Denver isn’t a very nice place for the Raptors.  If we played word association, the word ‘Nuggets’ would immediately evoke related thoughts such as ‘blowout’, ‘garbage time’, ’39 points’, and of course, ‘Sam Mitchell’.  So going into last night, the L was chalked up well beforehand and it was only a matter of time till the formalities commenced, concluded, and were transcribed in prosaic fashion.

The trajectory of the evening was heading right where so many others in years past had ventured: the Raptors conceding an early lead on their way to a 40-point loss.  Andrea Bargnani going at Kenneth Faried seemed to be the only offensive option for the Raptors, one I felt they didn’t exploit nearly enough for both point production sakes, and for what it would’ve potentially done to rein in the speed of the game had Bargani been looked for in the post.

With roughly a quarter of the precincts reporting, the Raptors found themselves in a fairly tight game, hovering within five.  That was when the second units announced themselves and the bottom gave out, starting with a 10-2 Denver run.  Jose Calderon’s play was remarkably poor, his turnovers the result of lazy passes.  His transition defense was sapped and his half-court defense on Miller and/or Lawson was laughable.  The big men were getting trampled on the glass, with Denver assaulting the boards with intent and a belief of superiority.  The Raptors failed to match that early energy on the glass, turned the ball over, and saw Denver convert on the break with blinding speed, agility and efficiency.  You had the feeling this could get really ugly.

The Raptors sickening tendency to help on every single play shifted the defense till it cracked, and the quick-moving Nuggets displayed excellent ball movement to punish any irregularities in defensive shape.  It`s a known problem which we`ve witnessed all season and in this instance, foreshadowed what was to come late.

Despite DeRozan chipping away at the scoreboard like a carrion crow, the lead was always a comfortable one for Denver.   The 31-14 halftime rebounding edge for the Nuggets was only made more embarrassing by the 15-4 offensive rebounding edge the home team boasted.  It was simple, the Raptors had somehow, perhaps even unknowingly, found themselves in a classic run ‘n gun game in a high-altitude environment against a team which thrives doing just that.  Another instance of Casey failing to impose the Raptors preferred style of play on the game, and instead yielding to the temptation of playing what`s on offer.  It was time to reset and that’s what they did, it’s just hard for me to accept why this wasn’t the strategy from the get-go.

In the second half the Raptors started fouling more, the guards made a concerted effort to track back immediately after a shot went up, and the bigs decided to hold rebounding position instead of trying to lunge over athletic Denver bigs who had position.  The game changed as suddenly Denver was left to earn their points, putting an end to the ridiculous Corey Brewer nonsense which saw the guy get 16 points in the first half, pretty much all in transition off of turnovers or ill-advised Raptors shots.

The third was played at a reduced pace and the Raptors won it by four, with accreditations held by Bargnani and Lowry, the former continuing his good form, and the latter hammering his way to the rim and pulling up for shots that are likely outside of a set play, but who really notices if they go in?  Entering the fourth down 14, you’d have counted the Raptors down and out, and probably discounted any forthcoming token run as no more than the NBA norm.

John Lucas started matters early in the fourth by moving well with the ball, taking the trailing Denver defense with him, and then managing to make a pass which led to decent shots as an aggressive Denver defense failed to parry.  Andre Miller responded in-kind, but at least someone other than Ross from the second-unit finally brought some energy to the cause.  Ed Davis joined the party shortly and probably had one of his best stretches as a pro.  He swallowed rebounds, sometimes even ripping them out from prying hands, and then taking his chances on the offensive end.  Davis played like he was 10-feet tall, had giant wings, and breathed fire.  Valanciunas, who had had a decent showing including a great reverse dunk, looked winded early in this one.  He was shown the bench in favor of a Bargnani and Davis lineup, which supplied offense and defense, respectively.

The furious comeback that followed was built on the foundation of defense and rebounding, and raised on the diet of improbable and heroic offense.  Terrence Ross nailed a three after some great interplay by Lowry, Bargnani, and Davis.  Lowry pulled up for a massive three, and even Amir Johnson sized up a three of his own.  The play that hurt the Raptors, at least the one that stuck out for me, was on the defensive end: Lowry leaving Lawson on the side for a wide-open three, when he had no reason to do so.  Iguodala’s drive was met with enough help from the paint that Lowry should’ve stuck with Lawson, and instead the latter was wide open for a three which extended the lead to four with two minutes left.

