Toronto entered Friday’s game with three items on their check list: clinch the Atlantic Division, tie a franchise record for wins and retain their position as the East’s third seed. Despite the loss, Toronto managed to clinch the division due to Brooklyn’s loss.

On Friday, six of the seven confirmed Eastern playoff teams swapped positions. Saturday the top two seeds switched back and the final seed (Atlanta) was confirmed. Seven of the eight teams have yet to cement their seeding, and aren’t likely to until the last games are played Wednesday.

This afternoon the Raptors will look to get back in the win column in Detroit before returning home to play Milwaukee tomorrow and finish the season Wednesday in New York.

Chicago, having supplanted Toronto as the third seed will be in New York in their own back-to back series with the back end at home vs. Orlando and they’ll finish in Charlotte. Unfortunately, the Knicks who came into Toronto desperate have since been eliminated and will have no motivation to play the Bulls with the same intensity and will likely rest injured star Anthony.

If Toronto wants to regain the third seed they need to take care of business by winning their final 3 games and hope Chicago loses one of theirs. The difference between Toronto and Chicago in March and April is Chicago has one additional win.  

With so much jockeying back and forth within the standings it’s hard for the Raptors to pick a preference of position. Ultimately Toronto’s best bet is to do what they’ve done all year and rebound following a loss with a series of wins. That starts today in Detroit, so let’s examine the match-up.

Detroit Jonas throws down

Before we break it down, JM Poulard of ESPN True Hoop Network and writer for Piston Powered was kind enough to answer a few questions.

While Toronto is in a dog fight with Chicago to capture the 3-seed, Detroit had a completely different focus of maintaining their position in 23rd (or 8th in the draft lottery). Charlotte had the rights to the Pistons pick, however it was draft protected to 8.  One could assume the front office probably mandated Coach Loyer to make sure they didn’t climb higher and the team delivered on this promise. Since Chicago won Friday it guaranteed the Pistons will retain their lottery pick.  With this objective resolved, do you think Loyer pushes the squad to play spoiler versus Toronto and OKC to close out the season on a high note? 

Honestly, it’s really tough to tell. It’s not like the Pistons were actually winning a multitude of games when they were trying to do so. Detroit “boasts” a bottom-third league defense, and they are the proud owners of the second-worst clutch rating in the league per

Detroit’s warts have an amazing knack for showing up in late-game situations. Thus, if the Pistons want to play the role of spoilers, it might basically not matter.

This past summer Joe Dumars acquired free agents Brandon Jennings (3 years/$24 million) and Josh Smith (4 years/$53 million). On paper the signings looked to be upgrades, however I posted it had the potential for disaster given the caustic nature of both players. Sure enough they are both having terrible seasons: many of Jennings stats have digressed and Smith has put up the most 3-point shots of his career (265) hitting on only 26% and has the lowest FG% of his career. Is this simply a chemistry issue and what can be done moving forward so these two players live up to their salaries?  

Here’s the dirty little secret about Brandon Jennings: this is who he’s always been. Jennings is a low-percentage shooter that enjoys taking difficult shots off the dribble. Placing him alongside players that need the ball in their hands to be effective was never going to work out well. Still, Detroit’s offensive rebounding prowess certainly goes hand in hand with Jennings’ insistence to take odd shots.

As it pertains to Josh Smith, his evolution is somewhat understandable. He’s a power forward that occasionally drifts to the perimeter and settles for long jumpers. And yet, the Pistons have opted to play him at small forward without actually thinking through the consequences.

Smith is an underrated passer and solid defensive player when engaged, but Pistons fans will find that hard to believe since they’ve only seen that player sporadically. I don’t expect any change from Jennings going forward, but Smith can certainly be salvageable depending on the team’s philosophy and scheme next season.

On the subject of Dumars I’m surprised owner Tom Gores didn’t fire him after the debacle that brought Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon to the Pistons. To that end, several media outlets report he will resign at the end of the season and there is speculation he may already have a position in Cleveland. His tenure includes several highlights (2004 championship) and lowlights (overpaying athletes, firing a succession of coaches and missing the playoffs the past 5 seasons). What are your personal highs and lows of the Dumars reign? 

