Sometimes, a game is just a game. Post-game, the scoreboard reads two final tallies – 101-97 Nets – just like it always does. The Raptors, after a valiant effort in which both teams both played through fatigue on the second half of a back-to-back, still have a modest lead in the Atlantic Division: they’re 3 games up on Brooklyn with 20 games to go; it’s hard to imagine that the Nets will catch the streaking Raptors, especially given the Raps’ strength of schedule from here on out. Last night was just a game; a blip, nothing more.

Sometimes, though, a game is much more than that. It’s a statement of intent, a warning from a potential playoff foe not to be taken lightly. It’s a veteran team standing up to the challenge of the young upstart, and the young upstart toeing the line and staring right back. No quarter was given last night, and none was expected, even with both teams playing on the second half of a back-to-back. The standings may not be too close, just yet; but they’re just close enough for a statement to be sent. The Raptors are probably going to win the division, yes, but they’re going to have to earn it.

Last night, the game between the Raptors and Nets became more than a game.

Was it pretty to watch? Not all the time – both teams scored in fits in spurts, with the Raptors taking a sizeable first quarter lead on the backs of Terrence Ross and Amir Johnson, giving the lead back (they were down 13 late in the third) thanks to some shoddy perimeter defence and a red-hot Deron Williams, and fighting back to tie the game late by what seemed like sheer force of will after losing an entertaining if not necessarily perfectly executed final few minutes.

The driver of the Raptor engine was undoubtedly Kyle Lowry, who (surprise, surprise) played the game at a fever pitch for every one of his 38 minutes. Sometimes, it worked to his detriment: he thrust up more than a few early-in-the-shot-clock threes that had me scratching my head, and the play call near the end of the game with the Raptors down 3 – a pick play that led to a contested attempt with Andray Blatche in Lowry’s face. His intensity also gets the better of him when it comes to dealing with the referees: last night, seemingly every call that went against Lowry, or against the Raptors with Lowry standing nearby, or against the Raptors with Lowry in the building, was followed by an earful to the referees from number 7. He plays with a chip on his shoulder, and this is part of the package. We know this.

But the rest of the package? I don’t know what the Raptors would do without it.

It’s hard to make an argument at this point against extending Lowry – if Masai Ujiri balks at his asking price, Lowry’s agent can simply pull out film of game from tonight and ask: “what would the score have been without him?” My roommate and I had a brief debate about what the Raptors’ record this season would be sans Lowry, and we ultimately settled at a smidge over .500, at best. The man does things that no 6-foot tall point guard should do. Last night, he led the team in scoring, assists, rebounding – including a couple attempts where he absolutely ripped the ball out of a much bigger opponent’s hands – and steals (tied with Johnson and Hansbrough). He also drew not one, not two, but THREE charges, including a highlight-reel worthy attempt to stop a Marcus Thornton fast break in the first quarter where he – playing with two early fouls – caught the Nets’ guard from behind, slipped in front of him, and established position in a split-second. It was breathtaking, reckless, and the result of almost impossible effort. It was, in as many words, Kyle Lowry.

As is the case when most young upstarts are challenged by veteran opponents, the devil was in the execution, if not the Raptors’ effort level. DeMar DeRozan was held in check by some savvy Nets coaching and an uncharacteristically poor shooting night; Terrence Ross was largely invisible after the first quarter, and Jonas Valanciunas tried his hardest to take advantage of the league’s verticality rule and was undone by a few bad calls and some inconsistent offensive decision-making. Ironically, the worst performance of the night was turned in by John Salmons, who made a nice hoop and than chucked up a couple shots up like heat-check DeMar before ultimately making an extremely poor decision on one of the Raptors’ final plays, which ultimately ended with Ross dribbling the ball off his leg and out of bounds. These lapses, save Salmons, are to be expected from time to time from a young team, and on their own aren’t particularly worrying in the long run. The team missed Patrick Patterson and his floor-spacing ability/mobile perimeter defence a ton, as well, given the Nets’ small-ball lineups.

