It almost feels weird to write up a full post-game breakdown on this one, mainly due to the fact that the Raptors essentially gave the game to Golden State with defence that became increasingly lackadaisical as the game went on. On top of that, our leading scorer and rebounder was Aaron Gray, who finished with 22 and 10 – I mean, is this real life?

That all being said, let’s do our best to pinpoint exactly where what seemed to be a winnable game for the first 3 quarters (heard that one before?) got away. As for the Quick Reaction and player grades, click here if you missed them last night.

My first impression as the game began was that we were in for a shootout, and to some extent, that was what we ended up with, save for spurts (the 102 points is the 3rd highest total the Raps have had this year in a regulation loss). The Raptors’ defensive woes, though, didn’t begin on the perimeter, as many expected – instead, Golden State was content to run their possessions through David Lee and the returned-but-hobbled Andrew Bogut, doing the majority of their scoring in the paint and in transition in the first half. As Blake’s pointed out in his pre-game posts numerous times, the Raptors are actually surprisingly effective when it comes to iso defence, and that was quite evident early in the game as the Warrior wings looked to create their own shots off the dribble in the half court, rather than drive and dish or swing the ball around the perimeter. The Warriors – the most prolific 3-point shooting team in the NBA this season – ended the first half shooting just 2 for 9 from the perimeter, which was both a sign of strong perimeter defence from the home squad and a scary premonition of things to come.

With the Warriors struggling from long range, you’d think the Raptors would have a comfortable lead going into the tunnel at the half, yet the game was tied at 52 largely due to some sloppy transition defence. The Raptors ended the first half with 5 turnovers – not an awful number, but their major issue was returning to their own side quickly after shot attempts (either makes or misses). It seemed like every second Raptors possession ended with Golden State moving the ball through the Raptors’ lane, and multiple defenders being slow to return (Ed Davis being a prominent culprit). It’s also important not to forget the contributions of David Lee in the halfcourt, who was basically unstoppable in the first half, finishing with 15 points and scoring on seemingly whatever he wanted. The Raptor bigs have had trouble with floor-stretching floors all season, and last night was no exception on that front.

Also Read: Sources say Raptors in “active trade discussions” for Rudy Gay

There were quite a few positives to take from the first half, though, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Despite being outrebounded in the first half (an expected Raptor advantage) and going just one for eight from long-range themselves, the Raps managed to shoot themselves to 52 points thanks to some slick passing and an unexpected contribution on the offensive boards from Aaron Gray (4 in the first half). Gray’s huge night was largely due to some great drive-and-dish plays in the lane, particularly from DeMar DeRozan, who set a career high in assists and had a great night distributing the basketball, if not finishing himself, but he does deserve credit for putting himself in position to take advantage of a size mismatch when Bogut left the game, hogging the ball down low and making the four foot bunnies that he seems to miss on a regular basis. I don’t want this column to be thousands of words of me waxing poetic about my favorite goofy seven-foot doppelganger, but 9 for 12 shooting is pretty damn efficient, and a good percentage of those were second chance points (6 offensive boards for the game).

The second half began largely how the first half ended, with the Raptors riding hot shooting from mid-range and the Warriors running their offense through David Lee. As the 3rd went on, the Raps, particularly DeRozan and Anderson, began to drive the ball through the Warrior lane and exploit Lee’s still below-average defence – nice recognition of an advantageous matchup from the Raptor bench as Golden State wings began to increasingly hound the home squad on the perimeter. Unfortunately for Toronto, though, a continuation of the slow start from the Warriors’ infamous “Super Splash Brothers” was just too much to ask for, and back-to-back 3s from Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry (who left the game in the fourth with an ankle injury), followed by a Curry steal/layup, left Golden State up 9 points and the Raptors in battle-back mode for the rest of the game.

It wasn’t necessarily at this point that this was most glaring, but the Raptors really could have used Kyle Lowry in tonight’s matchup. Jose’s difficulties fighting through Warrior screens and Lucas’ general inability to play any semblance of perimeter D became increasingly glaring as the Warriors heated up, and even with the Raptors experimenting with a zone to hide Lucas, the Warrior guards (not just Curry and Thompson, but Richard Jefferson and Jarret Jack as well) continuously exploited whoever was on his side of the court while he was out there, whether it be driving and kicking for 3s or just posting him up. It was clear tonight that the Raptors were a better defensive team when in a man set against this Warrior team (again, pointing to their strong isolation numbers), and being forced to change out of that in the 3rd quarter (and to start the fourth) seemingly with the express intent of hiding their point guard, went a long way in determining how this game finished up.