Joe Dumars pulled off one of the best and worst moves in Pistons history in less than a year. Dumars drafted Darko Milicic while the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were all still on the board.

His best move though? Trading for Rasheed Wallace. That move turned the Pistons into a title team. Dumars had a great read on the pulse of the 2003-04 team, and that allowed him to turn it into a title contender. An argument could be made that he has never had a better feel for any of his teams.

As for tonight’s match-up, aside from containing Detroit’s impressive front court what do the Raptors need to do to shut down the Pistons?

The Raptors need to be ready to defend the paint. The Pistons take a lot of shots in the restricted area via drives, post-ups and offensive rebounds. Toronto has done a good job this season of thwarting Detroit at the basket with their interior players, which explains why the Pistons have only converted 41.5 percent of their field goals versus Toronto.

As long as the Raptors protect the basket area with the same fervor, they should get an opportunity to win the game.


  • Josh Smith: patella tendinitis, listed as doubtful
  • Will Bynum, right foot,  listed as doubtful
Detroit Jonas defends Drummond

Positional Match-ups

Back Court — Lowery and DeRozan have been stellar all season especially following a loss. What more needs to be said.

As per JM, Jennings loves to take difficult shots and forget about his wealth of talent in the front court. Add in the added incentive of showing off for fellow Californian and friend DeRozan and we could see some real crazy shots from him today.  Stuckey replaces the injured Bynum as a starter. Last time out Stuckey had just 3 assists and 1 rebound to show for his 26-minutes on court.

Advantage — Toronto will dominate

Front Court —The marquee match-up of the day will be between Valanciunas and Drummond who have both been on a tear (see below). Johnson is still rusty after so much time off, however given how important today’s game is and the fact he always gets up for his old team it should translate into a big afternoon. Ross was not happy with the whistle or the difficult task of guarding Melo Friday so we’ll hopefully see a rebound game from him today.

Drummond is a beast and Monroe is equally talented, however they both leave a lot to be desired on the defensive end. Singler replaces Smith at the Small Forward.

Last 3 games:

Valanciunas: 19 points, 15.3 rebounds

Drummond: 18.6 points, 19 rebounds

Advantage — As per JM, Detroit love to score in the paint so taking away the paint and grabbing rebounds will be the Raptors emphasis today. Drummond will get his, but Toronto will take the category by game’s end. 

Bench — Patterson appears back in form and will create nightmares for whoever guards him.  Vasquez will have to guard Rookie Siva who has been getting more minutes due to injuries and had some good moments but it’s the type of contest GV thrives on. Bottom line without Smith or Bynum the Piston’s bench is pretty slim and with Toronto back to full health it should provide a big advantage for the Raptors.

Advantage — Raptors

Team Rating:

  • Toronto: 46-33  – offense- 10th, defense- 8th
  • Detroit: 29-51 – offense- 19th, defense- 25th

Other notables:

  • A win today will tie Raptor franchise record for most wins in a season (47).
  • Toronto is 7-3 in last 10 while Detroit is 3-7.
  • Since February 10th, Toronto has only lost 2 consecutive games once.
  • Two previous games versus Detroit at ACC were won by 21 and 14 points

Vegas Says: As of post time the Raptors favored by 6.5, over/under: 206 with public favoring Raptors by 56%

Tamberlyn Says — Expect the Raptors to come out focused and pounce on the Pistons. Look for a full 48-minute effort especially on the defensive end. In fairness, the defensive slippage had a lot to do with Patterson, Johnson and Lowry all missing games due to injury so they’ll want to get back on track starting today.

Toronto will sweep season series and win by 10+ points.

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  • Guest

    Bold prediction in bold! I like it!

    • Tamberlyn Richardson

      Well you know me I never shy away from the bold predictions! Remember February 4th I called for 48 wins so I’ll hope I was one off and they get 49!

      • FLUXLAND

        Was that really that big of a leap, seeing they had the easiest schedule since mid January?

        • Tamberlyn Richardson

          Flux did you get up on the wrong side of the bed today? I think predicting an additional 22 wins over 2 months ago is brag-worthy. I don’t see many bloggers make those types of predictions and given how many of the upper seeds lost to teams they were expected to beat it’s valid. No?