This play is symptomatic of a larger issue: the Raptors inability to guard anyone on the perimeter in one-on-one situations.  It explains why Casey’s perimeter defense is so aggressive at times, he’d rather gamble on a steal than ask this lot to defend in isolation situations!  I’m only half-japing here.  Our perimeter defense leaves much to be desired, and I understand that help is a necessary part of the game which every team has to provide.  The amount and frequency of help that the Raptors provide, though, is disproportionate.

Here’s a couple nuggets of stats from the Quick Reaction post which tells a bit of a tale: Raptors were down -19 at one point, and came back to almost tie it at the buzzer, but for DeRozan’s miss at the buzzer. They were -15 on the glass for the first half, but only -1 in the second. They were -11 on the offensive glass in the first half, and only -3 in the second. The Raptors were -24 FTA for the game.

All in all, given the historical evidence, this one was a loss from the start.  I’m pleased to say that I stuck around to watch this because it turned out to be quite an entertaining one in the fourth, and it’s good to see the Raptors compete.  Some might say too little too late, and they’d be right, but as I write this recap at 1AM at night, I need something to convince me that this was worth it.  And that comeback was.

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  • 511

    Bit of old time Arsenalist here. Good stuff, so appreciate it. It’s true about Ed Davis showing a monster side every now and again, especially this season. Would like to see that cultivated a bit more. The fourth q came so close to making it worthwhile, I (too) concluded it was. Whether good or not however, I never quite believed we’d get all the way there but … in the end, close was a lot better than a shameful beating. Exciting to see what a fine athlete and terrific shooter TRoss is showing more than just glimpses of. Jose and his two out-to-lunch turnovers in the first half had me convinced this one was going to be ugly. I mean, by now I know that Lowry is talented but his lack of pg discipline ends up costing too much (so if Jose is not on the ball, we’re uck-fayed). As I thought (out loud here) a few weeks ago, I understand why McHale sent Lowry packing. He’ll win you some but he’ll lose you just as many, maybe more. 

    “half-japing”, had to look that up. (Always glad to have to do so.) 

    Bring on Sacramento. 

    • Daniel

      The problem is that Lowry didn’t win us one freaking game and he lost us a ton. The sheep thinking they are better than 2 organizations who had a stake in evaluating Lowry and didn’t keep him even as a backup PG are getting quieter these days however they still don’t recognize the main problem in this team: our two main scorers, Andrea and Derozan, need to be assisted on their FGA and the starting PG doesn’t know how to pass.
      The second biggest problem is our defense. I have never seen a worse defense than Lowry’s in my 35 years of watching basketball. He’s not playing defense per se, he’s tracking the ball so he’s always 5 feet within the ball radius. He doesn’t have any concept of team offense or team defense. He’s like a kid in youth basketball being attracted by the ball whereever it is. It’s almost unbelievable to watch it. I used to yell at the TV asking: “what are you doing?”. Now I gave up and I can imagine McHale going nuts watching him. I have to listen to the idiot of Jake Armstrong saying that “you have to guard your man” and then praising Lowry for his “tough” defense. It is no surprise Armstrong sucked as a coach. Because of Lowry, all the other players, especially the bigs, are left scrambling. Even Derozan is improving defensively however our team defense is much worse than last year because of Lowry.
      The only NBA attribute Lowry has is scoring, everything else is bush league, meaning it does not belong in any organized basketball activity.