What is more troubling, though, was the inconsistency of Dwane Casey’s coaching decisions, which included sitting a red-hot Ross for extended minutes in the first half, not recognizing the inability of Steve Novak to play the four in a small-ball lineup (one big night does not a Patrick Patterson make), as well as the inability of Chuck Hayes to play at all, and a couple maddening inbound plays, including the aforementioned pick and roll for Lowry’s penultimate three-point attempt. In-game inconsistencies like these are not likely to get better given a seven-game series, and that makes a playoff matchup a bit terrifying given the two teams’ relatively equal skill levels at this point. You should not be outcoached by Jason Kidd. Period. End of story.

These things, by and large, are why the Raptors lost the game last night (that, and a three-point barrage late in the third quarter). And they do deserve consideration, and they’ll get their due in the Raptor front office and coaches’ room. But, for me, I choose to focus on the positives: Lowry; the superhuman effort put forth by Tyler Hansbrough, who would not be denied by any Net; the resurgence of Amir Johnson’s pick and roll play (he threw done two alley-oop layups from Lowry, mimicking my NBA 2k14 playing style); and my little brother’s unexpected appearance as the #spritefanphoto, which left me excited, yet laughing my head off.

#SelfieMonday

#SelfieMonday

Mostly, though, what I chose to focus on is everything this game means beyond the boxscore. Standings or no, the Brooklyn Nets have thrown down a gauntlet; one the Raptors have accepted without hesitation. The simple fact that a veteran team would play Toronto with this type of intensity in a regular-season game, on the second half of a back-to-back, shows how far the Raptors have come. The fact that they lost the game shows how far we have left to go.

One of these teams has the weight of unmet expectations, and the stopping of a torch-passing on their minds. The other one has validation – and everything still left to prove – on theirs. Twenty games left until the playoffs, and a likely rematch, where one of them will get what they want. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.

  • Ds

    It will be one heck of a series if these teams were to meet in the playoffs. The fact that the Raptors had a chance to win the game in THEIR building is good enough validation that the team will make some noise in the playoffs.

    Anyone know how many times have the Raptors been destroyed (early garbage time) since the trade?

    • Nilanka15

      Agree that a Raps/Nets series would be great, but disagree that we can take solace from keeping last night close in their building.

      Playoffs games are usually decided in the final minutes, and in the next 20 games, the Raptors need to learn precise execution down the stretch. We’ve made great strides in this department compared to last year, but it feels like there’s still plenty room for improvement if we want to make a 2nd round appearance.

      • Ds

        Well, NO ONE expected them to be here. The fact that we’re even talking about this stuff is mind-bottling.

        • Lyall

          Boggling.

          • Ds

            Wanted to see if someone got the “Blades of Glory” reference…

            Chazz: Mind-bottling, isn’t it?
            Jimmy: Did you just say mind-bottling?
            Chazz: Yeah, mind-bottling. You know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle?

      • JCREX

        playoff games are decided in the finals minutes and thats why sadly i think we may not win a series this year. casey is terrible in late game situations from inbound plays to late minutes drawn up plays casey is the worst ive seen. i have very little faith in his coaching ability and i am sure it will cost us in the playoffs

    • FLUXLAND

      They were missing KG and AK..and still beat us.

      it wouldn’t even be close in the playoffs.

      • sleepz

        Lol, I hear you, but aren’t you a little concerned with how they play? I will always be a huge Pierce fan but even the Truth this year is looking like age has caught up with him a bit. Hayes and Hansborough rippin’ him on the way to the rim? Unheard of in the past. Garnett has been AWOL the past month. Deron looked good last night but he has spring in his step 2 times a week.

        Raps would have their hands full in a playoff series but this Brooklyn team hasn’t convinced me that come playoff time they can just turn it on and start mauling their opponents, which is what we expected coming into the season.

        • FLUXLAND

          I think they are cruising until the playoffs. This team was designed for the post season, so I do think they will just turn it on.

          Look at all their bigs.. how are we gonna deal with that?

          And JJ was born for the playoffs.