          Perhaps we’ve lost our interaction mojo Flux… sadness. :=(

          • FLUXLAND

            Hahahaha… believe me, I don’t wanna lose it. But you’re killing me with the crazy optimism that seems to be rooted in statistical streaks. Needs a little perspective, no?

            By all means, bask away in the prediction glory…you did make the call, not trying to take it away from you.

            A thing to not is there were also predictions about CHI taking over the 3rd spot and BKN winning the Atlantic..which the Raps will only win by a game or two, not exactly something to write home about.

            • Tamberlyn Richardson

              I get what your saying Flux but the fact is while the Raps defense has
              slipped so have great teams like the Pacers. I’m definitely optimistic
              and perhaps it’s because it’s been so long since any Raptor follower has
              had the opportunity to be.

              Not having a healthy Amir has hurt as well as Patterson being out for many games. Sure the Raptors had an easier schedule to finish the year, however they still beat Western
              teams and quality teams like GSW, Houston, Memphis and Indy. Plus they
              never suffered a 20-point blow out all season and even when they weren’t
              on, they still competed right to the bitter end of games. That has to
              count for something.

              Regardless if they make it out of the first round or not I’m happy this young core will be getting post season experience which is crucial to their development.

              Can they beat Brooklyn, I think they can, however the whistles will definitely cost us
              a game. On the other hand the Nets are not a great road team so the Raptors can steal one on their court.

              At the end of the day it’s JUST MY HUMBLE OPINION. 🙂

            • CJT

              Winning the Atlantic over the Knicks and Nets is something to write home about. How many would have called that at the beginning of the season. How many said that the Nets would come back and take the division once they started playing better. The Raps held on with a pretty good record. What’s not to like about that.

              • FLUXLAND

                They will lose the division by, what? One or two games? And the Nets were missing Lopez..

                You can like it, but it’s not like the Raps dominated the division while the rest of it was at its best. Doesn’t matter how many would have called it at the start of the season… what matters is how it happened. Again, I wouldn’t be writing home about it.

                • CJT

                  You are completely discounting the myriad of injuries the Raps have suffered in the last two months to key players and still have managed to secure one of the best records in the East. I think that does speak volumes to the way they won the division. I am not kidding myself in that the Nets on paper have a HUGE talent advantage with at least 4 former franchise players in the starting line up, but the Raps played better all season and deserve the division whether it is by one game, or 10 games. It doesn’t matter if they dominated, they kept pace down the stretch and pulled it out.

                • FLUXLAND

                  “…but the Raps played better all season” has no bearing in the playoffs.

                  I disagree, I think how the banner is won does matter. I also think it matters how you close out your season. It’s a little odd you think there’s no difference between dominating and barely winning. This is the Titanic Division title all over again.

                  Myriad of injuries? That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but either way… considering they’ve had the easiest schedule since mid January, it should have been expected to a certain degree, no?

    • Guest

      They won by 9! You should quit your day job and go work for the degenerates!
      Watched the Detroit feed and was very impressed with how we closed this out in the 4th. I hope DeRozan gets a good mark on the post-game because everyone outside of Toronto recognizes his skill. Like big Val not baling down at the end of the game.

  • MoPeteRules

    Tamberlyn I love reading your pregame analyses. I’m sure most fans want Washington or Charlotte in round 1, but as a holder of some overpriced Game 1 tickets, a little part of me wants to see a downright dirty series with the Nets. I haven’t disliked a team as much as the Nets in a while, but the only consequence is potentially playing the Heat in the second round as opposed to the Pacers. There is one slightly terrible analogy I’ll make, it’s like the Raptors are a teenager trying impress their father (the league) and sure if we beat other teenagers (Wiz or Bobcats) it’s not as impressive since it is mostly expected, however if we beat the Nets (fully grown adults) everyone’s gonna be all like ‘Oh shiiiat check out who the Raps beat’.

