Damn, Landry brought his girl!

Damn, Landry brought his girl!

Hey, we’re back after another embarrassing, soul-sucking, GM-denies-there’s-anything-wrong-with-the-talent loss! How U, fans of other NBA teams?

Speaking of fans of other NBA teams, Jovan Buha of ClipperBlog was kind enough to answer a few questions about today’s impending ass-kicking from the Los Angeles Clippers. Jovan, for the record, is a former Grantland intern, current USC student (DeRozan what up!), and according to LinkedIn two people think he’s good at Sports Writing, which is two more than me. So yeah, listen to what he was to say.

Oh hey. Please take it easy on us. We can’t bare to talk about the Raptors anymore (or bear…we can’t bear to talk about them either), so why don’t you just walk us through what it’s like to have a shit-show franchise finally get GOOD? So we can dream.

Well, first, you need to draft a franchise-altering player (and the good kind, not the Michael Beasley/Hasheem Thabeet kind) and cultivate a group of young, under-appreciated players. Then, you need to somehow trade for one of the five best players in the world. After that, acquire a bevy of talented, veteran free agents and vuala, you have a championship contender.

It’s actually a lot more complicated than that, of course, but the gist is that it came down to a few ping pong balls; without Blake Griffin, the Clippers wouldn’t have gotten Chris Paul. Unfortunately, they’d still be one of the laughingstocks of the league. It’s weird how one make can change the fate of a franchise, as the Clips look to be contenders for at least the next decade with Griffin in tow and Paul likely to re-up too. There’s no better feeling than having the team you root for and enjoy be relevant, so I hope for Raptors Republic’s sake, you guys get there sooner than later.

Who has been more frustrating as a fan, Lamar Odom or Vinny del Negro?

Lamar Odom, by far. Two years ago, he was the NBA’s sixth man of the year and one of the best players on a contender. Today, he is far, far removed from that. He’s already lost 15 pounds and seems to be rounding into shape (no pun intended), so there’s a sliver of hope. If you watch the Clippers — and he’ll likely show it in today’s game — you’ll see glimpses of the old L.O. He can still pass and rebound, and can make those brilliant plays that few guys his size can. If he can get back to 60 or 70 percent of what he was, the Clippers may be the favorite in the playoffs out West.

Del Negro, on the other hand, has done a much better job this season. While there are still some qualms with the minutes, mainly with Eric Bledsoe’s playing time, it seems the right guys are playing for the most part. I don’t necessarily agree with his platoon style rotation — the starting and bench units rarely ever mix for more than a few minutes — but this team is playing much better defensively than last season and there’s a lot more consistency lineup-wise.

Free Eric Bledsoe?

Has this grown to ‘Occupy L.A.’ proportions yet? Practically everybody in their right mind loves this guy and wants to see him out there for 25+ minutes per night. Right now he’s hovering around 18 per game, which is just too low. Look at his PER! It’s 22.4, which is third-best out of all point guards; he trails only Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, who are clearly two of best PGs in the world.

This kid is magic — I call him a kid even though he’s almost three years older than me — and can infinitely change a game without scoring a single point. Only a handful of players have in the league have the same defensive impact as him. He’d be starting on probably half of the teams in the NBA; there’s no excuse for him not to play more.

This game has “blowout” and “Jamal Crawford 40-piece” written all over it. Is there ANYTHING the Raptors might be able to try and exploit to steal a win at Staples?

There’s two things the Raptors need to do if they want to refrain from getting blown out: grab a lot of offensive rebounds and make a bunch of 3-pointers. Easier said than done, I know, but the Clippers make it relatively easy at times. That means a lot of shot attempts for Kyle Lowry, Jose Calderon and Mickael Pietrus (the Raptors’ top 3-point shooters). Ed Davis and Amir Johnson will have to be active and attentive inside; if Bargs can hit a few jumpers early on, the Clippers will have to come out on him, opening up the lanes to the basket.

