Choose your own adventure: in this edition, you’ve dropped the glass, and now you’re forced to clean up the mess with your bare feet.

What in the hell was that?

Let’s start from the end and work backwards.

[If you’re looking for balanced analysis, read Sam’s player grades. If you’re still you’re looking for some positivity, read the cup half-full recap]

Why did Dwane Casey call an isolation play for a limited ball-handler to attack Chicago’s best wing defender? Why? Was he intrigued by the outcome two possessions earlier, when Demar tried to go at Butler one-on-one, and airballed a long-two with Jimmy Buckets draped all over him?

And why not call for a screen? You had 10 seconds to make something happen! Why not have someone like Amir Johnson — who is an excellent screener, by the way — come over and try to create a mis-match? Worst case scenario, Chicago ICE’s the pick-and-roll, traps Derozan, and he has to cough it up, but guess what — that means someone is wide open! That means Johnson is probably rolling down the lane, unimpeded until a help defender rotates!

Or, perhaps have Patterson to screen Demar? ICEing the PnR doesn’t work when the screener can shoot the mid-range jumper. It’s not like Patterson hit this crazy game winner a month ago from…GASP, FROM THE MIDRANGE! In fact, why don’t you ever run pick-and-rolls with Demar and Patterson? Oh right, because that would only make too much sense.

But fine, you wanted to put the ball into the hands of your “All-Star”, your “go-to-guy”. And to be fair, Demar did carry your offense for prolonged stretches. If it wasn’t for Demar’s drives in the first quarter that netted him a dozen points, the game would have spiraled out of control pretty quickly. And I get that you Derozan is probably your best shot-creator in isolation — Lowry is too short to consistently get a clean look on his jumpshots, and unless he barrels into a big and draws the foul, his chances of sinking a layup over Noah and Gibson isn’t great — but that’s the thing: you don’t have to run an isolation play at the end of every game!

Or in other words, don’t fatten yourself up on fried rice when you’re at a Chinese buffet!

Alright, enough with Casey. Knit-picking a coach with hindsight in your favor is pretty low, so I’ll let him slide on his other transgressions — y’know, like not yanking a lifeless Jonas earlier, keeping Hansbrough on the bench when defensive rebounding was an issue — because the blame should fall on his team for not executing.

Like in the first quarter, when the Bulls just ran roughshod over the Raptors, seizing an 31-21 lead early on. Patrick Patterson inexplicably spent his hard-earned good karma on failing to body-up on Carlos Boozer, as the meme/gif superstar managed to score 9 points in the first quarter by simply out-muscling 2Pat. Amir eventually came in and stopped the bleeding, but the damage was done early.

And what was up with Jonas Valanciunas? He finished the game with 2 points and 2 rebounds (out of 7 rebounding chances) in 22 minutes of play. What was that? I believe in his potential and I still have high hopes for the kid, but how many NBA greats have ever poured in a performance of that caliber? He looked completely overwhelmed in the post, and struggled to both snag rebounds, and to box-out. The end result was Noah scoring on put-backs, and the Bulls netting 6 offensive rebounds in the first quarter alone.

As an aside, here’s a sobering game to play with your friends — if you had could pick any center (played at least 50% of min at C this season) to win a playoff elimination game tomorrow, how many names down the list do you have to go before you got to Jonas? I’d rather have: both Gasols, both Lopez’s (when Brookie Monster is healthy), Noah, Hibbert, Boogie Cousins, Howard, Chandler, Horford (again, if healthy), Pek, Splitter, DeAndre, Bogut, Big Al, Varajeo and Bosh over him. You? My point is that Jonas isn’t yet a top-20 center in the NBA, and we should probably stop being surprised when he doesn’t perform like one.

Mercifully, the duo of Amir Johnson and Hansbrough came in to balance out the rebounding discrepancy. Hansbrough did what he does best — frustrate the hell out of his opponents — and he managed to turn the game into a giant wrestling match. He earned a double-tech for wrestling with Mohammed. He earned a double-foul for dragging down Dunleavy. Honestly, if Hansbrough’s grandmother was trying to box him out for a rebound, he would have probably thrown her an elbow as well. Last night, he was Psycho-T, and it paid off for the Raptors. Along with Amir, he steadied the interior and helped the Raptors get back into the game. After thoroughly outplaying Toronto, Chicago led by just 7 points going into the half.

And then Chicago’s defense simply smothered the any inkling of offense from the Raptors. Lowry’s jumpers weren’t falling and the sophomore duo of Ross&Valanciunas did little more than suckle on their thumbs (there’s your bright future, Raptors!). As sure as the rising of the sun, Casey panicked and subbed in John Salmons, who looked every bit like a 34 year-old playing on the second night of a back-to-back. He had no lift in his ill-advised jumpers (not that it would have helped) and Chicago’s lead ballooned to 15 points at one time.

Back came Hansbrough and Amir to start the fourth — albeit much later than everyone would have preferred — and the tandem steadied the defense once more. Lowry and Derozan took on the brunt of the scoring, and little-by-little, their efforts whittled the Bulls lead down to as little as four points.

However, this is when DJ Augustin — of all people — went off. There were moments during the fourth where I had to wipe the lenses, and re-affix my glasses because I was certain that Derrick Rose was back. DJA scored 13 of Chicago’s 24 points in the fourth, sinking prayer three-pointers and fall-away jumpshots, all the whilst pointing a giant middle-finger at the humongous egg on Masai Ujiri’s face. Vasquez started the quarter guarding Augustin, and despite Gravy sinking a three pointer here and there, he gave every single point back on the defensive end to DJ Freaking Augustin. Lowry playing with 5 fouls didn’t help either.