    • mountio

      Except that if we lose to fully grown adults in 5 or 6 games and no one even remembers that we made the playoffs, then its all for not.
      Not that we have perfect clarity over our destiny as the heat and pacers both seem hellbent on losing every game these days, but as a holder of similar overpriced playoff tickets, Ill take beating Cha/wash, upsetting the pacers then getting blown out by the Heat all day, every day …

      • Will

        What if Indiana locks up first and Brooklyn is locked into fourth in the east? Would you rather face Charlotte/Washington and then Miami or Brooklyn and then Indiana? I can’t decide which I’d prefer.

        • mountio

          Its an excellent question (and a real possibility … although I assume the Pacers will lose to OKC today, giving Miami the leg up, at least for now).
          Anyways .. I think if it came down to it, I would chose avoiding the Heat in round 2 as my primary goal. While Im scared of the Nets / Bulls, Im not so scared of them that I dont think we can take care of business in round 1. And, I actually think we have a legit chance (very legit) against the pacers .. whereas we have zero hope against the heat.

          • RaptorsInThisBitch

            LOL I Swear we have no chance against LeBron James..F*$K!!!

            • DDayLewis

              Nobody has a chance against LeBron James. Consider that the last time Miami lost a series, it was against a streaking Mavs team with Dirk, Marion, Kidd, Barea, Chandler and Terry playing out of their minds.

      • jjdynomite

        I see what you’re saying, mountio — wanting to postpone the difficult matchups to later if at all possible — but although Lieweke and Tannenbaum will appreciate it for the gate receipts, does anyone really care who gets “blown out” in the Semis or Finals?

        Without checking, does anyone remember who the Pacers beat last year in the ECSemis? (Yup, it was the Knicks; obviously Bustnani really helped them improve this season).

        Hell, does anyone remember who lost last season to the Spurs in the WC*Finals*? (The Grizzlies — now they are hard-pressed to make the playoffs).

        The only reason Raps fans still have fond memories of the ‘2001 Vince Graduation Series is that it was the only ECSemis the Raps were ever in, and it was close. If the Iversons hammered them in 4 or 5 it would be yet another embarrassing footnote.

        It’s pretty presumptuous for any Raptor fan to predict winning any series, let alone getting “blown out” in the ECFinals. Might as well have the first round be the most exciting one; who knows what will come next.

        • mountio

          Fair enough .. and dont get me wrong .. I would love to watch (and be at) a first round series vs Brooklyn. The emotion would be highest in the ACC vs them as compared to any other matchup. I just have a sick feeling that someway, somehow, we dont come out on top vs them …

        • Icarus Descending

          Personally I hope for us to make it past the first round solely to get our young guys playoff experience and couldn’t care less if it’s remembered in the future. We’re nowhere near title contenders but getting playoff experience is just one of the aspects of the team that needs to improve to move in that direction. Really excited for the potential growth here for JV and Ross.

    • jjdynomite

      MoPeteRules, you just crystallized for me why I want to beat the Brooklyn Nets so much. They combine the Big City assholery of the Knicks (JKidd), the historical self-entitlement of the Celtics (Pierce and KG), the no-name lackadaisical-ness of the Hawks (Joe Johnson), the get-out-of-Utah-and-screw-a-hall-of-fame-coach-ness (Deron Williams), and, of course, the 2007 playoffs (New Jersey Nets) — all tied in a bow by the faux-Communist kleptocrat Prokhorov who spends like it’s going out of style. Now that BLopez is out for the season, the only likeable player on the team is Livingston coming back from his gruesome injury. The rest of the team has assholes like Blatche and AAnderson on them. Screw those guys.

      • mountio

        I agree 1000% with your assessment of the Nets – I hate them more than you can imagine …. but Im not gonna lie, thats why Im not looking forward to playing them in the first round .. because all of the things you mention would make a first round exit to them that much harder to swallow (and if there is one team that I can imagine getting all the breaks, close calls and hitting dagger shots against us … its the Nets

      • DDayLewis

        What’s wrong with alan Anderson? Dude worked his ass off to get to the NBA, and from what I know, he’s a good locker room guy. Am I missing something?

        • jjdynomite

          Maybe you’re too young, Will (just kidding), but AAnderson reminded me of Mike James, another guy who “worked his ass off to get to the NBA”, but because he was always gunning for the next contract, had no clue how to play within the team concept, and shot the Raps out of as many games as he kept them in it. You do realize his FG% was .387 in 2011-2012 and .383 in 2012-2013. Just garbage. Compare his marksmanship with, say, TRoss, who rarely takes a YOLO shot unless the clock’s running down.

