Crossing the Finish Line
It is no secret that for the most part of it's existence. the Raptors have been bad. Many things have contributed to their failure but their record would have been much better if the following was not a consistent problem Year after year I notice that at-least half their losses is due to their in-ability to Cross the Finish Line ahead of the opponent after being in the lead for the most part.
I don't know if it's just me or an actual fact but other teams don't seem to have this problem as consistently as the Raptors even with ex-Raptors in their teams.
If you agree, what do you think the reason is?
I think its because the other teams turns it on in the 4th too. Problem is, we hit 4 gear and they rev it up to 5.
I think it's somewhat of a coincidence based on the individual personalities that currently make up this roster. Aside from Jonas (who has a whopping 14 games under his belt), and Lowry, we don't have any "fearless" players this team. We've got guys who understand the game well, but who buckle under pressure.
But how do we find these mentally tough players? I have no idea.
I think it's a talent issue. Ask yourself, when was the last time the Raps had a first option or even second who could get their game or their shot off against anybody? It's not Calderon, DeRozan isn't there yet and certainly hadn't been anywhere near there for the last 3 years, certainly not Amir. The closest thing has been Bargs, and his go-to move is a long 2 off one dribble, a move so easilly countered and so fully scouted by now that it's pretty ineffective. I mean ask yourself, do opponents need to double anyone on the Raps with the game on the line?
I just don't think the Raps have had that one guy that you know can get you buckets down the stretch, even if you do manage to get stops. A lot of a team's self-belief comes from faith in it's best player. The Raps haven't had anyone you could call clutch for a long time now.
You also have to consider that the true core of this team has never essentially won anything. Jose/Andrea got into the playoffs twice but were taken out in the first round. But for the past few years have had horrible records.
DeMar/Ed grew up with losing records in the NBA, and now so is JV. I think the Raptors breed a losing culture. Not sure how this can change but I'd start by trading Andrea and Jose. Ultimately this team needs a franchise player similar to how LAC got Paul.
Lack of a "killer instinct" is definitely one of the reasons.
Our inability to maintain leads towards the end of games is an underestimated problem IMO. Fourth quarter coaching and lack of confidence are the main reasons with the two issues being interlinked. If you look at past coaches. a coach under whom this problem was minimal was Sam Mitchell especially when he had the Atlantic division championship team. IMO the influence the Coach has on his players especially in the dyeing minutes has an effect on players confidence/mental toughness.
Does Casey have this quality?
In 2006-07, Sam Mitchell had Chris Bosh entering his early prime and quality players like Parker, Garbajosa, a rejuvenated Ford and a breaking out Calderon to play with. Still, one of Mitchell's most infamous issues was plays out of timeouts and in key scenarios. That team also had an identity and a quality offense they knew they could count on (screen and roll with Bosh, surrounded by shooters).
The current 4th quarter collapses are all about skill level. They have no finisher on the perimeter and no reliable post-up game to work with. There is not a single player on this team that can reliably and consistently be counted on to make plays. That's the main problem. They also have no offensive identity - what do they do in crunch time - where do they go for shots?
I don't know if Casey is a good coach or not but I do know that no one can win consistently with this group.
Ya we need that one post presence. Just throw it down and let the man go to work. JV is definitely going to be that guy, just not yet.
Raptors have this sense of choking atmosphere since Vince carter left. They are a good front-running team, even on the road, come 4th quarter the wheels come off. We as fans know it, and I think even the team knows it.
Free throws begin to be missed by players who consistently take advantage of the charity stripe. Bad turnovers committed by players who usually are responsible with the ball (Calderon). the defensive rebounding goes poof.
Raptors lack will when necessary and this season exposed that more than ever. This issue has been evident throughout the organization since Colangelo's tenure. No matter how many coaches have been brought in the issue stays the same, no big defensive rebounds or game-changing blocks come crunch time and no clutch scorer.
BC has brought in the wrong players and awarded them very poor contracts to boot. Calderon needs to go already, the guy can't fight through a screen to save his life yet he still gets defensive time in the crunch.
BC should have brought in a solid big man by now with all the high draft picks the Raptors have earned over the years (ironically the elite defensive big man we could've had was traded for a washed up big man in Jermaine O'Neal). A guy who can protect the rim is such a paramount first step for this franchise (when was the last time we had a legit big guy that scares guards from driving to the basket?), I don't understand how this has been a glaring hole for such a long time.
Our best defensive player is Dominic McGuire, we have issues and it starts with defensive. I am sick of hearing what players can bring to the table offensively. Any big-time scorer would not stay here anyways and we be lured away by big bucks in big markets, defensive stalwarts will stay. Grizzlies have the right formula.