      • Destro

        Ugh the BIGGEST problem is team defense and second is rebounding…You wanna know know why they have lost last night and many games this season..those 2 things…You dont give up 20+ Offensive boards you dont lose last night…When you have 6-11 and 7 foot front court it shouldnt happen…

        rest of your diatribe is non sense,clearly you dont watch shit…Lowry is the catalyst of last nights comeback…He took over that game and the team on his back when it mattered…Lowry at his best is by far the best player on this team and the only guy that has shown capable of taking a game over on both ends…That being said i dont believe in moral victories a loss is a loss and it was still only a half of basketball they played last night so im not caught up in the effort…Wins matter not effort…

        • Mo

          5’9 PG Ty Lawson rebounds per 40 yesterday : 5.7

          Ed Davis 6’9 rp40: 217’1 C Andrea Bargnani rp40: 4

          • RapthoseLeafs

            Ty Lawson

            6-15 (.400) … 3 assists (he’s a PG – right?) … 4 turnovers …. -13

            But yes, he had a better rebounding rate.

            • Destro

              Is there a point to THIS reply ?

        • RapthoseLeafs

          Have to disagree Destro.

          Check the Timeline:

          2:48 Left – 1st Quarter
          Bargnani checked out – followed by Jonas shortly after.

          Denver – 8 ORbs
          Score …. Toronto 22 – Denver 19


          10:07 left – 2nd Quarter
          Denver – ZERO (0) ORbs
          Score …. Denver 36 – Toronto 26


          Turnovers (4) & Missed shots (2 of 7) from 2:48-1st to 10:07-2nd, plus our Bench getting smoked.
          That’s what lost us this game.

          While Offensive rebounds presented a problem (that Faried is like a bouncing ball – guy’s got great hops), Offensive rebounding was not the reason for this loss.


          • RapthoseLeafs

            Couple of additional points:

            Help Defense was over-extended.
            Faried – 18 pts 10 Rbs (7 ORbs) …..  – 13


          • Theswirsky

            how is that evidence of anything?

            Denver scored 6 second chance points off their offensive rebounds in that 9 minute time period alone. 21 second chance points for the game.   

            Just because Toronto wasn’t losing at any one point in time, doesn’t mean those offensive rebounds didn’t have a significant impact on the outcome of the game.

            • RapthoseLeafs

               Yes … it had some impact. And yes, it’s possible that with 3 or 4 less Offensive rebounds (in that 9+ min stretch), the score differential would’ve been better – in Toronto’s favour.

              However … this still doesn’t change the fact that the Starters countered their weakness. And were up by 3 points, when all was said and done.

              This emphasis only distracts from what lost us the game – turnovers & Bench giving up too many points. But hey … that Bench STOPPED the Offensive rebound issue. 

              That was my point.

        • p00ka

          “clearly you dont watch shit”

          Look in the mirror when you say that. Lowry’s defense has been putrid to date, including last night. Glad you brought up team defense, because he was by far the biggest cause of team defense breakdowns last night. It seems he lives team defense as well as his team offense. If he’s not all over the court chasing the ball, wherever it goes, and actually covered his man, he was getting blown by like he was as much a pylon as Jose has ever been.

          Team defense? Hahaha, his defense is as tunnel vision as his offense. But be impressed with his rebounding, which he gets because he leaves his man all the time and follows the ball around like a kitten chasing a ball of wool, oblivious to the surrounding 9 players.

          • FAQ

            Ditto… and kudos… !!!

            (Who recognized Lowery’s streetballin’ ballhoggin’ first … you or me… I think it was me and you concurred… ya think??!!!)

            • p00ka

              I have no idea who said it first, and don’t care. Are you “surprised”?

              • FAQ

                Yes… I’m surprised and it’s because you used the term “tunnel vision” which I have been meme-ing against Lowery’s PG debacle.  Meanwhile the t.h.f.’s revel in his “scoring” because that’s all that counts when they perform their public fellation over their hero.

                Keep the faith fellow because FAQ knows….!

            • Nilanka15

              FAQ and p00ka are best friends now.  Cute.

              It’s like when Springfield’s Milhouse met Shelbyville’s Milhouse for the 1st time.

              “So this is what it feels like…when doves cry.”

              • p00ka

                Amazing isn’t it, what can happen when people put on their big boy pants and discuss the current topic, without something said 6 months ago being used to deflect it.

              • cesco

                lmao clowning on these niggaz.

