For the first 36 minutes, last night’s game was hard to watch. Then, for about 10 minutes of the 4th quarter, it was an actual NBA basketball game; a total pleasure to behold. And then, in the final minute of the game, the refs called all that is good, honest and pure in the world and destroyed our collective belief in truth, justice and all things good and pure in this world.

The Big Things:

Last night’s game essentially ended when what should have been a clutch 3 pointer from Lowry at worst to huge 4-point play opportunity at worst somehow became the most phantom of phantom offensive foul calls, the basket waived off and Kyle Lowry given a technical foul for being justifiably upset and subsequently ejected. I don’t know what it is that Kyle Lowry did to make the league powers that be hate him so much, but they are making their point LOUD AND CLEAR. Kyle, if you’re out there, I don’t know who you need to apologize to or what for, but you just let me know and I’ll start putting together a kickstarter to cover the bribe/blackmail payout to clear this all up. Because it’s getting out of control.

Coach Dwayne Casey’s old man anger was both poignant and dead-on in his post-game press conference. He talked about this team’s struggles to stay motivated throughout the game against foes they think they’re better than. We’ve seen it happen time and time again this season. The Raptors played like they didn’t want to win for 3 quarters because they didn’t think that they would lose. This team thinks that they can coast through the game and then pull it off with a late push. But their insanely good 4th quarter stats (top 4 in every key defensive marker, and 1st place in most of them) shouldn’t be evidence to a mature team that they can coast through games getting by on their good looks (comeback ability/defensive intensity) alone; they’re not good-looking enough to pull that off long term. Even the Miami Heat often lose regular season games (or at least it’s often the case when they do lose) because they’re so confident in themselves that they coast until its time to pour it on late and pull out a win. Hell, the Heat have lost multiple playoff games this way! And the Miami Heat the Raptors are not. Coach Casey is right, this team needs to grow up and play entire games at their potential if they want to be taken seriously.

Sacramento looked defeated when the Raptors cut the lead to 8 points after a few shots of Novakaine. They are a team who expected to lose. But expectations don’t win games for Toronto or lose them for Sacramento. Toronto lost this game because of a combination of hubris and just plain laziness. And the refs hating Kyle Lowry as if he’s solely responsible for everything that’s happening in Sochi right now—but it never should have even gotten that far. This should have been a capable win for the Raptors, instead of an embarrassing loss due to a quite simply insane foul call.

The Little to Completely Trivial Things: 

  • If someone can lock Terrence Ross in a room and just force him to watch video of his soul-eating dunk on Kenneth Faried, he just might realize how terrifying of a scorer he could be if he just finished to the hoop with aggression. He’s playing too Canadian; too tentative. It’s practically polite. And it’s landing him a spot on the wrong end of Casey’s bench beside street clothes Landry Fields.
  • DeMarcus Cousins-Isaiah Thomas pick’n rolls are just the best. If you’re anything close to considering you’re a contender in the NBA, the Sacramento Kings should not be beating you. Between Thomas’ quickness and hesitation moves and DeMarcus’ rare ability to knock down the jumper and blow right by you to the rim with his freakish size and athleticism, any big man trying to contain that action pressing to the basket requires either a hand gun or the force to stop it. No matter who you are, that Cousins’-Thomas pick’n roll is going to put points up against you.
  • The Hayes-Patterson combo can’t defend the rim. But at least they play hard and maintain the team intensity on the court. “At leasts” don’t win you a whole lot of games on their own though.
  • Kyle Lowry is a top defender in this league. In the first half he got switched on to Rudy Gay off of a screen and was immediately trapped down low and out of position. Lowry was giving up 8 inches of height and a solid 30-40 pounds in size. But Lowry over-powered Gay for position and denied the entrance pass to the post that was meant for him. This guy is a beast.
  • Valanciunas rebounded well, but he did not get the best of things in his matchup against Cousins. At one point Cousins got Valanciunas to bite embarrassingly hard on a half-asses pump fake and drew a foul on the play. It seemed cruel; nobody wants people to bite on half-assed pump fakes more than Jonas, and nobody ever believes that his pump fakes are anything but a strange Eastern European pop-and-lock dance move.
  • Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan both came out wearing the same pair of vibrant purple shoes that looked unmistakably like they were playing NBA Jam and constantly holding the turbo button down. General Grievis rocked a lime green pair, which is helpful as it made it possible to finally distinguish between who was 1st player and who was 2nd player.
  • DryDry

    Uhhh, wot the f:

    According to…

    …as of Feb 1:

    Mark Ayotte: reffed ONE game this season (last season: 0)

    Eric Lewis: reffed ONE game this season (last season: 3)

    Michael Smith: reffed 14 games this season (last season: 4)

    Yep. Two of those rusty/new clowns wanted to put on a show for the new NBA commish.

    Or, this site has completely wrong, unreliable data?