          • ItsAboutFun

            “And JJ was born for the playoffs.”

            lmao, while you ride your high horse and pound your chest about what you know about ball. lmao

            He was made for being spoon fed by Nash, but since? Last 2 seasons of playoffs: FG% of 37, 41, 3P% 25, 25, while chucking up 6 3s/game,,,,,both first round exits. Yup, made for the opponents’ playoffs. You know shyt, except for what you read on the internet, just like Tim W.

            • FLUXLAND

              That’s because you don’t watch the games… you look up stats.

              How can you possibly have a coherent opinion when you don’t even watch the games?

              What are you babbling about? JJ is solely responsible for the 1st round exits? Is this like your claim that the Pistons problems are rooted in AD?

              Get a grip man, you sound like a moron.

      • ItsAboutFun

        *yawn* 1 game. The previous 1 game, Raps beat them without DeMar, whose done a shitload more for his team this year than KG and AK combined. You’re just trolling Fux.

        “It wouldn’t even be close in the playoffs.”. hahaha, so OKC and Indiana should be shaking in their boots fearing Raps in the playoffs? 1 game, pfffffffffffffffffffftroll

        • sleepz

          Previous game, Brooklyn should have won that game as well but tossed away the game right at the end with a careless turnover.

          Demar wasn’t there last night either.

          • ItsAboutFun

            “Demar wasn’t there last night either.”

            And that had nothing to do with the nets entire defense being geared toward blanketing him, denying passing lanes to him, and throwing constant double, even triple teams at him when he had the ball.

            It’s hilarious how some here will pay lip service to how important defense is, yet the only defense they notice when watching a game is blocks and steals, or any other defensive action that even a half blind grandma would notice.

            • sleepz

              Yeah because Alan Anderson and Livingston are lock down defenders.

              Also wasn’t aware that you could only score to influence the game nowadays?

              It’s hilarious how some will make excuses for a player who didn’t drop their normal scoring numbers but didn’t do anything else and act like that’s just the nature of the game. I’m sure Brooklyn was blanketing him from crashing the boards and doing other trivial basketball things, because scoring you know, that’s where it’s at!

              it’s only 1 game so I’m not hating on him, just responding to your ‘take’ on last night.

              • sleepz

                Awaiting your response, fassie.
                Nothing to say?

                • What the

                  “so we get to the playoffs then what?” tell me who said these words?

                • ItsAboutFun

                  Nah, reached the point of not wishing to lower myself to your area of simplistic expertise.

        • FLUXLAND

          You are the troll, p00ka.

          How I am to argue with someone who believes there’s no difference between the regular season and the playoffs, or who thinks playoff experience means nothing.

          You’re a delusional THF, that’s all.

          • Guest

            Haven’t you argued that the Raps making the playoffs has no relevance because they won’t win and gaining playoff experience doesn’t matter? All you’re previous comments about the Nets (built for playoffs, cruising at the moment, jj having a “playoff game”) are all spot on observations. However, I am pointing out that you have no regularly backtracked on positions you had previously chosen to argue on, and are a sad and spiteful hypocrite. Any further comments should be ignored by all, for they are worthless, purposely argumentative drivel.

            Go join a Lakers board bai.

            • FLUXLAND

              The point you are bringing up was discussed further, so I don’t know if you stopped reading the discussion or what.. but this is some weak attempt to call me a hypocrite, especially when you didn’t even read the whole thing.

              Perhaps you should backtrack and re read before you make a clown out of yourself like you just did.

              I know reading is hard for some, but don’t give up Champ.

              • ItsAboutFun

                lol, why don’t you give us the lame JV critique vs Drummond again. You know, the one where you babble about Jax being so keen on Drummond that he wants to be involved with the Pistons (his interest isn’t the $$$ paid as a “consultant”,haha)….. Thing is, he’s so “interested in developing Drummond” that he’s going to the impressive Knicks,,,,,,,,, to develop Bargnani? LOL, truth is you know shit about “ball”, except extrapolating anecdotal information to arrive at your wild ass conclusions expertise about what you “know” about players, coaches, executives, etc.

