right there. 

    (Raps scored 7 points without Jose on the floor.)

  • GMoney

    Trade Derozan for Gerald Green……… There… I said it!

    • Destro

      Congrats you’ve outed urself on the web to be a complete idiot void of any basketball knowledge….

      • Lorenzo

         Does that remind you of somebody?

        • Destro

          Cesco

        • Cred

          Hey it does….Destro.

        • Ihatehaters

          Wicked burn.

  • sangaman

    J. Johnson can be a defensive stopper but has 0 offensive talent.  Trouble is the raps  have seven guys with the same MO.  A point about Bargs…He gets few easy buckets because of inefficient interior passing. With Steve Nash- his point totals would exceed 25 per game.

    • cesco

       Hear, hear .

      • 2damkule

        you know, the general argument is that the raps feature quite a few one-dimensional players, and that applies to a number of players, including…well, you know.  or should.  whatever.

    • sleepz

      Maybe, but he would also have to be inside the paint a lot more to score on the interior.

      How can you get these easy inside buckets via a pg distributing you the ball, when you spend most of your time on the perimeter?

      • cesco

        Andrea start out at the perimeter  but he comes running inside often enough that a fast passing PG like Nash will get a couple of dimes extra in every game thus bringing Andrea scoring into the mid twenties .

  • NyAlesund

    Stats damn stats.

    If someone plays in a bad condition doesn’t matter for the stats. When we talk about AB we have to evaluate his conditions. When I saw him make an enormous fatigue to beat his opponent, or when I saw him struggling to shoot properly, or when I saw him not running well on the floor is clearly that the stats were falling down. It is not an excuse but facts. So, the point is: what is the real Bargnani? Is it the player that showed us the enormous potential when he scored 23.5 points per game, 48% from the field and a decent defensive end or the player that struggled in 8 games after the second injury?

    Colangelo has to add talent around AB and evaluate him with real teammates. If he played well, good, otherwise we trade him in February. And trade him for a good pieces are not a big deal. Despite all he has market.

    • Nilanka15

      lol, Colangelo’s been “evaluating” Bargnani for 6 seasons already. 

      • Theswirsky

        ‘accurately’ evaluating Bargnani will never exist unless he is playing well.  Then and only then will you get an real evaluation of him.  Anytime something isn’t going his way, or the way his fans want it to, there is some excuse (new or old) to explain it.

        If after 6 years and almost 400 games we can’t reach the obvious conclusion that Bargnani is a one dimensional scorer, who is only useful when his shot is falling, no conclusion is ever possible.

      • NyAlesund

         6 seasons include the last two with a D-League caliber players. We need talented players and not to discuss about him.

        • Nilanka15

          Is there any weight given to Bargnani’s first 4 seasons?

        • sleepz

          If he’s a good player, you don’t need other players around him to make him better. In fact he’s supposed to make them better based on his presence.

          I promised myself I was going to steer away from these conversations but it’s ridiculous now. There should never be this much debate on a player who isn’t a superstar or even an all-star for that matter.

          He will have played 31 games this year averaged 19.5 ppg shot 43% from the field and 29% from 3pt. Without even having to stress rebounds, blocks or assists, what is the fuss about?

          Any other player on any other NBA team that ends up playing less than half the season with those numbers, and the fans/media would be questioning his presence on the team or expecting far better performance considering he’s making the most money.

          Around here though, there are serious debates about what better players should be put around him or what happens when you extrapolate 13 games into 82? Why not try projecting those 31 games played into 82 first? lol

          • cesco

            Extrapolating the 31 games Andrea played in and the 26 games without him over an 82 games schedule , you get 34.4 games won with him and 22.0 games won without him . Do not forget you saw a less than 100% Bargnani after his second injury .

            • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

              Small nuts………

            • Destro

              They were 22-60 all last year

              Im telling ya if you take 3-5 game segments of Bargnani’s entire career you almost have a decent player…..

              STILL NOT AN ALL STAR tho

            • foster

              preach on Ces

          • Raps4Ever

            Not only is this poster seemingly new here, but it’s pretty obvious the language is not his first, so perhaps cut the guy a little slack in his initial reactions to the over-the-top incessant AB bashing that goes on here by some.

            • sleepz

              I’ve seen him post before and it’s a blog conversation.

              No one is bashing anyone, just stating facts.