But the Raptors shook it off, and traded blows with the Bulls right until the very end. Dwane Casey went to Tyler Hansbrough after the timeout, and drew up a play for Hansbrough to fake the hand-off, and attack Joakim Noah in the post. That’s right, I repeat; Dwane Casey drew up a play for Tyler Hansbrough to post-up Joakim Noah. Hansbrough’s hook missed everything, but Amir Johnson was lucky enough to get the put-back and draw the foul. He hit the free-throw and the Raptors forced a 24 second shot-clock violation on the other end. Raptors had the ball, down one point, with 11 seconds left, and the win in their hands.

And then the final play of the game happened.

Raptors fall at home to Chicago for the second time this season. Demar finished with 32 points on 25 shots to lead all scorers, but it was all for naught. With the win, Chicago sits a half-game back of the Raptors for the third seed in the East, and every Raptors fan sits with shit in their pants at the prospect of potentially meeting these Bulls in the playoffs.

  • rapierraptor

    I agree totally with the iso-call nonsense. Totally predictable and not Demar’s strong suit whatsoever. The Jonas stuff was a bit over the top. Yes. There are a lot of centers 5-10 years older and more experienced than him that I would rather have on my team come playoff time but that really doesn’t mean much. Unacceptable for him to only put up two and two but I’m definitely not throwing in the towel just yet.

  • Saskatoon Raps Fan

    With that much time on the clock at the end of the game, I would’ve liked to see a Lowry/2pat pick and Roll, Maybe Amir setting a screen for derozan on the weak side, have tross or even novak spacing it out from the corner 3, and then trusting Lowry to make the right decision

    • KJ-B

      This is not the Dallas Mavs here. MLSE should be painfully aware that they hired Casey and not Carlisle. Now, if only we could get Rick Carlisle to be an assistant coach, lol… Dwane + offence are not a match made in Heaven, hopefully the team and its coach can somehow makeup for this…not sure the 1-and-done of the playoffs will be as forgiving though..

      • KJ-B

        They really don’t suck–were it not for DeRozan, we’d not be even having this discussion about his “closer gene” anyways, right?! That being said, the playoffs have a ton of late game situations–I’ll say this, I’m glad this happened in game 54 of the season and not game 3 of the playoffs!

    • Steverino

      Back in the day, maybe before Jordan (I can’t remember), when they used to have cameras in the huddles at the ends of games, you’d hear a coach draw up an end-of-game play that would be full of options. Player A gets it, looks to Player B. If that’s not there, you have Player C over here, and Player D coming around there. It’s clear in the DeRozan iso plays, there are no options because nobody’s moving. But with the Hansbrough play written about above, I doubt that was the call coming from the huddle. Rather, it was probably just one of the options, or Hansbrough thought he had a decent shot (he always does think that).

      • caccia

        It was a close-in shot, just what you want in that situation, with a guy underneath the basket. Hansbrough needs to be in those end-of-game situations, too, even if that one did not go down. That’s how you get better.
        With DeRozan’s first shot, there were two guys underneath the basket, but it never made it to the rim.

  • vino

    William, I got some points I want to discuss with you via email. Care to share it here? or just drop me a line at:
    vinogradov4athotmaildotcom.

  • robertparish00

    I like Demar’s midrange jumper when he is open. But 1 on 1 isn’t open. This is start of season Casey…can’t blame me, I put it in the All Star’s hands. But 2 possessions in a row, same play and you don’t get a bloody shot.

  • stretch bigman

    When are they going to try and start developing JV like a top 20 centre?

    He obviously has more work to put in, however I thought this season was about the development of the teams young players over wins and losses?

    Guess not.

    • afrocarter

      I think Casey is doing a great job with the young players. Above all else, he has preached accountability; if you’re not playing as well as you should be, you hit the bench. Otherwise you might end up with a McGee/Blatche/Wizards situation.

    • afrocarter

      I don’t think anybody’s worried about Jonas on the offensive end. What’s more important to Casey, I think we can all agree, is how he holds up on defense. Is he boxing out effectively? Is he protecting the rim when opponents get into the lane? He clearly wasn’t getting it done last night, and the quality of play hasn’t been consistent. Giving him touches on the offensive end isn’t going to change that.

      • Ahmed

        That’s not really a great argument. He’s our starting centre and should understand rim protection relies on him. Defense and offense shouldn’t be associated nor should effort on one end effect the other end.

        • Ahmed

          Yeah I know what you’re trying to say but effort shouldn’t be an issue. This is just an obstacle as a young team the Raptors and especially the coaches have to address.

      • afrocarter

        But why does he need touches on the offensive end to be engaged? He needs to learn to be engaged from the tip off, especially on the defensive end. Right now opponents are SIX points better per 100 possessions when Jonas is on the court. That’s terrible, especially for a starting center who’s supposed to be the backbone of your defense. Jonas needs to realize that his focus needs to be on defense; the offense will come. If his frustration directly leads to pouting and poor play, that shows a lack of maturity and he deserves to be benched. Why coddle him?

        • FLUXLAND

          We don’t talk about JV’s defense here, only how his offense is not Hakeem like, yet.