                • FLUXLAND

                  I don’t have to give you anything, you watched Drummond during AS weekend and one additional game. then proceeded to shower RR with you wisdom about his future.

                  And you end your comment with “what you “know” about players, coaches, executives, etc.” Did you even read what you wrote before that? Tell us more about how Jax plans on joining the Knicks and keeping Bargs.

                  Thanks for the laughs, as always. Whatever I know about ball will be more than you could learn in two lifetimes, rest assured.

                • ItsAboutFun

                  lol, so you got nothing on your proclamation of Jax being so enamored by Drummond. Just like with the Knicks, he’s only interested in the $$, but c’mon, tell how he’s so enamored with Drummond that he wants to be involved with the Pistons. Back up your own BS response before questioning mine again. I presented a “basketball” related opinion, and you countered with some lame “Jax” thinks he’s so good he’s drooling to work with him. You talk “ball”, lmao.

                  PS. The Bargnani comment was the joke part of my post, but you may need to take you nose out of your navel to see that.

                • FLUXLAND

                  The fact he is negotiating with the NYK somehow changes his opinion of AD? Interesting.

                  I don’t have to tell you he is. He said so himself. Look it up.

                  And the GCOA is only interested in $?

                  p00ka, can you tell is what Jax is having for dinner tonight? Seems like you guys are related.

      • Guest

        You’re not us.

        • FLUXLAND

          No one asked you.

          And who are you .. a fan police deputy for Sheriff p00ka? GTFO with this BS. Talk ball.

          • Haim not Feldman

            Word up homez!

          • levels

            lol you’re asking about fan police deputies? All you do is tell other people how to think and feel about the team, as if it’s horrible to enjoy a young team that plays hard and has won more games than expected. do you speak to/treat people like this in real life? serious question, because i can’t imagine you’d have many friends if so. just a casual observation – i have no dog in this fight.

            • FLUXLAND

              Huh? I tell them how to think and fell? Really? Show me some quotes… are you just making stuff up because your feelings are hurt?

              Are you confusing a difference in opinion for something else? And why are yo so focused on what I am doing? How about you reply with something basketball related instead of worrying about how I am coming across? Those are all serious questions btw. Why do you have this weird interest in my personal life? What’s it to ya?

      • What the

        i wonder if we ever beat them before, they are so good mybe if we tank we can land a transthingy player and win the chip next season ain’t that right Flux

        • FLUXLAND

          In the playoffs? Hmm… you tell me superfan.

          Either way, at least the Lakers are taking right. Don’t cry when they land that transthingy player and Kobe wins his 6th.

      • Steverino

        “Us”? Come on, you’re a Laker fan. It’s not “us” to you or else you’d have a Raptor jersey as your icon.

        • FLUXLAND

          Weird how the Lakers were around before the Raptors.. also, notice that’s a Bryant jersey. If I wanted to rep the Lakers, maybe I would have something different on there?

          • level

            Who are the Lakers? This site is for Raptors fans dude – think you are all mixed up inside, you seem like a guy struggling with his emotions. Stop telling others how to think and deal with your issues.. so someone is overly optimistic about a basketball team? OMG they must be stopped! AND IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO STOP THEM FLUX WHAT WOULD THEY DO WITHOUT YOU OMG THEY WOULD BE HAPPY AND THAT CAN’T HAPPEN!!!!!!

            • FLUXLAND

              Maybe you should stop worry about me dude. How old are you? Are you really getting hurt over a picture?

              They only thing that needs to stop is you obsessing over me.

        • what the

          FLUX is here for KOmar (showtime)…KObe is like 50 or something

      • DJL

        Us? You are not a raptors fan – you’re a guy who trolls raptors fans. Never once heard a positive word out of your mouth – mostly just telling other people that their opinions are wrong and that they shouldn’t enjoy anything unless it’s the raptors winning a championship. no idea why you spend so much time here. pretty sad.

