Raptors 73, Pistons 76 – Box

During the first minute of this game you would’ve bet on a scoreline of 136-123, such was the flow in transition and lack of care in the air. It ended 76-73 Pistons, and was easily one of the most unwatchable games of the season. How much was at stake here? Look no further than the Raptors dropping it in to Solomon Alabi in the post in a three-point game with just over a minute left. He wasn’t able to convert, but he did do the next most popular thing in this game which was to turn the ball over. To his credit, on the next possession he did manage to tip it in from an unlikely angle, setting it up for Alan Anderson and Linas Kleiza’s failed attempt at heroics.

With the Raptors down two, Anderson pulled a great step-back move to get himself free at the three-point line, only to realize he had given himself too much time and thus bricked the three. After a Ben Gordon FT miss, Casey drew up a great play down three with three seconds left to give Kleiza a wide-open spot-up look from straight ahead. Brick again (highlights). Too bad, that kind of coaching needs to be rewarded and with the Raptors already f***ing up their lottery positions large in the last three weeks, that three would’ve looked good on Casey.

Everyone meandered through this game where three possessions didn’t go by without someone dribbling it off their feet or throwing a pass in the first row. Once the fourth quarter rolled around, DeRozan was handed a seat on the bench so Colangelo could properly evaluate whether to hand Anderson a two or a three-year deal, while at the same time someone nudged Ben Gordon and said, “Believe it or not, you might be the best offensive player in the building today.” Gordon had 15 points in the fourth and was big part of Detroit’s second half where they turned 17 Raptors turnovers into 18 points.

How bad was it? Commentary such “Detroit on a 4-0 run” and “first team to 75 wins” were commonplace, Uzoh and Knight was referred to as a “showcase matchup”, the fifty point mark was hit very late in the third quarter by both teams, and fouling Ben Wallace to send him to the line was being lamented as a bad move. I suppose, though, if you had to pick a star for this game it has to be Solomon Alabi, who had 6 points, 10 rebounds, and a halftime interview where he sounded like a really cool guy who just wants you to give him some money so he can release some funds that are stuck in a bank account he owns, once you’d do that of course, he’d pay you around $15 million. It sounds like a really good deal. BTW, don’t even give me any flak for recording this on my BlackBerry. It’s shit quality, I already know that.

The young man does seem very nice, but I’m not sure Devlin is doing him any favors by saying:

“We know he can play in the D-League, that’s not even a question. What the question is whether he can play in the NBA.”

Yes, yes, Matt. We were all put at great ease by Alabi’s ability to play in the D-League. In fact, that’s the first question I ask myself every time I evaluate a player for the Raptors – Can he play in the D-League?

Astounding commentary indeed!

Other than that, there’s nothing to see here. I suppose I could talk about how DeRozan started well against Stuckey and threw down a pretty viscous dunk early, or that Gary Forbes tends to pick up his dribble earlier than Will Solomon did, or that Charlie V walks back on D after making a three like he’s carrying a gunshot wound to the leg, but it really doesn’t matter or mean much. Instead, I’ll tell you that Tom Liston said something pretty relevant (shock, I know) at St. Louis the other day regarding Linas Kleiza. Now that Calderon is an expiring deal and Amir Johnson has marginal use, Kleiza has become the likeliest amnesty candidate for the Raptors, except that the only reason he won’t get chopped is that his countryman Jonas Valanciunas will be coming over. What say you? Keep Kleiza to chaperon Jonas around the LIthuanian joints in Toronto? Unless the Raptors are going to actually spend that money elsewhere, I’d say why not. What say you?

  • Puffer

    Watched the first half of the game. Nothing else to say. Looking forward to next year.

  • mountio

    Huge loss!! GSW cant even get their tanking right. If we can lose to NJ, third last is still possible!!

    • Milesboyer

      Agreed – great loss, thank god Kleiza missed the shot, it could end up being a difference of several spots in the lotto. If that’s not tanking – two D-Leaguers and Solo for a large part of the game, I don’t know what is.  I know BC breathed a sigh of relief after the game.

      • Brad

        Kleiza missing that shot is quite possibly the best thing he’s done in a Raptors uniform all season.

      • Lorenzo

        But why did we start tanking so late?? Those wins against Boston and Atl just completely fucked everything up. Look at Charlotte, they’ve been tanking hard since mid-January and are well on their way to becoming the worst team in NBA history. Dwane Casey is a scumbag 😛

    • Truthkiller

      Great coaching from Casey, he saw DDR get 16 pts & 3 dimes thru 3 qtrs of action and benched him for the 4th. 

      TankNation lives on.

  • Nilanka15

    Can’t wait for May 30th!

  • Malefax

    That was the NBA equivalent of a Panzer division.

  • Max

    I just don’t feel you understand how difficult the true centre position is to play. Give the bigs some time to figure things out and to get strong enough to compete with the physical monsters in the league. Sometimes it takes at least five years, but th epayoff is worth it.

  • CJT

    I’m a bit surprised that there was not mention in the write up about what was one of the worst no calls I have seen all year.  With the game on the line GM clearly goaltends an alan anderson shot to tie the game within inches of the rim.  Brutal.

    • Nilanka15

      The TankNation gods were smiling upon us last night.  I saw the light…

      • Lorenzo

         Lmao, finally we catch a break

      • CJT

        HAHA.  I knew you would be all over that one.  Maybe you can get Ron Artest to elbow anyone who scores in double digits tonight. 

  • voy

    I promised the ref a handski not to make that call. 

  • ShermanTank

    Great loss! A battle of two teams trying to out-tank each other. Anyone see that superb tanking maneuver pulled off by Alabi late in the game? He takes a jumper at the foul line, misses it, Ben Gordon grabs the rebound, and then Alabi fouls Gordon. Brilliant! Wins by the Kings and Warriors also helped our cause. Now for tonight, we just need for the Nets to take care of business against the 76ers, and for the Cavs to beat the Grizz, and of course I’m also hoping for a Bucks win. Counting down the days   til May 30th. #TankNation

  • 511

    This weird and strange season coming to an end is setting up for a wild finish for the teams at the bottom. If a team is not thinking about adding to their pile of lottery tickets (which is what the greater or lesser number of lottery permutations really kind of is) right now, I’d have to question just what they’re thinking about. 

    Up until recently, I understood the reservations teams would have about not winning – I had them myself – but now, for these last couple of games when (really) winning can’t possibly matter (that I can see), who is kidding who? If we go into the last game on Thursday with an identical record to New Jersey’s … man! The sign that we wouldn’t see that we should, would say, “Welcome to Tankapolooza!” It’s all kind of hilarious, no? Gotta love the NBA. 

  • Darien

    Misery loves company, but in this case, it loves creativity. One of the funniest articles on RR ever. Go tanknation.