In all honesty, this probably won’t be a close game; the Clippers just blew out the Suns, who are reasonably better than the Raptors, despite being tied with them virtually the whole game. The Clippers’ bench will likely be the difference-maker (as they have been a lot this season), so even if the Raptors’ starters keep it close, it won’t be for long. Still, the Clippers have already blown home games to Cleveland and New Orleans, so I wouldn’t put it past them.

As for a prediction: Clippers 108, Raptors 93.

Honestly, is anyone going to read a positional breakdown? It’s Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and a bunch of other guys who are way better than our players. Ugh, I digress, here you go…

Tale of the Tape
Offensive Rating: Clippers 109.3 (4th), Raptors 102.7 (21st)
Defensive Rating: Clippers 102.1 (7th), Raptors 109.4 (29th…yup, 29th)
Pace: Clippers 92.4 (15th), Raptors 92.3 (16th)
Strength: Clippers – Forcing Turnovers (1st), Raptors – Sucking the Life Out of Me (1st)
Weakness: Raptors – Basketball (worst ever), Clippers – Hacking (3rd highest Opponent FT/FGA)

Positional Breakdown
Point Guard – Kyle Lowry and Jose Calderon v. Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe
Advantage: Clippers.
Seriously, I have to break this down? It’s Chris Paul, who might be the best pure point guard in the entire NBA, and Eric Bledsoe, who has been so damn good in 19 minutes a night that every day I see a #FreeBledsoe tweet and field speculative trade offers for him every week in fantasy basketball. Kyle Lowry is so inconsistent game to game and play to play right now it’s hard to know what to expect, other than sour body language (for the record – I still love him, and think if the team can start to turn the corner he’ll be right back where he was pre-injury). Jose is Jose, and is going to get thoroughly picked apart by either guard when he’s in the game. It’s almost a shame Lowry and Calderon aren’t playing better, just because it’s such a treat to watch Bledsoe get after it defensively.

Wings – DeMar DeRozan, Mickael Pietrus, Terrence Ross and Linas Kleiza v. Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Caron Butler and Chauncey Billups
Advantage: Clippers
Chauncey’s back. Although he also missed Wednesday and Saturday’s games, so maybe I should list Willie Green instead. Green, for the record, is inexplicably playing 18 minutes a game even though, at just 6’1”, Bledsoe can probably capably guard some wings. If Chauncey plays, cool. If not, check out his B-Ref page pic and laugh at how he looks with hair. As for the other wings, DeRozan is at home, which historically hasn’t meant anything but maybe he’ll be fired up. He’ll need to be, because the Clippers have a steady stream of savvy veteran wings to throw at him to jam him up. Not a huge advantage in these spots, but a Clipper advantage nonetheless. Pietrus FTW though.

Bigs – Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas, Ed Davis and Amir Johnson v. Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Lamar Odom and Ryan Hollins
Advantage: Clippers
I don’t have an update on Boss’ dislocated finger, so if he can’t go expect to see Aaron Gray, who will undoubtedly be flying around your screen with high-energy hustle players. Just kidding, he’ll be awkwardly taking up space and looking like Garrett. Griffin isn’t having a great year by his lofty standards but is still a huge threat and a match-up nightmare for this team, while Jordan is a beast. In all likelihood, the Raptor bigs are going to be abused in this one.

The Pick
This is going to be UGLY. Clippers by 16.


  • cesco

    I don’t know if I do anyone any favor by saying that the game is at 3.30 pm on TSN . 

    • Lorenzo

       Thx

  • voy

    win or lose, at the very least what you want to see from your team is getting back on defense – no easy transition buckets. 

    I also wouldn’t mind if the raps explored the totally bizarre concept of sticking a player in the post.  I dont really want to see val getting 15 minutes because he got saddled with 2 early fouls.  if no one wants to do the dirty work or play close to the basket I’d rather see val play 30 minutes and foul out rather than have 5 guys all line up outside the 3 pt line trying to score while the other team jams it down our throats.

    another horrible effort like last time and I think bc may get close to pulling the trigger on what could end up being a deal based on emotion rather than strategic long term vision.