          Plus a fact, he looks like Method Man… on Meth.

          • DDayLewis

            Okay, put yourself in his position. You’re trying to make it to the league, and you’re on a crappy Raptors team with almost nobody who is worth passing to. What do you do in that situation? It doesn’t make him an asshole in my books. Look how he’s doing in Brooklyn this year, with a far superior team than last year’s Raptors. He’s no longer posting ridiculously high usage rates, and he’s a reason why their small-ball lineup works.

            TL;DR: Can’t hate a guy for trying to get his, especially when he wasn’t guaranteed any spots in the NBA

            • jjdynomite

              DDay, maybe calling AAnderson an “asshole” was harsh (as opposed to Blatche where it is deserved) but I’m unclear why one should venerate POOR play, even on a poor team. Perhaps AA’s chucking was a large part of the Raptors sucking last season? Maybe Ross would have had more confidence in 2012-2013 if Anderson, you know, shared the ball just a tad? There are many players on the bubble who don’t end up playing like mini-Rudys.

              As well, it’s all well and good for Anderson to be a solid contributor to the Nets’ bench this season, but I don’t need to remind you or anyone else that the Nets are 3 games back of the Raps and lost out on the Atlantic Division that they were all-but-handed in the pre-season — with a payroll 2x as high and veteran star power 5x as high. And Anderson was on their team all season.

              P.S. Now that I have your attention, you should get Zarar to update the banner on the site, it’s still showing Wednesday and Fridays games as opposed to the upcoming Wednesday.

              • GetLicks

                One thing is certain: Blatche is a cunt.

              • DDayLewis

                Look, I wasn’t a big fan of Alan Anderson’s chucking on the team last year either, but say he didn’t chuck, and just simply gave way to Terrence Ross to shoot instead. Last year’s offense clearly lacked the order and structure of this year’s, wherein every shot Ross gets is within the system, so what’s to say Ross wouldn’t have developed bad habits? Shots aren’t created, nor taken in a vacuum.

                And again, if Anderson didn’t shoot and put up stats, chances are he’s out of the league once more. You’re telling me that if you were in Anderson’s shoes, you wouldn’t have done the same to advance your career? Why uphold a double-standard?

                The Nets’ record is irrelevant to this discussion. My point with bringing up the Nets is that there is a much more rigid structure, and more capable players on the roster, as compared to last year’s Raptors. As a result, Anderson is no longer chucking shots because he doesn’t have to. That’s why his usage rate is down nearly 10 percentage points.

                And I’m pretty sure that banner is automated, and since there are no more games to report at this time (we won’t know until the playoff schedule is out), it’s going to be stuck on the final four games of the season, which includes two games that have already taken place.

                • jjdynomite

                  Okay, okay, Anderson isn’t a bad guy, but he represents the “I’m gettin’ mine” tradition of scrub players going off on bad teams (like the Raptors) — a la Mike James — that are no part of a successful tradition. I am sure if the Raps were bad we would have seen a lot more of Stone and Buycks this season; thankfully because of the Gay trade we have a functional bench.

                  And as for double standard, I am not a professional player so I couldn’t say what I would do if I was in his situation, but it’s not surprising that a team with Prokhorov holding the purse strings would offer Anderson and his YOLO ways a million dollar deal.

                • DDayLewis

                  Prokhorov’s luxury tax spending alone is financially buoying a number of teams. It’s kinda nuts. Basically, he’s paying 4.6 million to each team under the tax. That money alone is paying for:

                  Paul George, Rubio, Parsons, Lillard, Vucevic, Drummond, Thompson, Walker, Bledsoe, Gordon Hayward, etc etc

                  A full list can be found here:

                  So, in short, had I know Prokhorov was going to splurge on the NBA, I would have worked harder on my crossover dribble.

    • Tamberlyn Richardson

      Thanks for the compliment. What I’ll say about facing Brooklyn is this: I remember the year I wanted us to play the Washington Wizards because they had so many players injured, but EVERYONE wanted Vince and the Nets.