        • Abused Raptors Fan

          Regarding his +/- per 100 possessions, one contextual issue you have to consider is that if Valanciunas gets burned early on in a game, he usually rides the bench the rest of the game. Basically, he never gets a chance to even the score out in his individual match ups. These slow starts also usually coincide with the team’s overall poor performance in 1st halves. As a result, its more difficult for him to produce a positive net rating. Also, out of the team’s top 11 lineups, only 4 dont involve JV. Granted, 3 of the team’s 5 net minus lineups feature JV as well, but 1 is the starting 5 pre-trade, while the other 2 have Salmons/Ross on the wings. So, while there are a lot of things Valanciunas could do to improve his net rating, there’s too many factors involved to make any definitive evaluations of his impact on the team from that alone.

      • FLUXLAND

        What exactly has this 21 year old accomplished in the NBA to display such primadonna behavior? I don’t really care what his frustrations are, he doesn’t have enough game to warrant any touches or pout about shit. The lack of effort, if brought on by what you are suggesting, is inexcusable. Earn your touches by playing D and rebounding, not by letting everyone know how “frustrated” you are. Bigs are supposed to be making a difference on the defensive end, not by “touches”. Please spare us your JV fanboy excusefest.

        • purdie

          The argument is not that he’s a primadonna, it’s that as a rule young players are very inconsistent and the quality of their game greatly depends on how well they have done in the last 5min.

          • FLUXLAND

            I didn’t say he was one, did I? I said he would be displaying the behavior, if what raptorstand was suggesting is the reason behind his play.

            The young player label needs to be shed… this kid was touted as being the next big thing, a force on both ends of the floor, more suited for the NBA, played with grown men since..etc etc etc. We’ll soon be entering the 3 year of his NBA stint… there’s is zero reason for him pulling down 2 boards in a game and doing so out of alleged frustration behind “touches.” And let’s not forget there are players who don’t fall under this “rule”, especially after playing as many games as he has.

            • Steverino

              Joakim Noah “pulled down” 4 rebounds in 36 minutes. JV had 2 in 21 minutes. You do the math. Don’t bring up other aspects of his game, because I agree they were subpar. But your argument that there’s “zero reason for him to be pulling down 2 boards in a game” is ridiculous. It’s not like he’s averaging 2 rebounds. He’s at almost 9 a game in only 27 minutes. He’s doing fine. Just had a stinker of a game.

              Now, can we all rejoice in Rudy Gay reverting to form last night, shooting 6-21?

        • afrocarter

          Nope. JV not playing hard is not the coach’s fault. The onus falls 100% upon Jonas’ shoulders.

          • afrocarter

            Disagree. You can’t coach effort; as a professional ball player you shouldn’t need your coach to come up with ways to get you motivated to play hard every game. The coach teaches schemes; the players bring the passion and will.

            • afrocarter

              I guess we have to agree to disagree. Though I would like to see how you would explain Lowry’s (for example) balls-to-the-wall effort compared to JV’s inconsistent play. Or how the Raptor’s, as a whole, began to play harder once Rudy Gay was traded. I don’t understand how you can shift much of the blame off and away from the players themselves.

              • Steverino

                Easy. I’d explain it this way: JV is a 21-year-old sophomore. Lowry has been around the block and played for three teams under differing coaching styles and is a wily vet.

            • afrocarter

              What is going through the players’ minds in your scenario? “I’m just gonna sit back and wait for coach to motivate me; then and only then will I give it 100%”? What kind of professionalism is that? If a player wants to stay on the court, they need to hustle. That’s just basic, no?

              • HogyG

                I believe you’re oversimplifying things a little aren’t you? Obviously players don’t take the stand of “I will just sit here and wait until the coach properly motivates me”. However, it is 100% on the coach to recognize that a player is frustrated and has lost his focus and needs coaching in some form or another to become refocused and motivated to go out and properly compete. If this can’t happen then it’s up to the coach to find another option. Young players more than any other get frustrated when they begin to feel a double standard happening in the calls/game. Yesterday’s game was clearly a physical game that Jonas was not getting the better end of and unfortunately he chose to complain and look for a handout, instead of putting on his big boy pants and making them eat some elbows. The whistles have not been favorable to the Raptors over the last 5+ games and has been getting under the skin of all the players on the floor not just Jonas. At 21 years old, he had very little time to mature and understand what to do when the calls don’t go his way. This is why coaching is so important for a young player, to sit him down and make him understand that you can’t expect anything from these refs, especially when you wear a Raptors jersey, you must play as though any whistle that comes your way is a bonus.

                It may be the players fault/choice to feel this way and portray that attitude on the floor, but it’s up to the coach and staff to recognize this problem and help him to understand the attitude of expecting things only works if you are one of the top 10 players in the NBA in a major market.

        • FLUXLAND

          We disagree on how that alleged frustration is to be dealt with. What kind of message do you think your method would send to the other (veteran) players (and the league in general)? “Oh, I’m not getting touches? Well, f rebounding and f defense, I’ll show coach” And the answer to that is feed him the ball? Really? Pout and get your way? Is that how you get things accomplished? Like you think all your crying to me about my posting frequency is going to change anything? You’re a funny guy.

          • FLUXLAND

            None of what you typed address the point of discussion. You actually believe the answer to dealing with a young, limited talent, “frustrated” player, who’s withholding effort on the rebounding and defensive end (as a 7 footer) is to feed him the ball? This is great coaching? Fair enough, that’s your philosophy… I just don’t think you are examining the repercussions beyond the one said player. Just don’t get all bent out of shape and start the personal attacks simply because others don’t share your coaching approach.

            • FLUXLAND

              Yes, sit him. (ignoring the lack of bodies to replace him) I agree that ALL players need to be involved in order for the team to be successful..but being involved on the defensive end, especially as a big, is and should be the top priority and focus. There are plenty of players on this team that are designated to fill the bucket… why on Earth you think Jonas needs touches in order to feel involved or motivated is beyond me. Again, you EARN touches, you are not gifted them because you are being a crybaby.