    I understand the sentiment but the reality of “trade everyone except player abc and xyz, I dont even care who we get back”, doesn’t do anything to benefit the team’s long term success.  you cant make any trade to try and salvage only this season.  any move the team makes has to be with an eye to the future.  I think jose simply coming off the books (or resigning for cheap) could be more valuable than the nba’s version of gary roberts coming back.  I think respectfully scaling back bargs’ minutes to 28ish a game is a much better option than simply trading him for gasol, until andrea finds his game or until a more favorable deal is available.  Just my thoughts

  • JHP

    It boils down to a lack of NBA level talent.  BC is the man responsible for the draft picks and trades.  Is he the best person for the job?  Right now the answer is no and he should be let go.  Not sure who to hire but they are losing with him and I’m sure they can lose without him!

    I think building a NBA contender without using the draft is not possible.  So why continually trade away your first round draft pick?  I guess after picking AB at #1 there is no need to pick again.  Every player appears to be a steal, that terms into a project and then does not work out.
     

  • Jamshid

    BC on the team:
    ““I don’t believe this is a talent issue,” he said. “I think it’s a lack of focus, attention to detail, consistency of competing. We’ve shown flashes of very good basketball, just not good enough to pull out games when we need to pull them out.”

    • tmk

      “I think it’s a lack of focus, attention to detail, consistency of competing…”

      Is that a subtle jab at Casey? I’m pretty sure the coach would usually be in charge of getting his players focused, competing, and paying attention to detail. 

    • ad

       What a fucking delusional idiot. Is he not watching the same team we are? IT IS a talent issue. Its not injuries or bad performance (except bargs). Its a TALENT issue which is critical in the nba.

    • JHP

      Of course it’s everyone but him.  God forbid if he made a mistake!  Sure looks likes he’s pointing the finger straight at the coach.  Guess we’ll have a new coach before the all star break :-(

      If BC gets an extension AB / Jose will retire as Raptors.  

    • Jamshid

      If you don’t think there is a problem, you will not do anything to fix it.
      The main problem with this team is TALENT … Real, Starting Caliber NBA Talent.

    • OneLuv

       I agree with BC, it is not a talent issue as Raptors have competed with some of the best teams in the NBA at times this year.  I also do not think it is only a coaching issue as the team has been able to make some successful second half adjustments against good teams and that is coaching. It is consistency and that is both players and coaching, but it is also needing time and I am willing to give this team some time before blowing things up (again!) especially to see what happens when Fields get back and we have both Pietrus and Fields.

    • KJ-B

      Honestly, he’s 1/2 right–the biggest lack of talent on the Raps is the HEAD COACH!!!!

      Dwane single-handedly lost the 1st game of the season by messing up the rotations and lack of end game adjustments and he hasn’t quit destroying the Raps from within ever since!

  • Scottbbaird

    Lets play defense like last year! Won’t make a difference, except it’ll be slightly less frustrating to watch.

  • Pleco

    LOLed at the Chauncey Billups pic

  • Sig

    Nice article Blake. I’m liking these Q&A’s.

  • BCBargnaniJoseCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Lob City 110 BC’s Raptors 93

    The truth is that this TDot Raptors basketball regime created by BC and led by Bargnani & Jose (the 2 longest tenured Raptors under BC) is past due for a change because no matter the mix BC’s basketball product still comes out lame year after year no matter the PR spins in the wind.

    The suffering of the fan base during the 2 3/4 seasons of the Triano era (after Sam was fired at 8-9) was supposed to prepare the Raptors organization to be in the playoffs by this season yet the Raptors are no where near the playoffs while currently giving up the most points per game in the NBA despite hiring a defensive minded coach.

    BC has built this team around AB post CB and hired coaches (Jay, Dwane) he could easily manipulate as yes men to coddle him post Sam- BC might as well coach the team he’s calling all the rotation shots anyways.

