Toronto Sun – Raptors lose to Clippers to end west coast swing:

Then came Casey’s third quarter strategy. In the home where Hack-a-Shaq was popularized, casey went to Hack-a-Jordan as in DeAndre Jordan, the phenomenal rebounder who struggles much like Shaquille O’Neal did and Dwight Howard still does.

Casey didn’t feel like he had any choice.

“We had to do something,” Casey said almost apologetically. “Physically they were just manhandling us in the paint and we had to do something. I thought that changed the game a little bit.”

Physically the Raptors were just no match for the Clippers in the paint. The combination of Jonas Valanciunas’ youth and Amir Johnson playing on a wonky ankle called for desperate measures and that’s exactly what that Hack-a-Jordan strategy was.

Jordan went to the line eight times in the quarter converting exactly half of his 16 attempts. The deficit remained about the same while Jordan spent all that time shooting free throws, but the Clippers offensive rhythm was broken. By the end of the half a game that had been in LA’s favour to the tune of 22 points was down to a nine-point deficit.

Raptors HQ – Raptors No Match for High-Octane Clippers:

The 2 and 3 record from this road trip certainly isn’t atrocious, but Toronto should at least be coming home with another win and looks like a team that needs to do some regrouping, especially on D. Wins against the Jazz and Nuggets are fine, but the club overall just hasn’t looked very good. They gave up an average of 105 points per game on this Western Swing, a mark that summarizes the effectiveness of their defence of late, and post-All-Star break the club is going to have to get back to the basics if it wants to remain in the hunt for the third playoff spot in the East.

ESPN TrueHoop – ‘Hack-a-Jordan’ clouds Clippers’ win:

Rivers compared intentional fouls to intentional walks in baseball. But intentional walks — with four pitches and take your base — don’t drag games out as long as fouls do. And at least walks are a deterrent against someone who poses an actual threat, in the batter’s box. Fouling a man without the ball is like walking someone who’s sitting in the dugout.

You won’t find anyone who enjoys this stain on basketball. Not the coaches who employ it, nor the players who execute it, nor the fans who watch it. What about the networks that broadcast it, and would like to have games fit into a 2 1/2 hour window and move onto the next program? The NBA should certainly take the high-paying broadcast partners into account.


After taking care of business in two of their first three games on the trip, Casey’s team lost themselves in a pair of losses to the Kings – a bottom dweller in the West – and the Clippers, one of the conference’s elite. The Raptors fell behind early, giving up 67 points in the first half of each game, committing a total of 70 fouls and putting their opponent on the line 105 times over the course of three days.

The commonality, according to Casey, was a lack of mental and physical toughness against the likes of DeMarcus Cousins Wednesday and the duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan two days later.

“The guys are down because they know that we physically didn’t take care of business,” he said.

“The physicality of the game is something we have to get ready for, especially if we’re thinking about the playoffs because it’s a physical game in the paint, setting screens, rebounding, going to the basket. All those things are there if you’re serious about making the playoffs.”

National Post – Raptors can’t handle Blake Griffin in loss to Los Angeles Clippers:

Griffin, who had 36 points at Denver and 43 against Miami in the Clippers previous two games, capped his dominant opening quarter on a 20-footer with 2.4 seconds on the clock to give the Clippers a 29-22 lead. Crawford, who had 37 points in the previous meeting between the teams, burned the Raptors for 14 points in the second quarter while starting again for the injured J.J. Redick.

“Their bigs created some problems. And when you’ve got a player like Jamal Crawford, it can definitely get tough,” Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said. “That’s why you can’t give them any leeway. You’ve got to fight with them to the end.”

Toronto Sun – Raptors Clipped in LA:

The Raptors tried to turn the final game of a season long road trip into a marathon of ugliness and while they were certainly successful in that regard the strategy ultimately failed.

Raptors Rapture – Come home, guys:

Coach Dwane Casey told reporters the keys to victory are rebounding and limiting turnovers. As the game started the Clippers repeatedly went down low to Griffin in the post where he did some serious damage to the Raptors. Toronto responded by missing all four 3-pointers they took during the quarter. DeRozan ended Q1 with 10 points and Griffin had 19. In Q2, Ross exploded off the baseline with a thunderous dunk over Reggie Bullock.