              • Steve

                Maybe you’ll be the next one to make friends on here with Joshua Reynolds 🙂 🙂

          • sleepz

            And when he is getting picked by Andrea’s man and now has to wait to see what the big guy is going to do while he’s in no mans land?lol

            I’m not here to promote anyone’s defensive abilities on this team (other than Amir and Ed who I feel are solid all around defenders), but if Lowry’s defence is putrid there are a whole wack of starters who’s defence is beyond the most defiling word imaginable.

            You can rightfully criticize him for team defence last night as he was ‘wandering’ but there are players on this team who don’t even know what team defence is.

            • p00ka

              Oh, I’m far from saying the slack defense is all on Lowry, but when Destroll calls posters out for knowing/watching “shit”, while touting Lowry’s offense and defense….. I gotta say something about the blarney.

              • Destro

                but you arent saying shit cuz u dont know shit…instead you bullshit ur way thru stupidness such as assessing the reasons why someone rebounds lol….

                Sorry you dont follow breh but Lowry played a good game and thats why they nearly beat Denver…too bad u didnt watch you woulda clearly saw it…

          • Destro

            lol @ analyzing the whys of rebounding…

          • Destro

            No biggest cause is ur fav player….thats where it starts and ends friend…

            So the fact he rebounds doesnt matter now its HOW you get the rebound that matters ? smh

            Id expect that from a bargnani dickrider….Guess what dummy thats how you rebound by leaving ur man to grab the ball…*finger to cerebral cortex*

            • p00ka

              Are you really as dumb as you post on here, or just playing DesTROLL games? You’re a fine example of why I’m in favour of human herd culling before you can breed more of you defective idiots.

      • voy

        i’d like to know these “ton” of games lowry lost us, single handedly.

        • Daniel

          You realize we are 2-10 with Lowry on the court and 2-4 without him, right? of those 2 wins, Minnesota was decimated and the “bench” won the Suns game. You realize we are 27th defensively this year after being 13th last year with the “pylon” and the “Primo pasta”, right?

          • voy

            well, I guess that settles it.  the tandem of jose and lucas is a better pg combo than lowry and jose.  beating nba monsters like orlando without lowry is definative proof.  we have a large enough sample size to consider this as scientific proof. argument over guys.

            plus the fact that lowry is on the team this year when the raps are 27th defensively is also definative proof that jose is better than lowry defensively.  thats a pretty sound case.  without lowry we would be 13th defensively.  with lowry we are 27th.  clearly, we dont need to look at the efforts of any other player.  lowry is the sole reason we are 27th in the league.  just like lowry is the sole reason we lost a ton of games this year. case closed.

            I look forward to more of your “lowry is a streetballer” and “demar doesn’t have an advantage over any other nba player” posts. 

            leafs all the way in 2013.

          • sleepz

            It was already noted that there is a possible (definite imho) correlation between that ranking and Andrea Bargnani missing half a season of basketball.

          • et-man

            I absolutely agree with Daniel and have been saying it all along. The announcers love hustle guys and are trying to sell us Lowry as some sort of pit bull on the court. I just don’t see it.  Lowry is a horrible passer and never thinks to pass first. He always without fail looks to dribble past 5 players and shoot first leaving his teammates watching and scrambling to get back into position when he inevitably turns the ball over.

            He made some tough shots last night and I give him credit for that but he certainly didn’t shoot a good percentage.

            Look at Lowry’s defence. Other quick point guards fly by him drawing help defence only to leave an opposing player open for a dunk or an open shot. Really, what has he done defensively other than try and go for steals which look good when it works but you are playing the odds against you.

            Jose played horrible last night but when he was starting instead of Lowry, he controlled the game much better and gets the other players involved.

            Another thing that really bothers me is the announcers. As a rule Jack Armstrong and Leo never fail to point out mistakes by Bargnani but when other players like Lowry take terrible shots or make stupid plays they say nothing. 

            Raptors need to pass more and have some kind of consistency rather than run and gun. How many games has the run and gun won us this year? Not many.

            The point of this whole discussion is that it is not solely the fault of one player that the raptors are worse than last year. We are being sold Lowry as the saviour and obviously he isn’t because it’s a team game and everyone needs to be involved.

            It’s just my opinion. 

        • voy

          i still would like to know these tons of games that lowry lost us single handedly.