    BC’s fingerprints are all over this team going on 7 seasons this is his recipe- Bargnani aka Who Me?, for NBA success which has failed miserably as a team is a direct reflection of their best player for better or worse.

    New ownership- check.

    New Pres/GM…..

    New Coach……

    New players……

    New culture……

    ATLANTIC DIVISION STANDINGS

    NY 14-5

    NJ 11-7 (finished below Raps last season)

    BOS 11-9 

    PHI 11-9

    TOR 4-16

    • NyAlesund

       I still love AB……….

    • KJ-B

      When you disrespect the Game, the Game will disrespect you…what MLSE//BryCo/Case has done with -7 and no accountability will only fly for so long before there’s a revolt–Friday night was just the beginning…Could get REAL UGLY if they don’t come out ready to fight.  Clips R PHY-SI-CAL!!! 

      Let’s just hope that the Raps fight with the other team 2Day and not Casey and that former #1 pick! The clash of ideology and playing styles is coming to a head…

      Must-see-BG!!!

    • thatpeterguy

      You forgot new uniforms. Once the Raptors become the Toronto Huskies everything else will finally fall into place. 

      • Scottbbaird

        Ha!

      • Raptors all the way

        about The Huskies thing I don’t get why people, Raptors fans, seem so enamoured of that name. It’s not like Toronto- or all of Canada- is one big Yukon or the North Pole all over.… and how often does anyone even see a husky dog around the city? Hardly ever. So… why is it that some act like that should be the name? Because of a franchise that existed for a blink of an eye ( a year and a half or so) back in the forties and folded as soon as it began after no success? Or is it a Great White North thing, as if Canada hasn’t battled that image for so many years? Might as well call them the Igloos or some shit. 

        • mike, prague

          How often does somebody see a Husky?!…. Often does somebody see a Raptor? 

  • KJ-B

    My assessment/hunch for the game–ED Davis is gonna play huge + hopefully -7 rides the pine coming down the stretch–and if that rook TRoss has any star in him, he should shine bright in the City of Angels…DeMar will be DeMar and Lowry, hmm never know..will “get his” but will the team get “theirs”???

  • Gregast

    What’s the latest news on Landry Fields? I know this sounds lame but feed us a bone here – maybe he’ll return and be at 2010/11 form?  Yes, I am that desperate for a half full glass.

    Actually looking forward to watching two PGs play basketball – unfortunately they both play for LA.

  • FAQ

    Let’s look for the ‘positives’ in this game and maybe we will be surprised after that shellacking last game.  Every dark cloud has a silver lining… or some such shi*t.

    Rise up! Rise up! Rise up!!… Beloved Ratpors…!!!

    • p00ka

      Don’t you ever get tired of it? Or do you need the attention that badly?

      • FAQ

        Just getting a reaction from you makes my day ….LOL

  • Harry S. Truman

    F*ck the Raptors…take any chance you can get to catch the Clippers on cable TV – that team is a SPECTACLE.

  • BCBargnaniJoseCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Pietrus knee has already flared up will miss Clippers game- Raps medical staff gets the Gas Face as does BC for signing another injury prone player……wow.

  • thatpeterguy

    I feel like today, we’re gonna go right up to the big kid on the playground and we’re gonna slap him in the face and hope for the best. Eeeeeh. As long as nobody cries today I will consider that a positive to build on. 

  • Destro

    Why doesnt Bargnani dunk anything at the rim ? Hes the only 7 footer in the NBA who tries to finger roll everything…..Your 7 fckn FEEEEEt dunk that fckn ball…

  • Destro

    lol @eaea9c47603332be717188f10f99a8e5:disqus 
     BC calling this team youthful,ugh no Bryan there middle of the pack in age in then NBA smh….

    smh @ calling out Ed Davis for floating but not talking about THEE most obvious floater on the team….This is YOUR GM ladies and gentleman…

  • 122333

    I have made a plan for the raptors to succeed in the future.