  • Roarque

    So we’ve watched the Kings and now the Clippers dominate the Raps in the paint. We’ve tsk-tsked the decision to roll Amir’s ankle out there nightly ( yes, I actually wrote that) when he admittedly cannot do his job without fouling because his ankle won’t allow him to stay in front of Cousins or Griffin and yet Dwane refuses to give Tyler Hansbrough the opportunity to challenge these guys. In LA last night Tyler was used to deliberately foul Jordan repeatedly instead of letting him try to challenge him in a fair fight under the rim. Heck, even if Tyler fouled him THAT way it would give Jordan/Griffin something to think about when they waltz into our painted zone without a care in the world.
    SIT AMIR SIT AMIR SIT AMIR – before he needs surgery to repair his pins. I’d rather lose with PsychoT and JV knowing Amir was coming back soon than to watch Amir get humiliated by guys we all know he can defend when he’s able bodied.
    As for Trey Rosay, somebody better tell me that he was blinded by an eye infection and that was the reason for his lethargic attempts at defense. Funny it didn’t stop him from at least one showboat slam.
    Sorry, I’m kinda grumpy this am. Not enough sleep – duh! That game was really hard to watch – even with a PVR

    • big boi

      I Would absolutely be a proponent of trading for TT if he is at all available. We need more post pressence, if we want to compete at the next level. I love Amir, and realize he is injured, but unless youre Miami, I dont think he can be The starting PF, or really only other big body other than JV. And Amir has a slight frame, even healthy he would get bullied by Griffin or Cousins. In other news, wow has Griffin taken his game to the next level.

      • Roarque

        bb – let me preface my response by assuring you that I am no expert on defensive schemes for an NBA team.
        Okay, having said that, here is my take on why Amir has to be on the floor for 48 minutes a game.
        Amir Johnson is the defensive captain of the Raptors which I interpret to mean the player who directs the other members of the defense to abandon their position to help a team mate deal with an overmatch somewhere else. Often it is Amir who rolls from where he should be to where he needs to be to stop an offensive thrust into the Raptors defensive painted area. He is very good at this because he has the strategic mind to understand what the other team to attempting right now and he has the tactical ‘quicks’ to do something about it without fouling the other team’s player.
        In theory, every member of the team should be able to do this without Amir directing them. In reality, several members of the team are not good defenders – they need continuous direction because they can’t see what Amir ( and Kyle) sees. Because he’s so good at this instantaneous analysis, the others listen for him to talk and then they do what he says. If they don’t listen then Amir takes it upon himself to anticipate what their screw up ( see Il Mago) is going to create and he tries to move to where he thinks the offensive threat will next occur.
        On the offensive end of the floor, Amir is kinda along for the ride. He scores his by cleaning up a missed shot but there are very few plays called that involve Amir doing anything but setting screens or rolling to the basket after setting a pick. That end of the floor is when Amir catches his breath so he can be the superhero on defense. Because the NBA has few defensive stats ( other than deals and blocks) that aren’t team stats, Amir doesn’t get the spotlight he deserves. Too bad. It would be so easy to create a defensive stat called a “defensive assist” and that stat would show the greatness that is Amir.

        • Jerry Garica

          One cure for Amir’s ankle…rest….well also ice. compression and elevation. It’s Tyler Time !!

        • big boi

          Excellent point. Again, I love Amir. Absolute pro, every team would love an Amir. Just think at the PF spot, we either need more depth, big body depth – not undersize, or we need a better – bigger body starting at the 4.

    • caccia

      Coach Casey said “The physicality of the game is something we have to get ready for, especially if we’re thinking about the playoffs because it’s a physical game in the paint, setting screens, rebounding, going to the basket. All those things are there if you’re serious about making the playoffs.” So why is Tyler Hansbrough, your most physical player, on the bench?

      “”Physically they were just manhandling us in the paint.” That is, until you put your unused power forward in just to tap DeAndre Jordan on the chest, three times in a row. Then a lot of things changed, not just the pace of the game. Within eight minutes, the Raptors were back in it once again.