              • Raps4Ever

                Not saying you’re bashing, but identifying the impression that a newbie to the place can get from the posts of some others.

            • FLUXLAND

              FanCop on the prowl. 

          • NyAlesund

             What are you talking about? Do we need quality players around him or not? Do we want to be a good team or not? So, what do you suggest? To trade him? For who? If you want to compete in this league you can’t do it with Forbes, JJ, Magloire….

            In regard with the stats, I only emphasize the fact that his physical condition wasn’t good for 8 games after his return. I am not forgetting what he has done in the past, but I can’t stand that some users like you don’t want to see some improvements. Everyone forgotten when the media were talking to him as an All Star?

            The only thing I suggest, is some movements during the off season to improve this team and trade Bargnani if he won’t play well like the first 13 games and the last 6.

            • sleepz

              I do want to see improvements…..team improvements.

              To me this means possible trading any player on this roster if better talent is available.

              I don’t think there is any player on this roster that any GM should be building talent around. Just gather the best talent you can because there are NO cornerstones on this roster.

              • NyAlesund

                 I didn’t say that AB is a cornerstone, but clearly is better than the others.

                • Nilanka15

                  He is probably the best player on the roster (although Calderon deserves some consideration), but the question remains, “is Bargnani good enough to be built around?”

                  Colangelo made such a mistake once trying to build a team around Bosh, who was a much better player than Bargnani (regardless of what some superfans might think).  If Colangelo makes the same mistake again, it could set this franchise back for another 3-5 years.

                  Colangelo needs to go into this off-season with the mindset that anyone/everyone is up for grabs (with the exception of maybe Valanciunas).  He needs to improve the roster in any way imaginable.

        • Truthkiller

          The best player Bargnani ever played with was Chris Bosh do you have an excuse why he was still a terrible defender, a below average rebounder and an inefficient scorer back then.

          • cesco

            So you are saying that BC would have build a strong team if he had picked someone else than Andrea ? Are you saying that BC could have traded Andrea and we would be strong contender by now ? The team next year will be comparable in term of talent ( assuming JV pan out ) with the ones with CB4 in it . We will see then and only then which teams are/were better .

            • Destro

              Its disgusting how you keep dudes dick in ur mouth….

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

        You must know that AB’s fan boys are still waiting for his breakout season……lmfao

        Starting PF playing 30 plus minutes a nite (when healthy) & is 4th in rebounds per game average on the weak ass Raptors team- wow…. 

        2 rebounds per Q?

      • foster

        shut up!

        • Nilanka15

          I’ll shut up when you stop crying.

  • ad

    Forget about this season. Raps should just shut down bargnani and lose as many games as possible the rest of the season. I know it sucks to watch them constantly lose but at least the jays are back if you want to watch a respectable team.

    • Destro

      They’ve been losing with bargnani in the lineup this season and last you fact alluding dweeb…

      • ad

         Ummmmm. Theyre worse without bargnani. Just look at their records with and without him.

        • Destro

          STFU They are a losing team irregardless of that point….You geeks are fighting a losing battle and you need to realize this…

          Unless he plays in a ASG,averages 20/10 for a season not a limited number of games….takes this team on his back to a playoff run and then wins games in the playoffs and is able to carry a team to a winning record in the reg season then you LOSE….

          It makes no diff dickslap if they are only 6 games UNDER without him ok thats irrelevant,its a LOSING team WITH him…..and that garners no rewards,respect,accolades or reputation…

          HE’s a LOSER…

          • Raps4Ever

            Both you and your alias are in your pond scum glory today, aren’t you? Others are actually here to experience your misery, instead of that cute little episode of you and your alias resorting to talking to each other over the weekend to support each other. Two sick bastards you are.

            • Destro

              ^ weak

              your the posting version of Glass Joe…

              • Nilanka15

                LMAO!  Always appreciate a classic game reference.

            • Lorenzo

              It’s the same person.

  • pran

    Arse, none of us really care what Calderon deserves, we want the best possible player at point guard, all of us are busy with our own careers to be busy wondering about calderon’s legacy. That’s his problem

  • why

    I like Jose who is a solid quality NBA point guard and does his best game in and game out however to compare him to Roy Halladay who was the best pitcher in baseball over a 7 or 8 year period with The Jays is, well….a bronze-to-gold comparison.