              • Steverino

                Are you confusing touches with filling the bucket? Two different things. Touches just means he sees the ball on occasion and feels involved and has the option of trying to score. No one here has said he needs to be taking a ton of shots or being a designated bucket filler.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Dude, I’m aware of the difference. Running the offense through JV in any way shape or form is still a futile exercise..his game doesn’t warrant touches He needs to rebound and learn how to play D.. not worry about his touches.

                • Steverino

                  First of all, don’t assume that because somebody on a message board says that’s what JV is doing, doesn’t mean that’s what he’s doing. Glad you’re aware of the difference. Now you can learn the difference between touches and running the offence through him. I haven’t read anyone here (today anyway) saying the offence had to be run through him. You really love building up straw men then tearing them down.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Are you that dense, guy? The discussion took off from that regard – based on his assertion… are we not to have any discussion until we know what the player is actually thinking? Please.

                  Today anyway…lol.. nice clause. Look, the bottom line.. which you keep conveniently ignoring.. is that his game doesn’t warrant touches. Now,if you are of the same thinking as your buddy there with regards to motivating him via touches, then we simply disagree.

                • Steverino

                  Well, I’m dense, but not that dense. The problem is in your representation of the discussion. Read any of your posts and it doesn’t come off as hypothetical; it comes off as you criticizing JV for what others are attributing to his bad game, i.e. he was pouting.

                  Okay, this time I won’t ignore your larger point. Every player who plays significant minutes and who has shown ability, even inconsistently, warrants touches, especially if said player is decent, has a future in the league, and has shown glimpses of getting it. Once again, it’s a team game. The more a team plays like one, the better off they are.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Yes, my discussion carried off from that hypothesis. I don’t get your problem. Yes, I was criticizing him based on a hypothesis we were making. As in, if he is pouting, he can f off. Your inability to deal with that is not my problem.

                  Even inconsistently? Sorry, we disagree. Especially IF the allegedly inconsistency is being dealt with by pouting and not playing D or not rebounding or showing no effort. So we are back to what I said..if you think that is to be dealt with by handing out touches, we simply disagree. No harm no foul.

                • Steverino

                  There you go with your “if” again. I agree, “if” he is pouting, he can fuck off. But who says he’s pouting? Some dude on a comment board? And you take that as gospel? Answer me this: Do you think he’s pouting? If not, then forget what the others are saying.

                  As for his inconsistency? Yes, absolutely. And yes, no harm no foul in disagreeing. But if you’re integrating your starting centre into the game from the tip-off, and he’s just having a bad game, then by all means, sit his ass down or stop looking to him. No true team “hands out” touches. It’s just part of a good team’s offence, unless they’re a Kobe-centric unit or somebody like that. But you don’t ignore him until he proves that he’s worth going to. That’s just dumb.

                  Now I’m going to head over to a Lakers forum to see if they’re all as genteel sportsmen as you make them out to be.

              • FLUXLAND

                Nobody looks for him .. ever…hmmm… I wonder why.

            • Steverino

              I think you’re missing the point, either intentionally or just not getting it. I doubt what JV is doing is intentional. It’s not a conscious decision to suck or not try hard. Surely you’ve played the game. Surely you’ve been deflated when you give effort and get no reward. I know your response is to say you’re not a professional and these guys are, and that’s true, but we’re all human. And that’s a human response. Also, can we not pretend this is a regular occurrence? He had a shitty game. I betcha he has a good one next game. Yes, yes, consistency. I know. I think that’ll come. If you don’t, fine, we disagree, and we’ll both see. But there’s no use over-reacting to it now.

              • FLUXLAND

                I was going by the posters assertion it was intentional due to frustration – “nobody helps me, why should I help them” No over-reaction, just not a believer in “it will come with time” – a Raptors fan staple mentality.

  • samuelgbby18

    raptors lost nets won it was a good night we will win the division for sure you guys are setting yourselves up for disappointment

    • DDayLewis

      Lol, a Nets fan shit-talking another team about disappointment? Yeah buddy, you would know.

      • samuelgbby18

        lol im just letting ya know. the nets have the talent and the experience dwill is looking healthy and so is joe. if we see ya in the playoffs at most its a 5 game series

        • DDayLewis

          5 game series? You know we’ve beaten you two out of three times this season, right?

          Look, chances are good that you guys would beat us in a playoff series, but don’t come to our “house” and piss on the furniture.

          • samuelgbby18

            lmaoo you do know that last w was a bs mistake that wont happen again and there arent back tom backs in the playoffs so we wont be coming off on a double overtime game and then fly to toronto. the nets play ya in 2 weeks we will tie the season series

            • DDayLewis

              That last win was BS? Okay, then your lone win against us was BS. Rudy Gay went insane and decided to kick it to our power forward for three on the game winner.

              • samuelgbby18

                he was ya star player he tried to win it but hes not as clutch as joe. we will see your best player is lowry and at best hes a average pg on a contract yr. the nets will sweep ya in the playoffs

            • samuelgbby18

              lmaoo ight we shall see. we only play the teams on our schedule. the nets are only 3 games back of ya

              • samuelgbby18

                lmao i was at that game i was so annoyed smh but we are 2 games back of .500 the nets are rounding out into shape just keep the division leader seat warm

                • samuelgbby18

                  lmaoooo thats fair

        • samuelgbby18

          what beat down. the regular season means nothing last time we played ya in the playoffs ya also beat us a few times in the regular season and we dealt with the raps quite easily

          • samuelgbby18

            from what the nets are gonna win the division

    • afrocarter

      See you in the first round, friend.