    • Roarque

      Wow! That’s very interesting data. I could see how one member of a referee crew could be a newbie or a ref coming off injury and thereby somewhat ‘rusty’ in how they’re prepared to deal with the speed of the NBA game. But to have TWO refs in that situation put a lot of power in the hands of the crew chief, Michael Smith last night. The new commissioner (who looks like Homer’s boss at the nuclear power plant) had to watch that parade to the free throw line that would have put the most avid NBA fan to sleep now has to decide if those three refs will ever referee an NBA game again. Not fair to the two guys who’ve only worked one game this season. Michael Smith on the other hand needs to take a summer school course on how to manage an NBA game – Yikes!!

  • morgan c

    Yes, the reffing was terrible. Now, can we move past that (admittedly large) excuse, and talk about the Raptors?

    Worst performance of the year, bar none. Arguably the worst first half of basketball I’ve seen the franchise play. I know that sounds hyperbolic, but it’s really not. That was atrocious. I have no idea what the hell was going on with us, but we literally didn’t even play with effort on defense. That is inexcusable. These are games we really have to and should win if we want to get in position to win a round in the playoffs. After Boston, Charlotte, and Lakers, we don’t have excuse of looking past teams and “just laying a dud,” anymore. Amir needs to sit and rest for 2 weeks, starting last week. He’s not helping us when he’s out there, so he may as well sit and recuperate.

    Again, terrible reffing? Check. But it shouldn’t have mattered – worst performance of the year, and we were blown out by a shit team. The team should be embarrassed after their own play.

  • real2reel

    I’m wondering what the effects are from playing at high altitude for a rare – as in ‘not usual’ – few days and then coming back down to regular altitude. I know these guys are pro athletes and all, but a tough western road swing that includes Denver and Utah has gotta be that little bit tougher, no? Just digging for excuses for the lacklustre play, ya, maybe. But there’s no excusing the refs doing what *they* could to snuff out whatever chances we had fought back for, no matter how late that effort came. I love the NBA but sometimes, I very much do not.

  • why

    Slow starts seem to be a fairly regular occurance these days. I wonder if that is linked to Amir’s ankle woes (recently he has been ineffective more frequently that effective)? And if so, should he take some time off to heal – it is one thing to be a warrior, it is another if being a warrior is hurting the team.

  • Ion66

    I get ill when I hear Matt and Leo go on about how “They’re down 12, but you don’t see any panic in this team. They are so calm.”. What you see is a total lack of urgency and intensity on the part of a team that doesn’t worry till time is actually running out. This is not a good habit. I do this with my work, and it’s not a good thing. Trust me on this. Also, for this month, I’m going to cheer “offensive foul!!” instead of “Kyle Lowry, from downtown!!” on every made 3.

  • robertparish00

    I went to bed after I saw that shot of both JV and Hayes sitting side by side on the bench with 3 fouls each. Hard to win when your center is Psycho T.

  • ItsAboutFun

    I’m not one to blame the refs, but c’mon. Pretty hard to get off the starting blocks when you’re in foul trouble before anybody breaks a sweat. Talk about disrupting any chance at getting into a rhythm. Make that destroying! In the end, 51 effing FTs. Yeah, it’s easy to say the cliched “can’t rely on……whatever”. I do it myself all the time, but many of those calls were BS, especially the early ones that screwed any chance at a decent start. The insanity of the Kyle “offensive foul” was just icing on the cake. No wonder Noah went ape shit in the previous game, because last night it sure looked like the refs were determined to gift a win to the Kings.

    Oh well. Nothing to do but put it behind and move on. Go Raps!!!

    • kneeslapper

      I have agree that’s the way I saw it as well. The reason the first 3 quarters looked awful cause everyone was scared to defend. reffs put us on our heels from the get go. As soon as they called JV for his second for absolutely nothing I knew we were in for a meat grinder of a game. Reffs have a tendency to pull this crap on us when we play the bottom tier of teams. They did it to us in Boston and will likely continue to rob us this way in the future.
      Whether it’s done to keep these mismatches close or to actually cause their chosen team to win doesn’t really matter. In the end it’s bad news for sports in general. Because it was obvious to even the Kings fans what was taken place I would not be surprised to see the league in cahoots with bookies. Think about it a plain as day stickup like this one on the raps and the only thing we can do about it is get fined for bringing it to thier attention or be persecuted even further for just objecting to the abuse. Way to much free range power in the head office with no one to keep it in check. I’ll bet if they thought they were bugged or tapped you would see a lot of this bullshit disappear. Way to much money involved with an Nba game not to have outside influences at work. And for that reason someone should be monitoring the nba from the shadows.

      • Dave

        I think there’s more to the idea the league in cahoots with bookies. Why did Ontario have to remove NBA from Proline in order for Toronto to get an NBA Franchise?

  • The Red Fury

    Few thoughts.

    1. Isiah Thomas is fast. Reminds me of TJ Ford / Ty Lawson. Wow.

    2. Terrible terrible reffing. There was a play where Jonas (knowing he already had a number of fouls) backed off of DMC on a fade away under the rim late in the game and Jonas still got called for the foul. You could see in the replay Jonas backed off and made zero contact. Jonas looked like he was going to lose his mind. These refs were absolutely terrible. Someone should lose their job over last night’s fiasco.