Also Read: ESPN Insider – Boston/Toronto Trade Speculation

Despite a Jose shooting spurt that brought the Raptors within 2 points at the end of the 3rd, the game was essentially decided after the aforementioned Warriors’ spurt. Scoring points in bunches can have a real effect on a team’s psyche, particularly one that’s been beaten down as much as our Raptors have this season, and the fourth quarter featured both the offense and defence of a team that had already been finished off. Take a look at the Raps’ fourth quarter shot chart:

Raps shot chart fourthYes, that is a total of TWO makes inside the paint. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – this team is at its best when it’s driving and kicking, moving the ball around the perimeter, and making the extra pass to cutters – and at its very worst when its offensive possessions involve early-in-the-shot-clock mid-range jumpers, which is basically all we saw for the duration of the fourth quarter. At least that offensive strategy paired really well with increasingly disinterested perimeter defence, as the Warriors seemed to get whatever shots the wanted, whenever they wanted, down the stretch.

There isn’t much argument that the Raptors have been one of the NBA’s hardest luck teams this season, and yet, through all their difficulties, they’ve always played hard and finished the game with effort and intensity (if not results). Tonight, more than any other night so far this year, it seemed as if all their bad luck had been beginning to catch up to them mentally. Two and a half great quarters, and one and a half dismal ones – that’s all it takes to sink you against a playoff team, and, unfortunately, that’s what we’ve seen far too often this season.

  • BCBargnaniJoseCaseyGots2Go!!!

    Wow, is this what the Jay Triano coaching era (Casey said his coaching regime is a continuation of Jay’s not a change thereof) was preparing us fans for?

    One, two, three
    Everyone say #FireBC

    • BCBargnaniJoseCaseyGots2Go!!!

      And why doesn’t Jose foul people in the open court instead of escorting them to the basket for a lay up time & time again?

      Is he afraid to make someone earn the 2 points at the ft line?

      Is he too scared to foul or give a hard foul on a breakaway?

      • Buddhafan

        you absolutely, retarded cocksucker. I haven’t visited this sites comment section in about a year, and ‘lo and behold, you still have a vagina, bitching about this and that, get a life dude.

  • Destro

    Give Aaron Gray a new deal (4 yrs 40 mil)

    • Arsenalist

      The next guy in line for a deal is Alan Anderson, not Gray.  It won’t be 4yr/40M, more like 3yr/$18M.  Much more reasonable.  

      You got to like how, when the Warriors deployed a 1-3-1 zone in that second quarter, the Raptors responded by taking jumper after jumper, bringing the warriors back into the game. There were weak spots in that zone EVERYWHERE and Anderson continued jacking it up from long range.   I don’t understand how me watching on TV can see that problem, and even Jack Armstrong noticed, but Casey did not do anything about it.  

      Don’t get me wrong, I like Casey as a coach as he brings out good effort in guys and that’s #1 for a coach for me, but how that stretch, where you’re literally taking bad shots by the very definition of the term, goes uncorrected is a mystery.

      • Daniel

        Arse, at what point you start to match the evaluation with the expectations?I also used to like Casey however now I’m totally sour on him. The middle of the floor was open and nobody flashed in the middle. Our plays are mechanical. Lately teams are blitzing Jose very high and nobody can make plays consistently. Derozan is starting to find the bigs inside however that’s about it. All our perimeter players are chuckers with the exception of Fields who’s afraid to shoot. Casey is not making subs during time-outs as if he doesn’t want to upset anybody. He must be stubborn as well because I can’t believe stuff that’s obvious to the average basketball fan is not noticed by somebody in the coaching staff.
        More importantly, there are no adjustments defensively. Teams are putting us in a lot of screen action because they know we gamble. We don’t employ “box and 1” or some other mixed zone coverage to take advantage of our mobile bigs. Casey is almost always one step slower than the game and it cost us dearly.

      • Destro

        I trust this team is going to hoist jump shots most of the time regardless of what the defense is doing or what the flow of the game or there offense dictates….and Anderson might get 6 mil per season i hope its not us…

  • Valit

    I’m afraid All-Star break can not come soon enough.  The guys were really, really tired ( mentally and physically)  and all these injuries ( a whole team) is taking its toll. I’m really surprised that guys like Jose, Demar or Ed are not injured by now. We can blame Casey all we want for not using sooner the starters, but you can not obtain results by beating  a dead horse;
    Regarding all the trade rumours, I say get rid first of one  Brian Colangelo  and then try to come up with a vision for the next 2-3 years. Apparently we have the pieces but we are missing a team which reminds me of the first Communist brothel which have great organization but no women.

    • why

      On one had, and others likely disagree, my view is that when they didn’t fire Colangelo after the Bosh debacle they essentially reset the clock on his tenure and that he should be given the opportunity to continue with the  rebuild.

      On the other hand Jeff Blair seems to believe that MLSE has made the decision to not renew Colangleo – if that is the case what is the point of continuing with him to the end of the seaon? Let Stefanski be interim GM until year end.

      • sleepz

        Letting Stefanaski take over GM would be like having Colangelo stay aboard.