      • samuelgbby18

        i do wanna face ya without lopez the nets dont have the necessary size to go at the bulls especially when our stars aren’t fully healthy

        • afrocarter

          I’d rather us face you and your aging front court as well. More than anything I’m excited about what could become a legit Atlantic division rivalry (screw that Knicks-Nets malarkey).

          • samuelgbby18

            i couldnt have said it better myself. the knicks have always been a joke. the nets frontcourt should be upgraded hopefully by tonight with the addition of jordan hill plus there aren’t back to backs in the post season. so kg should be good to go

  • samuelgbby18

    do you raptors fans actually believe you can beat a nets team in the playoffs.

    • afrocarter

      Yes, we do. I, for one, am no fool — a Raptors-Nets series would be some ridiculously physical basketball and would go at least 6 games either way.

      • samuelgbby18

        thats good to have confidence that would be a fun series to see. but we win in 6

        • Nilanka15

          LOL!

          With a team full of geriatrics, you’d better pray there aren’t any 7pm tips.

          • samuelgbby18

            lol really with yesterdays trade the nets only have 4 players 30 and up and joe and ak47 are only 32 and very productive while pierce is 36 and kg is 37 everyone else is 30 and under so idk what your saying lol

            • Nilanka15

              Right, 60% of your starting lineup plays Bingo on the weekends, and wakes up 6 times a night to pee. Good luck with that.

              • FLUXLAND

                You’re really dismissing all the playoff experience on the Nets? The Raptors would get crushed in 5, easy.

                • Nilanka15

                  Experience can only do so much to compensate for osteoarthritic bones 😉

                • FLUXLAND

                  I would be afraid of a KG rejuvenation for the real season, and JJ was born to play in the playoffs. I think those bones would hold up long enough to dismiss the Raptors, with ease.

                • Steverino

                  The only ones I’d be afraid of in a Nets-Raptors playoff series is the refs. We all know how famous players get the calls. (I won’t even call those old guys stars anymore; they’re just famous.)

                • FLUXLAND

                  Exactly. Refs are something to be considered, no? So how can we go on claiming we would beat them like a rented mule?

                • Steverino

                  I never said any such thing. Those that did were just being fans. It’s part of the fun, trash-talking another team’s fans. You should know all about that.

              • SR

                ^^^ This is my favourite comment.

    • samuelgbby18

      we play ya march 3rd we shall see

      • samuelgbby18

        i agree with that i love lopez but at the end of the day if you have chance to go for a superstar you do it. so your telling me if kevin durant or lebron wanted to come to toronto you wouldnt trade everyone including cheerleaders

        • Steverino

          I’ll go one further: I wouldn’t want them in Toronto even if they wanted to be there. And if KG had come, I wouldn’t even be here today on this forum because I wouldn’t be cheering for the Raptors.

        • WhiteVegas

          Paul Pierce and KG are no Lebron or Durant.

    • FLUXLAND

      According to Raptor fans, the team locked up the ECF about a month ago, the rest of the games until then are mere formalities, the opponents are irrelevant.

      • afrocarter

        Though there is some truth to this, I would argue that the current confidence throughout Raptorland is BECAUSE of our upcoming opponents, not DESPITE them. Easiest schedule in the league from here on out. Let’s see if the Raptors can take care of business.

        • FLUXLAND

          Waaay too much confidence in a team to reach the ECF where the overall playoff experience is thin to say the least.

          Easy schedule or not… the playoffs are a completely different game.

          • afrocarter

            Sorry, I misread. I (for some reason) thought you were referring to the Atlantic Division title, not the ECF. Woah, woah who here thinks the Raptors can get by Indiana or Miami?!?!

          • FLUXLAND

            So all we have to do is hope that any team we face is missing their key player(s)? And average players going off vs the Raps is not a movie you’ve seen before? Did you say you follow this team?

            • FLUXLAND

              Because asking for 48 minutes of ball on both ends, has not been an issue with this team for the last x amount of years? You don’t remember Lucas being brought in to help with the bad starts to games? Again, did you say you follow this team? This is the same Raptors of old – the pasta is the same, you’re being fooled by the different packaging.

              • Steverino

                Hey FLUXLAND, I’m relatively new around here. Who’s your team? Do you also post on their message boards? Just curious, not judging.

                • Steverino

                  I don’t mind haters. They provide a valuable service, if only for our entertainment. I’m just curious if he has a team he’s a real fan of, in the true sense of the word, or if he just likes devoting his energy to criticizing everything about the team he most closely follows? Hey, I love playing devil’s advocate as much as anyone, but it’s usually to make sure all angles are covered so I’m clearer in my own head about the pros and cons.

                • truth be told

                  What’s a hater in this context?

                  If some people don’t agree with the majority, how does it make it hating?

                  Common said it very eloquently. “If I don’t like it, I don’t like it, doesn’t mean that I’m hatin”

                  When BC’s early teams won the Division and then made the playoffs the next year as a lower seed, there were fans that didn’t like the direction of the team, but were vilified for not jumping on board. I say this because I was one of the people doing the vilifying. 2 years later I started to realize the inherent issues with the team and the sneaky GM and started to see others viewpoint. There are actual fans like myself who want to see the Raps succeed but don’t like this team as is. I don’t like this team because I don’t think the talent on the roster is all that good. I think a large part of their success is good team chemistry but more importantly playing in a weak conference in the weakest division in the NBA.

                  if you want to call that ‘hating’, so be it, but it’s not.