      • enlightenment

        Lowry is great at defending the post up. He had a few really good defensive possessions last night. Though I agree his perimeter defense sucks hard, it is because he continues to try for the steal (this is usually an issue as the defense scrambles). I guess it might be smarter for him to go for the steal though, even if he does rotate back fast enough, how is a 6’0 point guard supposed to contest a jump shot?
        He needs to be as quick as Ed though, when Ed helps, he immediately goes to body his man right afterwards. Lowry needs to learn to play the passing lanes, and still be able to cut off the penetration in time.

      • voy

        i mean, the argument “the scorers aren’t scoring well enough because of (the presumption that) the pg is not giving them the ball enough, or in the right spot, or in rythm” is pretty hilarious. 

        if you want andrea to score more easily you should be advocating that he back that ass up close to the basket rather than try to beat his man off the dribble from 23 ft away rather than blame the pg.  either the guy is a scorer or he isn’t.  either he is scoring well or he isn’t.  you cant expect a team to cater to a 7fter who wants the ball at the 3 pt line and then complain lowry isn’t giving him the ball in the right spot thats why bargs’ shooting % is so low.  maybe you want lowry to box out bargs man too so andrea can grab a few boards as well.  lowry checks off more boxes at the pg position than bargs does at either the 4 or 5 spot. 

        I cant understand someone who has watched jose for the previous few years and then be critical of lowry’s defence because the “bigs are left scrambling”. 

        you blaming lowry for the team’s lack of wins is just a indefensible position.  for 6 mill this year and 6 mill next year the guy is great value.

        • FAQ

          If Lowery’s stats were 4 pts. and 20 asts. would that contribute and even assure a Raptor win?

          t.h.f.’s ‘love’ Kyle because he drives and scores and fulfills their delusional fantasies while wearing his jersey and shoes … and even his shorts covering their fat arses..!!

          • voy

            wrong. if you ask anyone who likes lowry why they like him, I bet scoring wouldn’t crack the top 3 things listed.

            • Dan

              I personally like him because he is aggressive and willing to go to the basket. He forces the defense to react to him. When a guy is going to get a dunk or lay up  he will foul them hard rather then get out of the way he brings a toughness this team is missing. I’m sick of watching Joses passive play. His assists are misleading because if you didn’t watch the games and saw the box score you would think he is a good play maker. He over dribbles and kills the shot clock and allows the defense to always set before he tries anything. Lowry just being the opposite of Calderon is what I like best.

          • sleepz

            Jose has been killing the assist-turnovers for how many years now?

            How many more games has that won the Raps?

            • Destro

              ZERO !

              Ast/to ratio is fools stat….its similar to the ol it doesnt matter who rebounds as long as someone does it line….same posters touting the same crap…

      • RapsM

        Isn’t Lowry one of our team’s best rebounders?

  • sitnonDfence

    “The Raptors sickening tendency to help on every single play shifted the defense till it cracked”and this: “Lowry leaving Lawson on the side for a wide-open three”
    Amen. First two denver posessions were Lowry cheating  and leaving Lawson open for back to back threes. I though we were upgrading for a defensive-minded guard?

  • Valit

    I quite agree with your assessment of the game; before all the knives are out in stabbing player X ( AB) or player Y (Jose), this was a game where finally I could see something different from the Raps. I thought Casey “played” very well by managing guys minutes, slowing the tempo and going in the end with the combination which brought him back in the second half. When people are asking why we didnt play more so and so, they forget that fatigue IS a big factor ( specially in Denver) and once a player is gassed , he’s of no use to the team ( reason in my opinion why we lost 3-4 games so far). Let’s not forget that these guys are humans and not robots and it’s so easy to yell at them from the couch with a beer or two in our hand. Having said that, 2 things that bothered me for a while now and they were mentioned here before;
    – The desire to overhelp; I understand that the point of attack cant be contained ( Lawson and Miller could not be stopped by anybody last night  not just Jose) but there must be some antidote in a team arsenal that we can deploy to make it more less harmful. I’m sure we are not the first team in the history of NBA with such a problem. As a matter of fact, most PG’s in NBA can not be guarded one on one.
    – Kyle- I understand he brought something new that we didnt have in a PG before; I understand that because of him we crawled back last night; Having said that, the idea that he has to go mano al mano against the other team will never work. He needs to trust more his teammates  and I dont care if Ross or AB, or Kleiza misses the winning shot, in the long term it will a much better proposition.
    one more thing…Watching Open Gym…made me realize that besides basketball these guys ( or at least some of them) have to participate in other PR activities and a season is really a looong and arduous  affair.

