New TANKING picture.

Where do these guys get off? When I wrote my Tools for Tanking piece last week, it never even crossed my mind that the Raptors would beat the Celtics at home and the Hawks on the road this past weekend. Beating two playoff teams, with three major contributors on the bench, in a span of less than 48 hours? With ping pong balls on the line, no less? Utterly ridiculous.

I apologize for re-using the awesome picture above, but the Raptors really did take a torch to Tank Nation over the weekend. They entered the weekend 5th last overall, the Playoff Odds had them finishing 6th last, and I gave them a 40% chance of finishing 5th last, with a 20% chance of finishing lower and a 40% chance of finishing higher (higher here being bad). If I were to re-write that article today, they’d now be sitting in a tie for 6th/7th last, the Playoff Odds would peg them for a tie for 8th/9th, and I’d put their chances of finishing in the bottom-5 somewhere around 10%. It was a disastrous weekend in terms of tanking.

Really, DeMar, 24 free throws over the weekend? Ben Uzoh, you really need a job for 2012-13 that badly? Alan Anderson, you had to take your NBA chances off of life support? C’mon Son.

Of course, you’ve gotta love the effort, especially defensively. They held the Celtics under 40% shooting and kept the Hawks right at that marker, an impressive feat considering they shoot 46% and 45%, respectively. The team, down to a player, is still putting in 100% effort despite the season winding down, and you have to respect that Casey has the team playing wire-to-wire, on a game and season basis.

Yes, this is counterporductive in the short-term, as every win decreases the chances at Anthony Davis and decreases the options available in the June draft. I don’t want to incite a class-war between Tank Nation and Real Basketball Nation in the comments, but as I’ve said before there is value in fostering a winning culture, having the young players work to keep their roles for next season, and creating a level of expectations that is to be maintained at all times. It doesn’t help get Anthony Davis, of course, but it can certainly help improve the team for next year in the event the Draft Lottery doesn’t work out in a way that gives us all single-browed wet dreams. (And I know the ping-pong balls aren’t just about Davis, but other players as well, and the number of options available, etc, but it is a lot easier to write sentences like this last one when you just focus on a single entity, however few eyebrows he may have.)

Anyway, here we are, game 2 of a home-and-home with the Hawks, this time in Toronto. You’d think the Hawks would be itching for revenge in this one, the Raptors would be worn out and maybe riding too high from their “successful” weekend, and that Joe Johnson couldn’t possibly disappear for 48 minutes again, but after this past weekend all bets are off. The Hawks still have a shot at home court advantage in the first round (although they may be doing a mini-tank to avoid Boston and land against Indiana instead), while the Raptors are hell-bent on playing their way out of a top-10 pick, so it’s anybody’s game.

The tale of the tape is below, and I’ll end things there to allow for the Good vs. Evil debate to rage on in the comments. I’m honestly torn…I’d like every game to be a hard-fought one that ends with a narrow defeat, but the Basketball Gods don’t seem to have that in the plans.

Hawks @ Raptors
Record 35-25 22-39
Power Rtg 102.2 (11th) 97.1 (22nd)
Off Rtg 17th 24th
Def Rtg 6th 15th
Reb Rate 22nd 10th
Ast Rate 9th 11th
TO Rate 10th 25th
Pace 23rd 27th

I’ll take the Hawks by 7, as the Raptors just don’t have the juice for a third straight upset. We’ve won the same number of games as last year in far fewer opportunities…point proven, already.

By the way, I think if the Raptors and Nets are still within a game of each other on April 26, the last game of the year, we should all wear camouflage to the game to promote Tanking. The team would even think we’re just supporting the Camo jerseys…but I’m talking combat boots and helmets and all. I kid…kinda.

  • Nilanka15

    I still can’t believe Joe Johnson will be owed $25 million in 2016.  It’s hard to dig out of the “mediocrity treadmill” when you’re paying aging non-superstars max dollars.

    Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief we didn’t get stuck in the same position with Bosh.

    • j bean

      Add up the salaries of the Raptors starters last night. 

  • 511

    You’d think that even if the Hawks weren’t that interested in last night’s game – as it kind of looked – with the playoffs looming and with how crappy they played last night, they’d be ready to put their best foot forward for the rematch tonight. Hope so. Not for the tank. Just want a good game. And if we win … well, when you got it goin on, you got it goin on … I guess. (And if they’re tanking for a better first round matchup … they deserve whatever hell-fire descends upon their sorry asses.) 

  • Pjurac0175

    Blake, please remove that picture. It is from the war in former Yugoslavia and still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Thanks in advance.

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Should be a good game tonite as the Hawks will come in with payback in mind but the scrappy Raptors will be thinking 2 Ws in a row over Atlanta!!

    I say the Raptors take this 2nd game as well in this back 2 back home/away game set.

  • Pjurac0175

    It is so nice to be ignorant, especially with full tummy, enjoying all the benefits of normal society and prickly jocking about less lucky people who greatly sufered in this unfortune war.
    Destro, I knew that you are an idiot but that you are sensless idiot, … that I didn’t know.

    • Destro

      We aint talking about a war muthafuckka…we talking basketball here….

      and the pic symbolizes the team tanking nothing to do with anything else,leave your sensitive bullshit out of this thread….

    • Truthkiller

      WTF!!! now we gotta be careful on what pictures to post are you kidding me. This is a basketball website not a pro-war column, get your head out of your ass.

      • Pjurac0175

        And you get your head from my ass, didn’t know you like stinky ” enviroment “

  • cb

    i just heard eric smith argue that casey should get coach of the year. WTF. what a complete tool. then again, he also argued that jay triano was a good hire, and that colangelo should get extended. cannot believe he has a job.

    • Truthkiller

      Rap of the Day: Eric Smith is a clown.

    • Nilanka15

      Wowzers.  He may be more of a homer than Doug Smith…

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    BC probably told Casey to play Alabi so the Raptors will lose but they still won’t give in & Dentmon’s 10 day expired & he was let go- BC trying to stick it to the guys for winning games…

    Eric Smith is another empty suit BC yes man- in the media….his thoughts on the Raptors are BC memo’d to him……..smh

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Leo already talking that Val will be a starter next season and Gray will potentially be backing him up- Raptors under BC where starting jobs are handed out not earned…smdh

    Gray >> Val right now & next season

    • Lorenzo

       YOU ARE ON DRUGS. Please erase that.

    • Nilanka15

      Gray is only marginally better than Magloire, dude.

      When you draft “projects”, you have to play them in order for them to develop.  It’s a simple concept (see DeRozan).  This is especially true of lottery picks. 

      Unlike Alabi, Jonas does this franchise no good sitting on the pine.  He should be starting from day 1.

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

        You have no idea…

        How can you try to school me on basketball- you have no idea who I am?lmfao

        Like I said I grew up watching Gary Payton & Shawn Kemp play 1st hand in person…not to mention that I played D1 basketball and currently coach AAU.

        Casey (on draft nite)- Val is a PF that we hope will grow into a NBA center.

        Alabi shouldn’t even be on the roster but that’s a whole nother story.

        Just have to wait for next season..too much Val special rerun watching I see.
         
        Btw- I like Val’s potential just not buying all the media hype until he goes against NBA players which should happen in Vegas plus it will take him at least 2 years to get acclimated to NBA play/regular season 82 games then another year or two to find out how he fits on the court- just look at DFavors so far…..and DFavors is much more talented than Val.

        • Nilanka15

          The fact that you think “Gray > Val” tells me all I need to know about your basketball knowledge. 

          Favours isn’t getting minutes.  And he’s competing with Kanter for those minutes.  When young players don’t play, they take a long time to acclimatize.

          There is absolutely no reason why Gray should be starting over Val next season.  None whatsoever.