  • OG

    great post

    • DC

      Great perspective

  • AnthonyF

    I posted elsewhere, but more suited here……
    It was all All Ross’ fault….. Actually what we saw was how much we have come to count on him. He basically led the Raptors the first quarter and then his shot went. It has become almost unrealistic to expect every 3 he put up to swish….. And yesterday is a case in point. Let’s hope this was just an anomaly because he as much as the others is a crucial
    part of this teams success.

    Oh and Demar had a bad game too….. Happens.

    What is bothersome and again I bring it up is the team again lost another game where they had the ball and a chance to go ahead with under30 seconds to go and lost. 2-11 now in those games (wins in OT vs. Dallas and Brooklyn, losses Charlotte X 3, Brooklyn X 2, Chicago, Miami,Houston OT, Portland x 2 OT, Washington), which does not bode well come
    the playoffs.

    • Zimdim

      That’s a very good point. Young core tho, should be even better in upcoming years. MU will probably look for a quality FA addition this summer.

    • Ghotte

      Might not bode well for the playoffs but they are learning. Case in point: With the best 4th quarter stats in the league they’ve learned to NOT leave it to the last 30 seconds of a game to determine the outcome.

      • Will

        Very good point here.

      • AnthonyF

        Yes the fourth quarters have been very good for the most part and have pulled away in many of them. The issue has been we had the ball (or OT) and did not execute. To drill down further, Amir misses a jimmy vs. Miami, Demar completely tied up vs. Chicago (2 X’s), Demar misses FT in OT and Walker buries a last second shot, Lowry misses FT to tie vs. Charlotte, Ross dribbles in to paint and loses it yesterday, Gortat ties it with 5 seconds after not securing rebound and we miss shots in reg & OT, and OT losses Houston & Portland. Three more wins and still 5 & 8, which isn’t great.

        • ItsAboutFun

          Anybody can cherry pick with a developing team. You’re not suggesting they should be performing like a contender are you? Like Miami, who’ve lost to Utah, Knicks, Pistons? Bums!!

          Easy to cherry pick much more great execution from this team than the few blips you’re whining about.

          • AnthonyF

            No I went through the wins and losses this year that were decided in the last 30 seconds or overtime. That is not cherry picking, it is a fact. Minnesota has also been terrible in late game situations. Conversely until recently Portland was winning at an unheard of pace games decided the last 30 seconds.

            I don’t consider a 3 point game, where the raptors hit a big shit with a minute to go the same (i.e. the Sunday Minnesota game), or the horrendous call vs. Sacramento that would have made it a 2 point game when I posted.

            Simply the Raptors had the ball with a chance to win (or OT) in every example above.

            • FLUXLAND

              You are not dealing with a reasonable person.

              You have expressed something about the Raptors that doesn’t portray them in a positive light.

              This enrages him and he will make every attempt to question your character/loyalty to the team, in typical homer troll fashion.

    • Derek G

      That’s actually a great analysis stat… and definitely concerning. They’ve got to diversity their end game play calling for sure..

  • Zimdim

    This is a special team on the rise.
    The core of starters is only getting bigger, stronger and more experienced.
    2Pat, Vasquez, Salmons and Psyco T provide a quality bench unit for this year. All this making the raps a much more desired team by FA’s.

    Exciting finish ahead,

    and MU has a huge off season ahead!

  • sleepz

    I know Brooklyn would probably be a slight favorite in a 7 game series against the Raps if they were to meet in the playoffs, but that team…..I don’t know….they just look old and slow. I tend to think experience and vets who have been there would win out in the end as that’s typically how it works in the NBA, but from a regular season perspective the Nets have been a disappointment and when I watch them play, I seriously question if they can turn on the juice come playoff time. This isn’t the Celts of recent who had a history together so they played at a different pace during the regular season trying to nurse KG, Pierce and Allen and ensure health come playoff time…..no, this Brooklyn team just seems creaky and I don’t see them advancing very far come playoff time.