    • Theswirsky

      “The desire to overhelp”

      Successful NBA defenses are built on help D and rotating. The problem is the entire team needs to do it, they need to communicate, they need to rotate and everyone on the floor needs to be confident that their teammates will do that. This has been the Raptors problem for half a decade now and why they are consistently one of the worst defenses in the NBA… not enough players on the floor do it, and in the end its the equivalent of the team playing 5 on 4 or 5 on 3.  (Has no one seemed to notice the relationship between Andrea missing half a season and the Raptors best defense since he was put in the starting line up?  Do people honestly believe that was just chance or coincidence?)

      While individual possessions can be looked at anyway one wants (and I’d rather give the 28% 3pt shooter open looks than give up a bucket in the paint) the lack of help defense through proper rotations and recognition is the the root problem with Toronto’s defense.

      Successful NBA defense aren’t as good as they are because they have a team of individual defenders locking guys down. As you mentioned the point of attack isn’t going to be contained.  Trying to defend side to side and front to back while reacting to another player can only be done through a combination of anticipation, ridiculous speed and good length – in other words rarely.  Yes a team may have their top perimeter defender help in that regard (something Toronto does not have), but teams are successful because they play as a team. Something Toronto does not do.

      • Theswirsky

        just so you know that wasn’t exactly directed at you Valit. A bit of rant towards the number of people talking about one on one perimeter D being the problem.  A little too much of the fan base listening to Jack Armstrong going on last night I think.

        • Valit

           I actually agree totally with you…my English is not my first language so sometimes my thoughts are not very clear.

          • Theswirsky

            no it was fine.  I actually just meant to expand on your thoughts and questions, not rebutt them

      • cesco

        I am incredibly puzzled by the fact that the ‘experts’ here think that the defense is bad when Andrea is on the floor yet Casey played him 40 minutes ( and will probably play him another 40 to-night ) . Anyone has an answer to that puzzle or is it simply the fact you can only win if you  outscore your opponent no matter how well you defend . If Andrea goes to a team like LA for example , of course he will not be needed for 40 minutes in order for the team to win  .

        • Nilanka15

          It would be wise to never use Casey’s minute distribution as any form of crutch.  This is a man who thought that starting McGuire (i.e. an unemployed bum), was a good idea.

          Player rotations are clearly not Casey’s specialty.

          • Brain Colangelo

            McGuire was the 3rd stringer at SF and 5th wing.  You can’t put that on Casey except as a decision of McGuire over Ross.  I don’t like the decision but it’s not as if Ross had earned a starting role.

            Blame BC and injuries.

        • Theswirsky

          I’m incredibly puzzled why people think an appeal to authority is some how a logical argument.

        • Statement


        • Statement


          Man, you truly are the trolliest troll that ever trolled.

      • NyAlesund

         Tell me about Lowry and his insane reason why he left Lawson……..for what…

        Tell me why we are seeing DeRozan gambles like his bro Lowry. Tell me why we do not have a decent rotations, discipline…….. nothing resembles a good team defence.

        But all the stuff is..”without AB the our defence is better………….”

        • Theswirsky

          without Andrea the team defense is better.  Its been seen and proven time and time again. 

          Others also make mistakes, and there are other subpar defenders on this team.  But the single biggest culprit to this teams inability to defend is Andrea.  And its not just the help d, its the rebounding which leads to 2nd opportunities for the opposition.

          Removing him from the picture doesn’t immediately make this team a good defense team.  Even last year at their best this team was only average defensively.  But you aren’t going to have a consistently good defense with him playing significant minutes.

          • Nilanka15

            Yeah but he’s a matchup NIGHTMARE, you raycess fawk!

          • Statement

            Ding ding ding,

            We have a winner.