  • Raptor4Ever

    Great Analysis Arse …
    I totaly agree with you about Calderon and hope we can move him this offseason. I said this at the beginning of the season that this year was about evaluating what we have and answering question about DD, Amir, JJ, AB , Ed Davis and Bayless. As we are approaching the end of the season, I can say confidently that NONE of these guys are legitimate , Consistent Starter in this league.

    AB: Problems with Health, Problems with rebounding and even defence.
    Amir: Very inconsistent, he had TOO Many Poor games.
    DD: Bad handle on the ball, Lack of court vision, lack of play making ability for SG and rebounding …
    Ed Daivs: Just disappointing in every aspect of the game.
    JJ: Lack of offence and not good enough to be starter.
    Bayless: unable to run a team as a pure PG and …

    Arse, I am very curious to read your evaluation of each of this player at the end of the season and the team over all.

    Right now, after 6 season under BC, I think we have a team at its lowest point as far as I remember  over the last 10 years. When is BC going to be able to turn this around ?

    Is next season THE season that we can finally evaluate BC ? 
    Should we give him more time as the Brain of this team ?

    • Raps4Ever

      With all due respect for fans to feel what they do, when you say “that this year was about evaluating what we have and….”, the organization did not design the season for fans to evaluate, but for coach Casey, along with the rest of the brain trust, to evaluate based on the far greater knowledge, that they have, about the work and progress that has taken place outside the few hours we see a week. 

      Also, I’m not saying there aren’t basic flaws that are troublesome in some of these young guys, but a little patience may be their due, considering the effects of the lockout. For one example, ED hasn’t had a pre-season camp yet, never mind with the current staff, and nobody on the team was able to talk to him, much less work with him this past summer, his first after his rookie season.

      Before we judge BC, or anything, based on this year, let’s see what transpires between the last game, and the start of next season, as this year was never going to be the end game, but merely the start of the new direction, with the new coach that looks like the answer to many prayers.

      • Nilanka15

        Wow, I just realized that “Raptor4Ever” and “Raps4Ever” are 2 different people 😐

      • cesco

         Very well said . The Chicago Cubs haven’t won the world series since 1908 and the Maple Leafs , the Stanley cup since Julius Caesar time so a little bit of patience is in order .

    • CJT

      I feel like last season was definitely the low point.  the team is better in many ways and was very watchable this year for effort etc.  With a decent pick and some FA’s we are on the upswing.

  • NyAlesund

     Ok, trade him for……..let me think…………..Ben Gordon. Same salary.

  • NyAlesund

     I don’t know why is so important for you the rebs than the defence.

  • Peter

    Omg, this conversation about Bargnani is absurd.  Andrea Bargnani is garbage.  Period.  Discussion closed. 
    Forget about defence and rebounds for a second, this guy is one of the most inefficient scorers in the league.  On top of that, he does not make the offense flow, and does not have the court vision to pass when he drives. 
    Enough said.

    • Raps4Ever

      lol, aside from exaggerated inaccuracies, who would think that someone would show up here that thinks that those that don’t share his views are irrelevant and absurd? Shocking!!!

      • Destro

        Nothing exaggerated about it…We all know about the defense and rebounds,he IS in fact an inefficient/volume shooter/scorer who is among the worst FG % big men in basketball…Who stops the ball when he gets it because hes only lokoing to shoot a 3 or dribble drive and pull up awkwardly for a jumper between the circles…The offense definitely has no flow when they run that corny ass 2 man game with him and the brasilian porn director PG… 

    • Destro

      I love fact laden posts such as this….this guy is a real unbiased fan who wishes to see nothing but a team accountable for itself….great work young man !

    • cesco

       He has the same APG as Boozer and Jamison at 1.9 and better than Bosh who has a 1.8 APG . All three all stars or former all stars .

    • NyAlesund

       I opened my eyes! Finally, I have discovered that AB is a sh-t player as 250 in the NBA!

  • Raptorsss

    Sorry, i’m going trust Dwayne Casey’s opinion over some scrub internet ragers and flamers.  If Bargnani was playing at an all-star level pre-injury, then he is an all-star talent.

    Yes, Derozan Bargnani and Davis are this teams 3 main building blocks that’s the beginning of our foundation.

    • cesco

       You put together the entire Bargnani-bashing gang and their accumulated basketball knowledge will amount to 1/100th of Casey knowledge , enough said .