    Last thought, but if market stands to determine what Lowry makes, Raps had better hope he doesn’t have many suitors otherwise, he will have all the leverage as a free agent. If I was his agent, the starting talks on a re-up should be “higher than what Demar’s making”. He is the straw that stirs this drink and he has done well this year to showcase himself not only to the Raptors but other teams in the league. If he has other interested teams and his agent is able to secure other offers for his service, the Raps are going to have to pay to keep him here.

    • DC

      $40 million/4 years seems fair (and slightly more than DeMar).

  • golden

    Not using JV to punish the Nets for going small ball was one of the bigger tactical errors last night, IMO. If JV can’t score or get their bigs in foul trouble, then at least you’ve got some some reps in a game where both teams were competing hard to win. At some point, you’ve got to develop the kid and last night was the perfect time to do it.

    But then again, the bigger problem is that the Raps offense is designed to be initiated from the perimeter, either by screens to free a shooter, or dribble/ISO penetration and not very effective at entry passes in to the post, so JV is pretty much setup for failure and/or is learning bad habits on positioning and technique anyway. Would be nice to get an assistant coach from San Antonio to improve on that area (feeding the post).

    • Ghotte

      Neither the coaches nor players can confidently expect JV to execute in tight situations. He’s not punishing defenders, is slow to rotate on D, is more often hesitant and is turnover prone. Yes, he needs to learn but does that come at the possible expense of wins down the stretch? He’s crucial to the team getting wins but only when his minutes are kept between 25-30 min.

    • sleepz

      JV ‘development’ is an interesting debate. He’s not playing well enough to gift minutes…..but then again that’s how they developed DD.

      Casey is not concerned about this otherwise he wouldn’t ride Hansborough, Patterson, etc as much as he does.

      They are winning this year but is it coming at a longer term cost?

      • ItsAboutFun

        This “JV isn’t being developed” crap is tired old misguided BS.
        1. Using DeMar’s minutes to bitch is so out to lunch, in terms of vastly different situations for the team and entire organization, it doesn’t even deserve a moments thought. Ridiculous comparison.
        2. JV starts every game, and is averaging more minutes in his 2nd year than did Noah, Chandler, Hibbert and others. He’s being given plenty of minutes to develop, and if you listen to himself, he’s saying it[‘s on him to do better with what he’s given.

        • sleepz

          1) Why doesn’t it? That’s how they developed Demar, gifting him minutes regardless of what was happening. Are you saying they didn’t do this with DD? JV is also a prospect with the same team except he has been treated and handled differently. Both were or are ‘the future’. Demar’s game has developed has it not? You know you love him. Much of that is hard work and….wait for it…. minutes, burn, playing time. Is it simply not a good comparison because you say it isn’t?lol

          2) So what if he starts every game? If he doesn’t see the court much after the 1st 10 minutes of the game what is your point? And comparing him to Demar (a young lotter pick teammate in the same organization with the same kind of hopes pinned to him) was outlandish but comparing him to all star centers in this league is appropriate by your standards?lol
          Who’s trolling now bro?

          • ItsAboutFun

            Silly LOLs attached to silly response, pfffft

            1. Playing different position, for different coach, different GM, different owners, on a team in a very different position (MANY aspects, but do you need a paint by numbers guide?), but are you saying the current team should be following the lead of Triano, BC, and the teachers? Doh
            2. Such a stupid response, I’ll let that speak for itself.

            • sleepz

              No, LOL’s are attached to those who amuse me. Good job bro. And I was saying player development for many young players around the league is through minutes and playing time. Playing through mistakes and experiencing situations. But I remember you just started tuning into ball recently so i woulnd’t expect you to get that.
              Posters that have to respond with insults. LOL I’ll let that speak for itself.
              I talk ball, and all you do is your typical Nazi post regulation, pooka. Speak on ball. otherwise, you don’t have to respond. Keep it movin.

              • FLUXLAND

                “But I remember you just started tuning into ball recently so i woulnd’t expect you to get that.”