                • FLUXLAND

                  He thinks there’s only one kind of fan and everyone else needs to fall with his line of thinking. You didn’t know it’s his world and his internet we all live in?

                • FLUXLAND

                  Oh friendo.. many a flying fucks you do give. I am not here to cater to your whims on how a team is to be discussed..we’ve had this discussion before, no? Are you still having trouble exercising free will?

                • Steverino

                  Sorry, I actually “hate” the word “haters”, too. Not sure why I used it. I’m slowly starting to get the difference between someone who legitimately doesn’t like something and lays out the reasons for it, and a “hater”, as people call them, who reflexively doesn’t like whatever, usually in a mocking or disrespectful way. We all have differing opinions. Personally, I couldn’t care less about talent on a roster. I much prefer teamwork and players playing above their talent level. That to me is more exciting and fun, but I’ve never been what you might call a bottom-line guy.

                • FLUXLAND

                  I got plenty to point out during wins or losses… I’ve explained this to you before. When I choose to post has nothing to do with the results, something I’ve already proved you’re wrong about. But carry on with you imaginary hater war.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Not here to cater to you Champ.

                • FLUXLAND

                  I guess some of us are not as easily impressed with mediocrity, as others. Until that changes, some of us will not be celebrating meaningless events that have zero impact on the realities of this team.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Bad? Or futile? Glad you are enjoying the short term, some of us are looking at the big picture. Does that hurt your feelings?

                • FLUXLAND

                  I’d say it’s pretty obvious… and I do post elsewhere. How are my on line posting habit relevant to this discussion?

                • Steverino

                  Sorry for straying. I have no idea who your favourite team is, so it’s not obvious to me, which is why I asked. As I said, I’m just curious. No need to be defensive.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Well, I’m posting here and you can see my avatar, I assume.

                • Steverino

                  Doh! Just noticed it. Sorry. Yeah, I used to be a diehard Laker fan. But I started hating them when they got good again with Shaq and Phil Jackson and Rodman. Haven’t liked them since. My allegiances aren’t to a city or franchise, but to the players assembled. That’s why I said if the Raptors went out and got Kevin Garnett or LeBron James, I’d find a new team to like.

                • FLUXLAND

                  My allegiance is to the franchise…note: not the regime it may currently be under. So as much as I am a fan of the city having and NBA franchise, that doesn’t mean I support the ownership/regime and their methods.

                • Steverino

                  Surely you come across rabid homer Laker fans, too. I assume you’re the same way with them as you are with the Raptor fans?

                • FLUXLAND

                  Honestly, in my experience, and this may be the forum I frequent, the majority of Laker fans do not have grand illusion of the realities surrounding the team, nor do they have issues being critical of any player. In general, Raptor fans seem/are blindly optimistic with regards to anything to do with the team, even when the reality is far from their perception.

                  And I do not get attacked by Laker fans for expressing a different opinion, like I do on here. Not that I care, but it again it speaks to the overall disposition of fans here – anything that doesn’t involve a positive spin is not welcome.

                • FLUXLAND

                  “Trolls are consistently negative with nothing positive to say about a team that has improved.” That is your definition of a troll, not the generally accepted one. Not even close.

                • FLUXLAND

                  I don’t have one because I don’t consider anyone a troll. If I don’t want to engage someone in a discussion, I simply do not. Something you are clearly incapable of, right? You engage people because you’ve decided you don’t like someone’s point of view and think you will sort them out in your imaginary troll war. You can’t leave it at a difference of opinion, you must turn it into a personal attack on someone’s character.. mature stuff, really.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Again, no one cares what you want or don’t want to listen to or what you consider crap.

                  I just told you I do not have one. As far as a generally accepted one may be, Google is your friend.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Show up after losses? Bud, we went over this already. I only hate on your kind of fan.. the sheriff p00ka deputies who think they can dictate how one should comment.

              • FLUXLAND

                Says the guys that “refuses to think” anything but what he chooses to. As someone mentioned, we are not here to play by your rules, bud.

                lol.. only a ture homer cries about the refs..carry on. While ignoring the team’s actual play. Why are you here? Didn’t the make a glass half full post for you to bask in the glory of this team?

              • What the

                but everyone knows it’s Primo

          • onemanweave

            Fllux, old buddy, glad to see the folks at the mission allowed you access to a keyboard. That air ball by DD has restored your will to live. Was sure the cold weather and regular diet of Raptor wins had finished you off.
            Thanks for restoring your own charming brand of reality to all the ugly optimism floating around here.
            Oh, have you seen Yertu in your travels? Try to coax him out from under the bridge. We’re supposed to get a lot of rain.

  • samuelgbby18

    the average age of the nets is 28.8 so we aint some old dinosaurs pun intended lol

  • truth be told

    Chicago will be a good team…. next year when they get Rose back and Mirotic comes over.

    Until then, not so much.

    • KJ-B

      On Chicago’s part regarding DJ Augustin, it only goes downhill from here. I’m entirely confident that last night was his high watermark for the season + as good as he’s ever or could ever hope to play.

      If they choose to pin their waning hopes this season on that guy, good luck. As Toronto, I’d welcome the chance to “beat up” Augustin in the playoffs–IMO he’s had his revenge game…now he’s got to live up to the scouting report, we’ll see… Revenge only takes you so far with that skill set!