        You must also remember BC is team president. If they are going to let him walk they will wait until the end of the season so that the parting is mutually agreed.

        • Sig

           Why’s that?

        • Destro

          if anyone in MLSE has any sense would they not be thinking maybe we might need to get rid of Bryan before he starts making foolish moves to save his job IE Rudy Gay….

          if i was making that decision i would not want a lame duck GM giving away our young players for contracts and then we can him a few months later….Id want to nix those deals before he can make em only way to do that is act early on our year end intentions…

      • The Truth

        I would prefer/hope that when they let him go they have a better option in the wings than sitting Stefanski in the job for god knows how long. Ideally they should be seeking candidates on the sly now…

  • Trade trade trade!!!!!

    I say do anything possible to land a name player like Rudy gay!!! If we had gay he would instantly be our best player and go to guy. With derozen and gay we would finally have respectable wings. I like Ed Davis but we have Amir and Jonas and enough bigs to get by. Getting an actual name player for the raptors isn’t easy and I say let Rogers and Bell spend some money like they did with the jays. Bring some star talent back to the raptor nation its been way to long!!! Actually Im not sure the raptors have ever made a trade for someone with as much skill as gay, maybe Charles Oakley but Jesus Christ it’s been a sad history of not so great talent. You can’t count on draft picks all the fuckin time !!!!!

    • Trade trade trade!!!!

      I’ve been a raptor fan since day one and ever since we lost Vince for nothing no respectable player wants to come up north and play here. Why would they?? It’s cold, none of their home boys would dare try crossing the border, and they get absolutely no national coverage. I’m sick if waiting for fucking draft picks to develop for 5 dam years to become mediocre. We don’t have super star young talent !! Trade trade trade but good luck getting players to want to play here. Respect to derozon to sign with us it seems he actually likes to play here, now lets sign a great player to play with him so we can actually maybe make the fuckin playoff in my lifetime !!!!

    • Destro

      With Rudy Gay were not much better than 16-29 and were still finishing 10-12th….and were also paying him 35 mil for the next 2 seasons….

      • The Truth

         Exactly. All the people clamouring for this trade will be the same ones back here bitching in 2 years when we haven’t improved significantly and a third of our cap space is locked up in one guy who is massively overpaid compared to what he actually brings.

        • cdub

          I’m ok with the trade if MLSE wants to go into luxery tax land and make some other moves as well.  I think you need to shop DeRozan if you get Gay and give Ross the 2 as he can actually shoot the 3 and defend.  A lineup of Gay Ross Lowry and then upfront you have bargs amir val and maybe someone else you got back for derozan.  Need another point in the mix as well Lucas doesn’t cut it.

  • ppellico

    is it me or do the nba players not get flu shots???
    I mean…why would you NOT get one if your life involved flying around and playing is tight groups for a living???
    Seems like every year we start a period where one or more payers goes down with the flu.
    Very weird.

    • Nilanka15

      The flu shot consists of one strain of flu only.  It does not protect against ALL strains of the virus.

      If you get a shot for “strain A”, and are exposed to “straight B”, the shot does nothing to help you.

      Every year, manufacturers of the shot attempt to predict what the most prevalent strain will be.  But there are many strains circulating at all times.

    • FAQ

      They need “ball” shots….

  • Sig

    Is there any way to revert back to the old font? This ones a little difficult to read, not a big fan

  • FAQ

    Garrett…. do you anticipate any improvement when Bargs, JonasV and Kleiza are healed and playing again or has the TRap current style of freewheeling play excluded some of them.. namely Bargs, Kleiza and even Lowry..??

  • vino

    The Raps lost to a superior team last night. The Warriors are an awesome squad! Healthy Curry and Bogut and they are better than the Griz in my world considering both their wings are still developing…

  • Jafa

    Hey Raptor Fans,

    Nets fan here but avid NBA fan.  Reading about the trade rumors for Rudy Gay.  (

    Why don’t the Raptors call Dallas and get them as the 3rd team in the trade?

    Raptors get Gay
    Mavericks gets Calderon
    Grizzlies get Ed Davis & Shawn Marion

    Dallas swaps the 2 year deal for a 1 year deal and more cap flexibility sooner, while Memphis reduces its payroll $5.6 million this year and takes back two players who expire 1 year before Gay’s contract.

    • DumbassKicker

      1. We’ll never know what 3rd party discussions took place, but we also don’t know if something like that wasn’t proposed. Maybe it was and teams turned it down.
      2. I can see Dallas turning it down. I doubt Cuban is ready to tell Dirk that they’re giving up on playoff hopes just yet, and that would effectively do that by dumping an integral part of their team as it now is formed, to get a 2.5 month rental of a PG that doesn’t know the team or it’s systems.
      3. If you don’t think Dallas values Marion more than Jose’s short rental, why do you think Memphis is going to value him and Ed more than Gay? I think they’re looking for more, including draft picks (that’s the rumour).