TORONTO, CANADA - April 11: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks attempts a free throw against the Toronto Raptors on April 11, 2014 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)

Raptors lose game but win Atlantic Division title | Toronto Star

The fact they will open at home regardless has to be of some solace. “It does, because we’re a young team and whoever we play . . . is going to be more of an experienced team, so being at home will help,” said Casey. “But it’s not the answer, it’s not the cure-all, it’s not going to win the game for you. We still have to go out and compete and do the things we have to do to win.” What matters, however, is how the Raptors are playing far more than who they will face. They were good for stretches against the Knicks on Friday but not for long enough and, uncharacteristically, they faded in the fourth quarter.

Lewenberg: Bittersweet celebration as Raptors clinch division | TSN

Toronto’s defeat, at the hands of a desperate Knicks teams fighting for their playoff lives, exposed a series of lingering concerns for Dwane Casey and his club. Meanwhile, with Chicago coming back from an 18-point deficit to knock off the Pistons, the Raptors fell out of the Eastern Conference’s third seed. Do they care who they’ll face in the opening round of the postseason, beginning next weekend, on Apr. 19 or 20? “No, not at all,” Lowry stated. “We’ve proved we can play with anybody in this league,” DeRozan added. “We understand that, so it really doesn’t matter to us.” He was not alone. The consensus in the room was just that, no, they’re not stressing over their first-round opponent, or so they say. In the grand scheme of things it could be the difference between the team’s second ever series victory or an early vacation, a reality they all seem to grasp, given their expressions of discontent upon learning that Chicago had won.

Knicks 108, Raptors 100: “This team, man.” | Posting and Toasting

Melo’s only consistent sidekick, save for spurts of help from his guards, was Amar’e Stoudemire, who had one of his finest games in by far his longest spin of the season. Amar’e waited on the weak side, caught passes out of good ball movement, and finished. Amar’e backed his man down, gained separation with a spin, and finished. Amar’e got touches in transition and out of the pick-and-roll and finished. The Raptors have decent interior defenders, and Amar’e jammed jams on all of them. Melo and the guards helped Amar’e out, too, by not just force-feeding him the ball but actually working around fronts and offering him bail-outs when help came. And he responded well, staying active off the ball and passing out a couple times when he was crowded. The begoggled one just had an especially lovely bounce for all his 40 minutes, and it even carried over to a weirdly productive stretch on the glass (11 boards in the first, 0 in the second half) and some spots of defense. Like maybe one or two defenses. A lot of fun to watch.

Rapid Recap: Raptors Capture Atlantic Division Title Despite 108 – 100 Loss to Knicks | Raptors HQ

Not quite how fans imagined things going down. Unfortunately, the Raptors put on a pretty sad display of basketball this evening and fans were left with no choice but to wait and see what the outcome of the Nets/Hawks game was. Luckily, the Hawks prevailed and Toronto nabs only its second division title in franchise history. However overshadowing the division title clinching was tonight’s game, another showcase of some suddenly porous Raptors’ defense. The New York Knicks shot 56 per cent in the first quarter and jumped out to a decent lead, and turned up the juice again to start the third quarter, dropping 33 points on Toronto and never really looking back.

No celebrations for Raptors after clinching division | Toronto Sun

DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson, the longest-serving Raptors, adamantly stated at the beginning of October that they were fed up with all of the losing and the playoffs weren’t just a goal, but rather a certainty. In a quiet 1-on-1 moment, Johnson managed a wide smile and admitted it did indeed feel quite sweet to finally be division champs after so many years of being fodder for other, better teams. While DeRozan said “it sucks” to lose, he also at least said it was a proud moment. “It sucks that we lost the game, especially with us trying to hold the third spot, but it feels great to win the division. I don’t think anybody would have picked us to win it. That’s definitely a great accomplishment,” DeRozan said. Kyle Lowry echoed those thoughts. “It’s sweet and sour. It’s very sweet that we won the division but it sucks that we didn’t win it by a win. But we’ll take the division champs any day.”

Raptors defence looks inept in loss to Knicks | Toronto Sun

“I’m more concerned about getting better,’’ head coach Dwane Casey said when apprised of his team capturing the division. “It’s great for the fans, believe me. I’m excited for the fans, but I’m concerned about 30% (shooting) inside the three-point line (Toronto’s percentage against the Knicks). “This franchise has had a lot of ups and downs. It’s funny how the expectations change. We go from developing and now all at once we lose to Carmelo Anthony and a team like this. Believe me, we still have growing to do. “We just want to be ready to go into the playoffs with some momentum and not let a game like (Friday night define the unit). I tip my hat (to the Knicks). Sometimes someone just kicks your butt.”