      • Steverino

        Augustin is averaging almost 14 points and 5.5 assists per game in 30 minutes per. He’s doing okay against everybody. It’s odd that Toronto is paying most of his salary. You’d think he’d do what needed to be done for his real “boss”.

        • Abused Raptors Fan

          I think Augustine needs to surpass a certain minutes threshold before he becomes effective, as he’s gone right back to producing the stats he had as a starter in Charlotte 2 years ago. That, or the lack of expectations and pressure he enjoyed when he first joined Chicago was the exact environment he needed to regain his confidence after his off year in Indy. Idk, but he has certainly upped his game sincehe was waived

        • Alex McKay

          This was an extremely frustrating game to watch. Not because of our players, they fought with everything they had. It was frustrating because it was obvious the nba doesn’t want the raps to win. Every time we’d get it down to within 10 points they’d start calling the biased fouls. Next because Augustine is good and that it wasn’t that he didn’t get the chance here, it’s that he didn’t want to be here and forced Masai’s hand. Next is casey. Psycho t should have been in the game for the majority and how many times are we going to have to endure demar trying to win the game on an ISO against the other teams best defender!

      • truth be told

        I don’t think they are pinning any hopes on this season. They have already begun to look towards the future. That’s the problem Raps fans have as they are making this season out to be the start of some great new era in Raptor basketball. after you weigh in the performances of other conference teams and the division they play in (the worst division by far in the league), Masai will actually have to make some proper moves to keep them afloat in the East next year and beyond

        Chicago knows they are not winning anything this year, which is why the Deng move shouldn’t have surprised anyone, knowing if they get a healthy Rose back a new to the NBA Mirotic that this puts them back into contender status.

        • truth be told

          I’m not going to be put down for wanting to compete for championships instead of jumping for joy over mediocrity.

          I can respect your point of view, but you don’t respect mine, so when you attempt to put anyone down who doesn’t agree with your point of view, I will step up and be confrontational……..always.

          • truth be told

            No, I’m advocating getting better players because this core will never be good enough to contend for anything.
            The draft has been the most successful way for the Raps to do this since they came in the league. Trades and Free Agency has been a failure. The draft has been the place for them to get elite talent (Carter, McGrady, Bosh).

  • morgan c

    Totally agree about JV. I don’t think it’s too much to expect him to already be a top-20 NBA center, given his draft status, pedigree, and being in his second full season. I am starting to challenge my reflexive assumption (that almost all of us have I think) that he will just be a franchise player / all-star caliber center. Because based on the evidence this year, he looks to have a greater chance of being an average player. Again, before people freak out, I’m not saying that will happen. But a few games this year off the top of my head already (Kings, against McRoberts, last night) he has been probably the worst player on the floor. He is completely lost defensively half of the time. He’s got one more year to make a giant leap, or we have to maybe start realizing his “inevitable path to stardom” is BS. Does he not know how to be a big man? I’m being serious here – wonder if he receives ANY coaching.

    • afrocarter

      The old adage is that it takes 4-5 years for big men to “get it”; allowing for three years may be showing a bit of impatience.

      • morgan c

        “Old” adage… exactly. In 2014, with a guy that has been playing professionally for 5 years, I think it’s fair to expect a bit more at this point.

        • afrocarter

          This is true, but it’s a bit of a stretch to compare a small Lithuanian league – even the Eurocup – to the best, most competitive and physical league in the world that is the NBA.

        • Steverino

          Are you saying European professional leagues are on par with the NBA? Isn’t it a given that the NBA is the best league in the world with the best players? If so, any other professional league experience only counts for so much. You can’t start saying his 5 years experience as a pro is the same as 5 years experience in the NBA. Consistency, my good man.

        • rapierraptor

          Ignore the string of double doubles before the break…

      • What the

        yeah,JV gets the 7 years pass from me he just needs a good coach, I just wish somebody would tell him to go after rebounds with both hands like Antonio Davis back in the day or even like Hansbro, this one hand shit is bad coaching DCgatstogo.

    • purdie

      I often wonder about coaching myself. Would be really interesting to see JV under a different coach. I mean at least his offensive game definitely suffers since Casey can’t come up with an offensive play to save his life, so JV is pretty much left to score on put backs or when someone gives him the ball since they got completely shut out otherwise.

      It is concerning though, as you said, that he looks so incredibly lost from time to time. But it’s so difficult to judge these things. Only the truly extreme examples get noticed and stand out in your memory, while the long term progress is difficult to assess when you watch each game. From what I remember of last year, he has made a huge improvement. Fouls and boxing out/rebounds were quite an issue, but now he got much better at both. And he looks much more solid in general. Maybe if we give him one more summer he’ll come back with an improved offensive arsenal and quicker decision making. Who knows, it’s all just big ifs and maybes.

      Bottom line is I trust Ujiri to not overlook the young talent development. And, somewhat unrelated, but I want to see Casey gone next season. He is an average coach on his best day and probably is the biggest weakness this team has at the moment.

    • DC

      Is Jamaal Magloire the right coach/mentor for JV?

  • morgan c

    Bro, you need to stop being a dumb person. [Comments removed by Mod but I’m sure you still check out this post, so here we go:]

    Team 1: Maxed out for
    the foreseeable future, with an old as shit core of under-performing
    players who are probably done. Half the draft picks are gone. Deron
    Williams, the PG, is just not a top 5 or even top 10 PG anymore. He is
    slow and broken. The big acquisitions of PP and KG are bench players on a
    contending team. That isn’t even hatin; just a fact. KG specifically is
    straight FINISHED. He is old as hell, has no knees, can’t jump, and
    gets abused by JV (who has his own deficiencies). He is bad at
    basketball these days and that’s just a fact. And Marcus Thornton, the
    same Marcus Thornton who was absolutely lambasted by Zach Lowe, the most
    knowledgeable bball writer around, is the guy who is supposed to put
    your over the top. The team is bad, and their ceiling is winning 1
    round.