                He will have you believe he’s gained infinite NBA insight because his daughter coaches kids somewhere. And he can’t talk ball, his shtick is attacking the poster personally and diluting the discussion to “you don’t know anything, you are not a GM” #clown.

          • Guest

            Guy, he’s not trolling. He laid out a set of facts to explain why he thinks you’re wrong. You then attempted to refute those facts with your own opinion. That is a debate or argument, not him trolling you. Internet generation sucks. People have different opinions. Doesn’t make them all trolls.

            • FLUXLAND

              “People have different opinions. Doesn’t make them all trolls.”

              Now repeat that to yourself until it sinks into your thick skull.

              • what the

                KOmar is an allstar—-KOmar is an allstar—KOmar is an allstar— KOmar is an allstar it works for me.

                • FLUXLAND

                  Reserve, you mean. lololol

            • Abused Raptors Fan

              In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topicmessages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally[3][4] or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[5] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

              They want it to kick off. They want to promote antipathetic emotions of disgust and outrage, which morbidly gives them a sense of pleasure.

              The troll attempts to pass as a legitimate participant, sharing the group’s common interests and concerns; the groups members, if they are cognizant of trolls and other identity deceptions, attempt to both distinguish real from trolling postings, and upon judging a poster a troll, make the offending poster leave the group.

              So, a troll would be someone who comes onto this website to engage in fan discussions even though they are not a Raptors fan. Here, they regularly criticize the team and its fans under the guise of common interest in the team. But their intended purpose for participating is to elicit an emotional response from other posters. Generally, they look towards individuals who are more emotionally invested in the topic of discussion, in this case “die hard homers”, as these individuals are far more likely to provide the desired response.

  • Haim not Feldman

    Fear not Rap Nation. If KG had played, the Raps would’ve won. JV skooled him the last time. Just chalk up last night for more experience for Famous Greivis, Tyler “U Mad” hansBro, Super Novak and the rest of the bench cuz it’s better to get their fears and f*ck ups out of the way now than in Round 2 Game 7.

  • Will

    I’m actually not that upset that they lost this game. Lately, it’s felt like the wins have come a little easy and it wouldn’t hurt for them to feel pressure to continue to do better. If they had won the season series 3-1, and had to face them in the playoffs, they might feel overconfident. Now, they’ve got the additional motivation to improve and to hang on to the division lead. If we face them in the playoffs, we’ll be the underdogs and that’s just fine with me.

  • Justin Hamilton

    I really think this could be a scary team if left together for a few years. Indiana was not very good or a couple years and look at where they are at now. If this team is left together (maybe upgrade at 4 spot and keep improving bench) I think they challenge for the East title in 2 years. Good post and article. I think many tear’s will be shed by Raptor fans if he goes some where else.

    • Justin Hamilton

      Something that I didn’t notice till I was playing 2K11 was that 2pat was in the same draft as Ed Davis. I thought he was older.

  • Matty

    great post. one of the best articles i’ve read all year on this website.

  • JCREX

    their coaching is the weak link on this team. I pin jv’s lack of progress directly on casey. he shows no confidence in him and gives him zero leash. he pulls him after making one mistake so jv is extremely rattled when he messes up. 25 mins a game is very low for a top 5 drafted sophmore. playing fatboy chuck hayes over him makes no sense the guy is a scrub.
    caseys love for veterans is very frusterating. playing salmons 25 mins a game when he is shooting terribly and playing subpar defense doesnt make a whole lot of sense. ross is a very good shooter scoring 14 ppg in 25 mins since the all star break and he is also already our best defender on the team. we are going to get smashed in the playoffs if were playing salmons, vasquez, hayes in the 4th q they arent talented enough to compete with playoff level teams for high minutes. i am excited for the playoffs but i can see the raps getting outcoached every game and being very frusterated i cant wait until next year when masai gets us a new coach and this team will finally be free of casey

  • Alb

    Paul Pierce is so old now, he’s literally taped together by duct tape.

  • Abused Raptors Fan

    Pretty sure Ross just turned the ball over at the end of the game, rather than going out of bounds. Other than that, good article.

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