      In this case I’m almost inclined to want whatever seed gets us to face Indiana in the second round because I do believe the Raptors will win the first round regardless of who they face and I also believe we match up really well against the Pacers. Toronto has a psychological hurdle to overcome when it comes to facing Miami; it’s not that they can’t beat them it’s that they don’t approach games against the Heat BELIEVING they can beat them. However if they were to win 2 playoff rounds I believe their mindset would be different.

      The Pacers are currently back in first plus they own the tie-break over Miami since they are both division winners so the second tie-break would be based on conference wins and the Pacers have 3 more wins than the Heat who can’t tie them with only 2 conference games to play. The Heat can only take the top seed by winning an additional game which is plausible if they beat both Washington and Philly and if the Pacers lose to one of OKC or Orlando. I think if the Pacers beat OKC Sunday they’ll likely finish first, but they could just as easily lose that game and end up second.

      As for the first round, someone mentioned Williams is done but he is listed as probable for Sunday’s game although he is suffering from Patella tendonitis. My only issue with Brooklyn is the zebra affect. Given their penchant for rewarding veterans it will be interesting to see if Pierce, Garnett, Williams et el get all the calls while Toronto is once again treated like a team who is well below them. Too often this season we’ve seen their whistles play a role in game outcomes, but I’m hoping they’ll rise to the occasion having dealt with the disparity all season.

      I also believe Valanciunas increased confidence and improvement on defense is going to pay huge dividends. The fact he is finally getting some whistles/respect from the zebras is also a huge benefit coming at an opportune time.

      If I had my druthers I’d want Washington or Charlotte but my preference will be finishing aligned with a second round vs. Indy.

      Finally, something tells me when the Bulls enter round 2, mid-way through the series a young man named Rose will take the court. It’s kind of why I want Chicago to face Miami in the second round. I also find it interesting Chris Bosh has not missed significant games for the first time in many seasons; could he be due for an injury just as Wade returns?

      • FLUXLAND

        Let me get this straight:

        Round 1 is a forgone conclusion.
        We matchup WELL vs the Pacers,
        MIA is just a matter of believing,
        Rose is coming back
        and Bosh is going down?

        • Tamberlyn Richardson

          NOTHING is a forgone conclusion however in my opinion the team with the most wins in the East since December (that’s right the Raptors with 40 wins) will prevail to win their first round series.

          We match up BETTER vs Indy than we do vs. Miami, doesn’t mean we’ll win the series.

          As for Rose/Bosh it’s pure speculation and me operating on little sleep.

          BUT you have to admit it entertained you right? 🙂

          • FLUXLAND

            🙂 Sure, let’s go with entertained…

            “Raptors will win the first round regardless of who they face” certainly sounded like a forgone conclusion.

            And I really don’t think the difference between Toronto and Chicago is ONE game..most of your analysis seems to be stat/ranking based/w/l streak based..and I don’t think that’s very prudent or realistic.

          • d_1212

            Even though it would be nice to face Indiana in the 2nd round, if we are able to win the 1st round, and avoid Miami. However Miami, will play better from round to round, and the refs will be even more on their side as we go deeper in the playoffs. Lebron will be charging non-stop, and Lowry wont get those calls for him I guarantee. So meeting them in the ECF, it would be almost impossible to win a game against them. In a sense I wouldn’t mind them playing in the 2nd round, might as well lose against the champs, and it might be our best shot at them to win at least a couple of games against them.

      • ad

        “I do believe the Raptors will win the first round regardless of who they
        face and I also believe we match up really well against the Pacers”. Woah, woah, woah. I really dont think raps are beating bkn as much as I would love to that happen. Firstly, the playoff experience on that bkn roster is through the roof. Three of the raps starters have ZERO playoff experience. Meaning, they have never experienced the intennsity level of the playoffs which is drastically different than the the reg season. Secondly, raps are not gonna get the whistle in their favour too often in a 7 game series against that team. Ive watched nba ball enough to know that.
        So looking ahead to maybe facing indy in 2nd round is waaayyy premature. The reality is, even facing wsh or cha would be a tough challenge for this team and its not guaranteed they would get through them, esp with the d they have been showing lately.

