No Timeout Decision
Dwane Casey’s decision (or the team’s, for that matter) to not call a timeout down by a point and 39 seconds left can be debated to no end.
On one hand, you call the timeout and organize offensively to get a good shot. On the other, you catch the defense off-guard. I was comfortable with winging it, as Lowry did, and if Salmons had swung the ball one more time, Ross would’ve had a three to take. In a similarly adhoc play the Raptors ended up winning the game last time in Brooklyn, so it reasons that using a similar strategy wasn’t exactly a bad idea.
Of course, the ensuing play where Lowry took a deep, contested, three with no ball movement or screens to speak of is another matter. And that was coming out of a timeout. My issue with that play was that there was a clear chance to get a quick two after the Johnson switch since Lowry had a fairly easy pass (lob, maybe?) to Johnson as seen in the below frame:
In case you wanted to know what playoff experience the current Raptors team has, here’s a helpful table:
That’s 10 players with a total of 152 playoff game experience. In comparison, Paul Pierce has 126 and Kevin Garnett has 115.
The Raptors Matter Again
A Raptor loss used to be nothing more than part of the routine. Another day, another setback. You didn’t get upset nor lose much sleep over it because that’s what what was supposed to happen. The Raptors were supposed to lose and they played their part dutifully. That feeling is a far cry from what we’re seeing these days. Last night’s loss to the Nets hurt. When Ross turned that ball over, or when Lowry launched that ill-advised three, it hurt to the point where I turned the TV off and took a walk.
It was a sign that I still care and have expectations for this team. That is a 180 degree turnaround from yesteryear when the games simply blended into one another and the season was just one long blur mired in disappointment. Some wounds heal only when they’re deepened. And last night’s loss deepened the wound left by years of neglect and corrosion, but on the bright side it’s good to know there’s blood to bleed.