    3. Raptors played terrible D and terrible O for 3 quarters. DMC was getting whatever he wanted. Looked as though everyone was scared to go into the paint for most of the game. No flow to the offense.

    4. Casey is right. They should not be joking around being chummy with their opposition in-game. Their heads just weren’t in it. If i’m playing against my buddies, I take no prisoners. We can have beers after the game.

    • Abused Raptors Fan

      JV is going to keep getting those kinds of calls until he establishes his reputation in the league. It seems to work this way for most bigs coming into the league, just look at how often Hibard or Robin Lopez used to get bs calls like that in their first couple of years

  • Age

    Casey was bang on when he said the players were too busy being friends, hugging, and saying hello to everyone, instead of being professional and taking care of the kings.
    this could have been a huge win as Atlanta lost and so did Washington putting us 5 games above 500.
    Showing their immaturity still.

  • daniel

    “If youre anything close to considering…”
    I’m not sure how that sentence fits into the theme of that paragraph…

  • Thomas Smith

    A terrible call? Hell yes! But let’s be honest, the Raptors no excuse to be down by twenty against one of the worst teams in the league. We have seen the raptors play big deficit ball too many times this season. Over the last 15 games the Raptors have lost to Celtics, Lakers, Bobcats, and Kings. There is no excuse for that.

    • Roarque

      Demarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas are all-star caliber players. When they’re poorly defended I could see where they could pile up some impressive points and last night they did. Did you notice their assist numbers as a team? Very low because the Kings play a lot of iso ball relying on the skills of their individual all stars. Perfect team for Rudy – his iso ball tendencies are masked by a team that LIKES to play iso ball. But they seldom win. Thus a last place team with three all-stars.
      The Raps need to understand that they cannot pull games like this out of the fire in the fourth – way too dangerous and now becoming our principal contributor to the loss column. They need to play defense for four quarters as energy sucking as good defense is, that’s the way the raps are going to beat the teams like the Kings.

      • Abused Raptors Fan

        I think last night made it pretty obvious that Ross’s 3pt shooting is essential for the starting units offensive flow. Without it, its far too easy to key in on Lowry and DD

  • Jose

    Raptors are not that good and cannot afford “slow starts”. They are just above .500 team in the weak East. With their current record they would not even be in the playoffs in the West (10th spot as of today).

    I understand that even top teams can lose to the worst teams some times, but losing to Bobcats, Boston and Lakers and now Sacramento in a short time span is quite concerning (in case they want to position themselves well for the playoffs).

    • Abused Raptors Fan

      I’m starting to get a little tired of the weak east bullshit against this team. First, the east has been much better of late. Second, the Raptors have played the most difficult schedule to date of all eastern conference teams, and had a more difficult schedule than many western conference teams. Finally, unlike some teams (see Mavericks, Dallas) the Raptors actually play better against good competition. So, playing out West could have actually improved their record. Also, being near the bottom of the playoff picture out West isn’t as big of an indictment against a team’s performance as being a bottom seeded eastern team sooo

  • CashGameND

    RR what do you think of my rebrand I just did last night. More of a third jersey then anything. Inspired by the jay hawks cream jerseys combined with our retro look.

  • Ds

    LOL at Ben McLemore: “I thought I had a great contest. I knew I didn’t foul him and I fell pretty hard and I knew I didn’t just fall on my own. I looked up, and the ref was calling the offensive foul.”

    Yeah, and it was Kennedy who shot Oswald.

    Read more here:

  • Matteemo

    This may just be the conspiracy theorist in me talking, but consider this:

    We all know enough about the officiating in last night’s game…

    Noah gets first fine under Silver reign for verbally abusing officials after a 3rd quarter ejection in a loss to Sacramento…

    Sacramento building a brand new arena despite rumblings that the team may relocate, Silver states he is determined to keep the Kings in Sac (link: )

    Silver is close friends with Sac owner and planning a trip to Mumbai together..

    How much would you bet Sac gets a top 3 pick in this years draft?

    • TDizzle

      Hey Matteemo, I think you hit the nail on the head. I’m sure Sac will get a top 3 pick. NBA is the most corrupt league in north american professional sports.

      • Matteemo

        It’s always bothered me that the Ping Pong balls are drawn off camera, then results revealed by opening envelopes on camera, the fact that there have been so many accusations of rigging the draft combined with the fact that they’ve never changed the process so that the drawing of the balls is publicly viewed pretty much confirms that it is actually rigged

  • Thierry Bertho

    Can you give us the Quincy Acy fade away glass shot please ?

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  • Louvens Remy

    What does being down 20 have to do with the shit call on Lowry? The Raps played like crap and the reffing contributed to the score being the way it was as well. The call on Lowry, stands alone and swung the game in a completely other direction. The NBA refs have been a joke for some time and will continue to be a joke. There is no fixing it, as long as there are “superstar” calls and you have to “earn” a foul. What the hell is that? What a joke of a system.

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