      • asifyouknow

        I just hope that Casey doesn’t micro manage this team so much that it won’t allow them to play to their full potential.

        Playoffs are about playing at another level and if you handcuff the guys you can actually hurt them rather than help them. I know Casey has been in top teams but this is his first post season as a head coach

        Will he act like a rookie? That is the big question.

        • DDayLewis

          When have you seen Casey micromanage? You claim to be a Spurs fan. Pop micromanages. You could set your clock to Casey’s substitution patterns. He also rarely plays offense/defense.

          • asifyouknow

            Pops lets guys play through mistakes that is a well known fact, ask some of the experts you know.
            Casey freaks out and handcuffs guys I see it all the time . Look you are a big Toronto fan so is hard discussing X and o with you because you looking through a fans point of view. Nothing wrong with that. Casey micros everything all the time.
            He freaks out on Ross and Vaz all the time. you got to let folks play through mistakes to get better. Those two guys play scared to death that hey are going to do something wrong and get pulled out , that is oh in high school but this is the NBA.

            • GetLicks

              Popovich definitely doesn’t let guys ‘play through mistakes.’ If he sees something he doesn’t like, he yanks em, gives em an ear-full and expects they’ll make the right play next time. And it doesn’t matter if it’s Duncan or Corey Joseph, Pop don’t care. He minimizes mistakes, and that’s why the spurs have been so successful for so long. I can only imagine the look on Pop’s face if Vasquez were a spur, hoisting up shots at every chance. GP just wouldn’t let that happen.

            • DDayLewis

              See GetLicks’ comment below. Pop most certainly does not tolerate mistakes.

  • ckh26

    Need the remaining 3 left on the schedule to get right on the defensive end of the ball. Starts this afternoon in Auburn Hills. If Raps are still off on switches and help defense and don’t amp up the energy on the perimiter then it won’t matter who comes into the ACC for the playoffs as we will struggle.

    I like our chances against anyone coming in if we balance out the offense and defense. Going to have to amp up the intensity level as well and play desperate. Raps have another level they can play at. Chicago plays the same way each and every night. Not sure if Brooklyn can move up a level either.

    The Knicks are playing for jobs next year and won’t do dog tricks and roll over and die tonight. If we win out from here and the law of averages says Chicago will likely lose 1 of their last 3 we will get the 3rd slot.

    Raps finish 3rd and win today by 6.

  • Quest

    here is what i am thinking. the pacers can hold onto the first overall seed in the east, and we can take care of BK in the first round. then, we get to face indy in round 2. completely avoiding MIA. go raps

  • database_666

    “If Toronto wants to regain the third seed they need to take care of business by winning their final 3 games and hope Chicago loses one of theirs. The difference between Toronto and Chicago in March and April is Chicago has one additional win.” I think that the difference is far greater than that one additional win. For the last two months, Chicago has tightened the defence, on the wings of the sole mental and physical appliance of Noah. Although i absolutely do not like this player, his example is the testament of what defence means in this league. His is a single dimensional game, no offensive skills whatsoever, but his defence has propped the whole team up and his defence delivery keeps other team members accountable. In comparison, our home team has collectively gotten softer on defence, and on 2 levels: individually, and with the poor coaching schemes and matchups. That is what we need to do: get the defence back to the level required to participate in the playoffs, and get the individuals to play a collective, team based defence that is now gone missing.

    • jjdynomite

      That is odd, those in the know are touting Noah as the best passing C in the NBA… in fact, one of the best the game has ever seen since Walton.

      Last I checked passing was an OFFENSIVE stat, totally contradicting your loaded statement that he has “no offensive skills whatsoever.” So he doesn’t score 20ppg. Your point is outright incorrect.

      Not sure how anyone can “not like” Noah other than him being in the opposition. He plays with enthusiasm and intensity — and NOT just on defense — someone anyone would want on their team.