      • mountio

        Did you watch how Den defended us last night? Brewer made DD shit his pants everytime he dribbled outside the three point line. We had many possessions where we struggled to hand off / reverse the ball well outside of the 3 point line! Thats how you play D. Thats how you create turnovers and get fast break points. And, despite the tight, agressive perimeter coverage, our guys were barely able to penetrate (lowry finally figured it out in the 4th).
        I agree with you that our overall defensive scheme has major issues. But, it starts with the matador defense on the peremeter (and lack of ball pressure), which forces our poor interior defenders to rotate, and our even poorer 2nd rotater to help ..

        • Theswirsky

           I’m not saying having good individual defenders doesn’t help.  Any time you can make everyone else’s life easier you are a step ahead of the game.   What I’m getting at is that having nonstop shut down one on one defense isn’t realistic, and thats why its team defense that makes the difference

        • Dan

          Anyone who makes Demar dribble outside the three point line is going to have success against him. He is a very weak ball handler. Unless his spot up shot is falling his most effective area is in and around the paint. Where he can just take one bounce and attack. Anymore then that and you get fadeaways and turnovers.

    • FAQ

      During the Phoenix Suns game, Jack Armstrong made a telling comment saying that the Raptors were playing as  individuals rather than a team. 

      During the Denver game, I saw a glimmer of team play mostly offensively and sometimes defensively.  They really had to increase their level of intensity to stay in the game, but they couldn’t sustain the pressure.

      Hopefully, these experiences will help in their deevelopment, because I sense the players would like to win a few games not only for the fans but also for their self-respect and professional reputations/future earnings.

       Raptors are handicapped by lack of immediate talent and low b-ball IQ… with the latter being predominant when compared to the competition.

  • j bean

    Tough losses can build character if lessons are learned and changes are made. If tough losses keep happening for the same reasons either the coaching is suspect and isn’t holding players accountable or players don’t have the ability or willingness to change. If this organization doesn’t figure out how to work together for 4 quarters the only character being built is bad. 

    • Nilanka15


      The Raptors have not shown any semblance of “improvement” since Halloween night.  It’s the same team it was 18 games ago.  Not a single lesson learned from all those close losses. 

      • Matt52

         I would argue they are a worse team despite an improvement in talent.  At least last year’s team played solid defense. 

        Frustrating is an understatement for this team.

        • Daniel

          Same old riddle, eh? You, the super-optimist in the off-season? What improvement in talent: we are practically starting Bayless, Fields had not been better than Johnson, and 2 rookies in the rotation that are finding their way in NBA and that are being eaten alive by all the opposing veterans? How could you have believed that organizations like Memphis (very successful recently) or the Knicks (very rich) would have let go real talent? Morey and Dolan know talent when they see it. Jonas and Ross may prove to be superior talent however nobody really knows. You believed the management and the media hype machine because you wanted to and you mistook hope for critical thinking and reality.

      • Dan

         One positive so far seems to be Ross’s improvement. He plays with a bit of that swagger and smoothness that good players have. At some point they need to start letting him iso more and see what he can do. This team lacks guys who can get their own shots and he looks like he will be able to do it on a regular basis.

        •  I agree with giving Ross more reign on isos. I’m all for giving players
          legitimate chances to succeed. Look what it did for Jeremy Lin.
          Personally, if I were Casey, I’d start Kleiza at SF for at least a
          half-dozen games to see what he could do if the coach showed some belief
          in him. I just have a feeling that Kleiza might prove valuable if given
          close to starters minutes. His Per48 numbers were never that bad. He
          has demonstrated his talent many times before in particular games where
          he got hot. With Fields and Anderson out I would have though now was the
          perfect time to try this.

          I’d still try to find Ross minutes, but he is a rookie and shouldn’t be made to felt like too much depended on him. Slowly is best. The Raps aren’t gonna win anything this season, that’s for sure. But I hope they keep some continuity in this group, though I’d think Bargs and/or Calderone definitely should be traded.

  • JIm Socks

    We should have a ton of character. What should we use it for?

  • Roarque

    So the first language on this team is? Italian? French? Lithuanian? Spanish? American? English? (Yes, there is a difference) But they need to “communicate” on defense, right? Has anyone thought about this communication issue?