      “DeMar Derozan and the slumping Amir Johnson are playing on sprained ankles.” Uh coach, you want your guy’s ankle permanently screwed up, while the team loses?

  • GetLicks

    Kinda tough to win when the refs are clearly biased and missing obvious calls like this. Even in real-time I was like huh, didn’t he just take 3 steps? I guess he gets a pass cause he’s Blake though. Stupid ginger, can’t stand the clippers. I love how he’s allowed to drop his shoulder into any & everyone, but as soon as Hayes or Val touches him in the slightest-they call a foul. Not trying to bring this up again, but between this and Sac, the refs really are ruining the game. Makes me sick. When will we stop getting shafted?

    • crazycello

      We got outplayed and didn’t lose because of the refs, but that had me yelling at my TV.

      • GetLicks

        So the fact that they put 3 of our bigs in foul trouble so early against the kings with bullshit calls didn’t affect the outcome if the game? That’s kinda short-sighted. If you have guys afraid to pick up fouls, they don’t play as aggressive and it ends up having a massive impact on the game. The fact that our bigs got dominated in both games wasn’t completely the fault of the refs, but to say they didn’t have a big impact on the game would be giving the other team way too much credit. Basketball referees have the ability to affect an entire game more so than in any other sport by far.

    • peter_7.701

      We got outplayed, our bigs played horribly, that’s why we lost. By the way Amir got a call right after that blake dunk so you can’t really say the refs are being biased. We raptor fans have to get out of the ” refs hate Toronto” mentality, because SOMETIMES the calls they make are actually right. And the Sacramento game, we didn’t deserve to win that, we came out thinking that we could beat them and dug ourselves a hole, typical trap game right there.

      • GetLicks

        The thing is, major American news sites called the Lowry foul one of the worst calls in the history of the game. So it’s not just Toronto fans that are noticing the bias. What about last season? The league had to apologize TWICE for blowing calls late in raptor games. It’s getting to the point where it’s not just a coincidence, and ppl that know sports, raptor players and Casey have noticed the same thing. I’m not saying we’re directly losing cause of the refs, I’m saying they’re ruining the game with stupid calls and it’s pretty obvious Toronto doesn’t get any respect cause we don’t have a superstar. But sure, keep being blind to the facts.

        • peter_7.701

          No doubt the Lowry call was ridiculous and true the league did apologize last year for their bs calls, but it feels that sometimes we completely blame the refs. But honestly that’s just the way it is and it’s never going to change, teams like the lakers will win games due to ref calls. But don’t get me wrong it does feel that we get the short end of the stick and I hate it, even our damn commentators point it out, but I don’t know man it sucks that the raps are “that team” but I guess we got to deal with it.

        • truth be told

          The Lowry call was a bad call but Sac was still winning. Every one is making it seem like that shot tied the game or something but ignore the fact they were down 20 to start the 4th by their own doing.

          Sometimes you need to look in the mirror.

    • truth be told

      When will we stop complaining about referees?

  • Pran

    When is Tim w. Writing another piece? I prefer to read the truth, rather than the homery crap the other writers spew.

    • Roarque

      TimW probably got sick and tired of ducking metaphorical spittle aimed at his forehead. I’m guessing he took his talents elsewhere.

    • leftovercrack

      The Raps lose a game or two and the pro-tankers emerge from their coffins to vent their resentment, the Raps win a few and the homers go crazy. Yawn. Since the Gay trade they are a young, slightly above average team that is trying to find ways to win. They still need another quality big man, a quality back up PG and a year or two more experience. Until then they will be inconsistent. Neither the doom and gloom nor the euphoric perspectives are accurate or helpful

      • Mexiballer

        Good reality check.

  • raptorstand

    Solid road trip , the team looks dead tired , a step slow in the defense , which causes them to commit fouls. They are able to pick it up late and come back in the games playing shut down d , but only for a short period of time. If they bring the intensity out of the gate they will be all right. Jonas looks like the 21 year old he is , getting owned by the better players. Tyler needs more time and Amir needs to play less. Rest and home cooking will set things right , trade deadline soon , much will be known after that , The wall is hitting them , they will break through and start thinking of play offs , going to be fun.

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