    Team 2: Well under the cap, have all the picks for the
    upcoming drafts. A very young team, with over-performing bench unit and
    great chemistry. A PG who is under-valued around the entire league, a
    number 1 option who makes single digit millions (and will never make
    more under his current deal), and no one on the team who even comes
    close to THAT salary. The most sought-after GM last year running the
    show, with a new ownership / president that wants to win. A ceiling
    right now of playing a tough Indiana team to a 6 or 7 game series in round two, with the ability and flexibility to bring in more good players down the road.

    I’m
    just sorry you are a Nets fan. How does it feel knowing you have ZERO
    chance of contending for a championship or even an ECF with your current
    incarnation of hot old injured garbage players? Like, that must suck…

    • Abused Raptors Fan

      Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!! Heavy dose of Reality FTW! We still aren’t contenders, but then again, we’re not the ones trolling the opposition’s fan sites talking smack.

  • AnthonyF

    Ross has been deadly from three yet he has gotten all of 2 the past two games. Heck Korver who is older/slower has his one in 120 straight games…… How can we not get him open?

    Again the last play was ridiculously bad, but Butler did foul him as Demar couldn’t get up and he was in his face and body. The issue was the entire last minute. Hansbrough set a pick and Lowry hit a three. Demar getting the inbounds and no one moving was just lousy playcalling.

    The Raptors should have had a play after the 24 second shot clock violation (the Bulls had just taken the 20 second timeout) and then still would have had the timeout with 2.4 seconds left and the ball at midcourt.

    Case in point Lebron hitting the 3 vs.GS last week where they didn’t take the timeout and played the game out. Best not to have the defence set.

  • black angus

    The worst part about the last play of the game, was that the Raptors ran the exact same play with 35 seconds left and Demar turned it over then too.

  • elkabong

    as a coach don’t you dream about these types of scenarios? i want my team with the ball and last shot to win and a competent coach should have at least 3 plays in mind should he not? who’s hot and who’s not,what are the matchups? can we create a mismatch somehow? let’s at least try and create an open look for someone shall we! personally i would never let Demar have the ball for 10+ seconds,he has become a very reliable shooter when he’s in catch and shoot or maybe one or two bounces at the most! more than that unless he’s heading for a dunk forget about it. the lineup choices were puzzling as they generally seem to be when plan A doesn’t work but he called some good timeouts and had the chance to take last shot but this is your go to let’s win it play? i went from totally confused to royally pissed off in those last 12 seconds i must say

  • GB

    THANK you!!! Anyone that starts this bash a player thing, is a complete moron. The refs really changed the outcome of that game. Whistle was going off more than the ones in Mardi Gras. It throws guys off their games, no matter WHO you are. Great effort, by our guys.

  • What the

    DC needs to learn that the Allstar name DeMar is a robin not a batman on this team and I’m ok with Allstar name DeMar being the robin on this team.We have Kyle auditioning for the batman role give him the ball come hell or high waters,I trust him,he’s our guy a superduper star

  • Stephen

    I’m not too worried about Jonas – I’d have said that same thing about Camby when we had him.

  • jesus

    i wouldnt say augustin is egg on masai’s face so much as it is on casey. the guy got ZERO burn off the bench. even for casey to be playing a 9 man rotation is nothing short of amazing, so how would anyone have known the guy could ball? i guess you might say he would have seen it in practice, but i dont think casey can see past his nose. he probably thought the guy draining jumpers and 3s at practice was a ball boy or something.

    this team ought to have a regular 11 man rotation, but casey has no faith in his bench, even when his starters are f*cking the dog. countless games this season, the raps find themselves down 15-20, and having lost all hope, casey finally turns to novak and hayes, and almost like clockwork, those guys put us back in the game (port/cha/sac)

    • jesus

      i forgot to add. i dont have nearly enough money to sit anywhere close to the raps bench during home games. would someone kindly yell at the top of their lungs “THEY’RE GONNA RUN AN ISO FOR DEMAR” during the final minute of any close game? i know this might seem like it would help the other team, but my hope would be that casey would feel the need to run something different, as his master plan would then be revealed (since this is casey, it would probably just be an iso for another guy………)

      for added humour have an 8 year old kid yell it

  • Tanks-a-lot

    “Why did Dwane Casey call an isolation play for a limited ball-handler to attack Chicago’s best wing defender? Why?”

    Players League

    /thread

  • Tanks-a-lot

    I think it’s funny that people rail over a 21 year old freak of nature not killing the NBA center position while McGill students practice censorship over ‘micro-aggression’ posts of Leno’s “Obama kicks a door in frustration” video being shared.

    It’s not like the Ukraine is burning or people are being shot dead in Venezuela

    • Tanks-a-lot

      the love of good sport and sportsmanship is highly regarded by myself and many others

      equality of opportunity is seldom seen in our world today besides raw physical league directed conflicts

  • Bryan Colangelo

    Maybe I’m giving Casey too much credit, but has it ever occurred to you that some coaches hide their out-of-bounds plays from likely playoff opponents UNTIL the playoffs?

    I don’t know if Casey is one of those guys, but it’s not unheard of. Think about how easily the Raptors were able to predict the out-of-bounds play in Brooklyn because of how predictable they were.