    • Ogi

      I don’t think the drop in defense has anything to do with coaching schemes, just poor execution and poor effort

  • GetLicks

    For a franchise that’s never won a 7-game series in its’ existence, there’s a lot of talk about matchups and 2nd round opponents. Nothing is guaranteed and looking ahead to the 2nd round is foolish. Let’s just take it 1 series at a time…

  • asifyouknow

    Just watched Casey on a practice press conference here are some of my random takes on that noise:
    Apparently the team took good open shots vs. Knicks but they were taken too soon, according to Casey they needed to pass those open shots to find better ones…WHAT !

    Please help me understand this, I thought that in basketball if you got an open look SHOOOOTT IT.

    Am I wrong?

    Casey is not happy about ball movement but yet when he gets Vaz in the game, who probably has the best vision of the floor on this team.

    Coach gets him to give up the ball as soon as he crosses half court, then Vaz stands in the corner waiting for a mercy or bail out shot with a couple seconds left (you know Raptor fans that thing called YOLO shots)

    Even though Vaz has been shooting a blistering 59% from three in the last five games and 44% since the all star game that is just part of his game, (also his FG is 45%) the best part of his game has dwindle to the lowest assists numbers I’ve ever seen.

    That is all Casey’s work. Period. Coach takes the ball out of the guys hand and gives it to DeMar so he can dribble it off his foot.

    If Casey things he’s going to keep teams under 95 points in this playoffs by asking Ross, Salmons and Tyler to stop taller and stronger forwards coach Casey is gone to get his feelings hurt. Toronto may not even need to unpack, it could be four and out.

    Mr. Casey needs to FREE everybody to think offensively and let this guys who have proven that they can do very well-SHOOTING THE BALL- including getting Novak 5 or 6 shots a game.

    Enough said.

    • DDayLewis

      I thought you were no longer going to post on Raptors Republic. What happened?

      • GetLicks

        Translation: you’re annoying and were supposed to be leaving. Why are you back?

        • DDayLewis


          • GetLicks

            We may not always agree on basketball points Lou, but I appreciate the way you engage with the readers and aren’t afraid to make a witty/sarcastic comment (even though I’ve been on the other end of some of em lol). Most of the time, it’s pretty damn funny

            • DDayLewis

              It’s all love. I’m down to talk ball whenever.

        • asifyouknow

          There is a great thing in the internet that is called IGNORE. Exercise it ! lol…
          Of course sometimes is hard to de and that is what makes a good comment.
          I liked your comment very much because it was smart and not offensive. That is what I try to do. Truly a great smack and no cursing…love it

          • GetLicks

            I agree, and in all seriousness, you should stick around. The more ppl on the raps (not just Vaz) playoff wagon, the better.

      • asifyouknow

        I lied? lol If you want to ban me for my opinions, I understand,. I’m an on your face type opinion maker.

        I’m a little arrogant I guess, I grew believing (and I still do) that opinions are an essential part of a free society, maybe that is not your take. I understand we both grew up in different environments.

        If you want me to go I will, if not I’ll keep on exercising a great privilege, free speech as long as it not offensive in content.

        After all Mr. Lou is just an opinion and as you well know there is no crime in that.

        Let me know , nothing personal just different philosophies on life.

        • DDayLewis

          Nah, you’re a fun fixture to have around here. I was just curious why you announced your exit, then came back 2-3 days later. That’s some Jay-Z shit right there.

          And your opinion is the very same every time, and it’s quite unabashed. Everyone here understands your position. You think Vasquez is really good and you hate everyone who is stopping him from shooting/shining/whatever he does.

          The frustration on the parts of most people, is that they see Vasquez for who he is — a good back-up point guard. Unlike you, most people can, and are willing to discuss his short-comings.

    • CJT

      I believe what Casey said is that he thought there was only about 8 shots taken that were “bad” shots, the rest weren’t bad, but if they had moved the ball the “good” shots could have resulted in “great” shots. Sometimes giving up an open shot to get a higher percentage open shot etc.

      I guess i should have read the rest of your comment to realize it was all a set up to bitch about why GV has played so poorly the last few games.

    • asifyouknow

      That’s what I’m talking about 42 points first quarter ..This team is a powerful offensive weapon…Free it Casey ,,,Free it…lol

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  • Pedro-

    Indiana is beating OKC and if they pull this, they are more likely to finish 1st. Hence, Raptors better finish 4th.