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?