     Imagine standing at Bay and Queen and the person beside you hollers Regardez! – What do you do in that split second before a taxi jumps the sidewalk and takes out your hip? Now, what if he’d said Watch Out!?

    Well maybe you’d have a better chance to react.

    We need to think about getting these new-to-the-Raptors Euros thinking instantaneously in a language I’ll call “Basketball”. When JV and Pietrus and others can think in this new language then they’ll be able to communicate effectively. Remember, they studied basketball not english or street american when they were growing up.


    • Nilanka15

      I guess the refs don’t understand either when Pietrus yells, “et une!” whenever he gets hacked without a call….

      • FAQ

        Now that he’s in bilingual Canada, he might pick up some quebecois ‘joual’… like “tabarnak” when commenting about the reffing. 

  • FAQ

    I too was surprised at the 4th quarter resurgence by the Raps, and in the oxygen-deprived atmosphere of Denver.  It was an inspiring performance mixed with occasional blunders that cost them the game.

    Dare I say “hope”..??!!!

    • Nilanka15

      “Hope” is what t.h.fs hang their hat on.  Don’t resort to the level of those dirty peasants…

      • FAQ

        Now, now, Nilanka …. no ‘hope’… no ‘wins’… no t.h.f. orgasmic happiness..!!!

    •  This is true. Last season hanging tough for close losses against good teams was widely cited as reason for optimism. But this season, the Raps aren’t being given the benefit of the doubt much by their fans. It seems too much was expected, or more likely, it was expected too impatiently.

      This is a really new team as far as its composition. Most good teams have kept some continuity, but there were a lot of new faces this year (and last, and before that). I think there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. There must be something fundamental the Raps are doing right if they can frequently hold their own against good teams despite looking like they don’t know what they are doing. I mean, they often look to me to be “outplayed” by the talent of the opposition, but somehow manage to keep the score close or even stage runs late in the game as we just saw. And it’s not because of high shooting percentages by our starters, that’s for sure.

  • tiredrapsfan

    Seriously, Lowry was getting way too much love, he is a backup PG at best, a chubbier less effective Ben Gordon. He is not the franchise saviour.

    Yes, we need a total rehaul. Not a single all star calibre player on this team.

  • knowledgep

    yeah we should’ve tried to sign Steve Nash…

    • arsenalist

      Props for not saying “should of”.  Pisses me off when people do that.

  • Statement

    So with the schedule theoretically easing up, do you guys still think that 38 wins is doable?

  • Statement

    Also, I’ve got to say that I was digging Ed Davis and Bargs playing together yesterday.

  • Statement

    We should continue to start Jonas though, so that we can give him experience and help guarantee a top-3 protected pick.

    Also, start Ross and move Demar to the 3.  Let’s tank this mf’er proper.

    The easing of the schedule does worry me however, it brings us closer to coughing up our pick.

    Can somebody help me out with this.  Jose’s contract comes off the books next year, so that should theoretically be $10 million to play with.  However, did Bryan just turn around and give that flexibility to Demar?  If so, ugh…..this team will be the team next year as well.

    • sleepz

      If they end up giving up their pick (which is bound to happen imho) then this team will be exactly the same next year with little roster turnover barring a trade.

      It’s not good to spend time thinking about this.

    • WhiteVegas

      Barring trades this will be the same team next year. There will be quite a bit more flexibility the season after next, but we may use the space to resign Lowry. In 2015/16 everyone will be off the books except Jonas, DD, and Ross.

      Our long-term contracts (Jonas, DD, Ross) look pretty good. Unfortunately, we need trades if we want to improve the cast around them before the 2015/16 season.

  • big boi

    Lowry is not the problem. Bargnani continues to be the problem, plus over rotation of Jose. Jose sb back up pg, and only on floor as sg for certain offensive situations. Jose can’t guard anyone. Bargnani is so selfish offensively, and contributes nothing else. I’ve supported him in the past, but I’m done with Andrea. The franchise would be better off getting a solid defensive pf back. We need to move on.

  • big boi

    Also, were Vancity fans going to meet for a beer? New Year?