    First we trade Jose to Dallas or Cicago for a 15-20 pick. Then we trade
    bargs to one of the better lotto teams (Portland, Indiana, Detroit
    etc..) for a pick in the 10-15 range. Then we deal fields as a salary
    dump for a late first rounder to a team like Golden State. Currently we
    have the leagues 3rd worst record, but the Wiz and Cavs will improve
    when they get their pgs back. Hopefully we get a top 3 pick, giving us
    the 3rd, 11th, 18, and 23 picks (estimates).

    We use our top pick on Shabazz, take a big man prospect with our next
    pick, draft Kabongo to play backup pg, and then take another prospect
    late in the first round. In the off season we resign lowry to a long
    term deal, and using our cap space freed up we sign Josh Smith or Paul Millsap to a max
    deal.

    We start the 2013-2014 season with a line up of Lowry, Demar, Shabazz, Smith, Jonas.

    I might also suggest firing Casey, as I was a big fan last year…but this
    year we are blowing late leads, getting blown out, and playing no
    defense.

  • Paul

    Where is Pietrus?

    • Destro

      tendinits in his knee

  • voy

    I see its taken no more than a few years married to khloe kardashian for lamar to let himself go and totally give up on life.

  • Destro

    1:30 – 3rd qtr pass under basket to D.Jordan guarded by Lowry
    Bargnani 10 feet from the basket guarding the perimeter….YUP !

  • KJ-B

    Terrence Ross got exposed. Ed Davis got wronged–was he being showcased?  Because TRoss is redundant when Fields gets back?  Only thing BryCo said that was correct was that they won too many games last year…How bout 1 too many–Harrison Barnes was lost on a coin toss!  Ross looks scared of the BiG City lights….why was he getting so much burn though??? 

    The GM needs to stop coaching this team ASAP!!!

    • p00ka

      Is there something in the water in Toronto that makes people progressively more stupid?

      • p00ka_is_a_fish

        You tell us bargnani fanboy, hows primo doing?

        • NiggaPlease

          Why are you such a hater, like hop off his Dik. Sheeeit 

      • Jamshid

        Instead of insulting anyone who has the smallest negative comment about this team’s performance, Why don’t you tell us what you think of the season, our records and our improvements after 7 years ??
        Don’t be shy, please share or you can go back to your routine of name callings and insults.

        • p00ka

          Would you like a big boy assessment, or a little boy one to validate yours?

      • what the

        you are the fish tell us

  • Destro

    That play for 48 mins thing failed again i see…..

    Fire BC and Casey

    Its a coming….4-21

  • rapsfan

    time to start playing the young guys and try to keep that pick.
    play demar at the 3 so we can play ross. Bench bargs for davis, and hope for  a top 3 pick

    • RaptorFan

      The Raps should make a play for derrick williams (minnesota timberwolves). He was the #2 pick in the draft last year and may get better with more playing time. Rumour is he`s unhappy with his playing time. Could kleiza and a 2nd round pick get him (we can take some player back to make it work)?

      I would trade Bargs and Calderon for draft picks if possible….

      Can we bring back Butch Carter?? Say what you want, but the man knows his basketball!

  • Jamshid

    The comment about too many wins was an interesting one !!! I am not sure how BC is planning to use Ross, Fields, Kleiza and Pietrus when Fileds is healthy ??!!

    To be honest, I am not eve sure if Fields will come back anytime soon. His so called ” Injury” has saved BC from criticism about the contract that he gave this summer.

    Any update on his status ?

    • Rob

      I still don’t think the injury saves BC from criticism, only if the SF was elite, or at least very good. Landry is neither.

    • cesco

      According to espn both Landry and Alan participated in shooting around on Wednesday , see http://espn.go.com/nba/injuries

      • Jamshid

        Thanks :)

  • Jose

    Watched the whole game this time. They tried to compete hard, they did not fold like they did in Utah – but the lack NBA calibre players on the team is obvious. No coach can fix this mess up.