Toronto Raptors outmuscled by New York Knicks, but manage to clinch Atlantic Division with Brooklyn Nets loss | National Post

In a vacuum, this was not a good day for the Raptors. The Bulls came back to beat Detroit, passing the Raptors for third place in the conference. If those seeds hold — and that is far from certain — the Raptors will play the Nets in the first round as opposed to the less experienced Wizards or Bobcats. It could also potentially put them on the same side of the bracket as the Heat as opposed to the struggling Pacers. Those are first world problems compared to where the Raptors started the year, but they represent the new reality. Both Lowry and DeMar DeRozan expressed a complete apathy about the identity of their first-round opponent. “We’re still anxious,” DeRozan said. “We still want more. We’re not satisfied with nothing [yet]. We understand we have much more basketball to play and a long road to go and we want to take advantage of it. Not just get there and say we got there, where people doubted us. We definitely feel like we can go in and make some noise.”

Is Terrence Ross Ready to Make the Playoff Leap? | Grantland

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12 Responses to “Morning Coffee – Sat, Apr 12”

  1. Ds

    This loss could be deadly for the playoffs. Instead of going the Washington, Pacers, Heat route, they’re going to have to do the Nets, Heat way. If the Nets don’t take them out in the first round, the Heat will surely do in the second round.

    The defensive slippage is alarming. The last 3 games:

    Knicks 123.6

    76ers 125.5

    Bucks 116.3

    Surrendering an average of 121.8 pts/100 possessions is a recipe for 0-4 first-round exit. Hopefully, it’s only Amir’s absence. If not, …

    • noname

      i think it’s just amir’s presence and the fact that they are just anxious for the playoffs to start. I sense a little coasting from a team that really shouldn’t coast at all.

  2. Stef 511

    Anybody else getting a sense the Nets — and specifically, Jason Kidd — want us in the playoffs?

    Tuesday in Miami, Brooklyn beat the Heat for the 4th time this season; a season sweep. (And, let’s be real about this … ho-ly *good* fuck. No small accomplishment there.)

    Then, Wednesday in Orlando the Nets lost to the Magic .. who’ve lost 55 games this season.

    Last night at home, Brooklyn lost to Atlanta. The Nets sat Alan Anderson AND Deron Williams AND Shaun Livingston. And after missing two games with an illness, Andre Blatche was back, but .. he did not play. Garnett said after the game, “obviously, playing different types of lineups, Jason Kidd is seeing what works. He’s experimenting at this point …”. (Ya. Ok.)

    TRoss said he wanted to see the Nets in the playoffs. I hope he’s preparing himself to take it to the next level as I think we’re going to need it. It looks to me like the Nets might be gunning for us .. so he’ll probably get his wish. Also, DeMar — with his 3/4 speed play and dopey turnovers — had better start getting things back into high gear. (I don’t much like the way he’s playing at times, lately. Too comfortable.)

    • Stef

      [Off-topic note. ** Disqus won’t allow me to log in because, suddenly, they want to ‘view’ my email account (?) .. and the last time that happened and I allowed it, I lost the name I was using and its history. I won’t do that again. But there ya go. I DISLIKE Disqus, quite a lot. They are way (WAY) too intrusive for my way of thinking. I’m glad this site allows me to post as a ‘guest’. Thanks for that.]

    • stef

      I just had a closer look at the standings and .. maybe it doesn’t matter much that the Nets have lost the last couple games. Not entirely sure but I might be out to lunch on that.

      • jjdynomite

        Yes you are out to lunch. Falling to sub-.500 teams like the Magic and Hawks to lose out on home court advantage is not sensible playoff preparation by any extent. What if the Wizards catch the Nets (only 2 games behind) and they end up facing the Bulls (who have homecourt)?

        I for one am looking forward to the Raptors facing the Nets if it does come to that. To quote the great Rick Flair: “To be best you have to beat the best” — and the Nets were the consensus Atlantic Division champions at the start of the season (with BLopez, but still, no one was calling the Raps number).

        Let’s just have faith and optimism — the Raps have proven naysayers wrong all season.

        • Stef

          Ya, I know. Had a notion and wrote before I thought it out. In any case, can’t wait for the playoffs to start. Should be fun.

    • raps

      Why wouldn’t they want the raps? They sure as hell don’t want the bulls . ..

    • Haim not Feldman

      The Raps won the season series over the Nets though. They’ve looked lethargic of late but I think the Raps of late December – mid March will be back in time for the playoffs. That’s the team that played defence and played like scrappy underdogs with a chip on their shoulder. I am concerned about DeMar and JV. Post ASG, other teams have focused on DeMar and as for JV, as long as he’s not experimenting I hope he’ll continue beasting into the playoffs.

    • Bryan Colangelo

      As scary and motivated as the Nets are right now, they’re old and slow enough for the Raptors to have a puncher’s chance against them. They’re size and posting up of guards is problematic to defend against, but I don’t think scoring on them will be much of an issue.

      Better them than the Bulls or Bobcats, both more disciplined and better coached defensive teams that the Raptors have struggled against in the regular season.

      The real worry is the how biased the refs will be for the Nets. The NBA is going to do anything to try to get a Heat/Nets match-up for the ratings. I fully expect Kyle to get ejected from one game for some questionable technical fouls.



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