Blowing late leads has become a trait of this Toronto team. It started in Dallas where the Raps had a lead going into the fourth, but were over powered. The following game in Orlando, the Raptors were outscored by 17 points in the fourth quarter, yet only lost by 6. Once again, against New York, the Raptors lead was put in jeopardy after the Knicks outscored the Raps in the last two quarters. Sacramento, Indiana, and most recently, the Chicago Bulls have continued this trend of beating the Raptors in the final quarter. Watching that Chicago game, I turned it off after the third quarter, because I knew exactly how it was going to go.
If we can stick to teams for 3 quarters, what is holding us back in the fourth? Could it be the D, which consistently (in close games) gives up the most points in the fourth quarter? Is it the lack of offensive coaching and decision making, as we have seen with Jamaal Magloire being the go to guy in the final seconds (eek)? How about the players selfish play late in game? Or, finally, is it the lack of grit and leadership that is necessary to win on the road, and late in games?
The easy answer would be to say a lack of personel, and an easier answer would be a lack of experience with the players, but to me, these late game blunders are showing me some deeper rooting problems.
This is a Toronto team that really had little change in its lineup over the off season. The same key players are there, so why does this team look like it can not mesh in the fourth?
To me as of now, it does not seem to be that important of an issue, but it is important for young teams to show success, or else young players will not be motivated to play. A perfect example of this would be the Philly game.
Also, after next year and the much anticipated draft pick/free agent/JV offseason, if this is a deeper rooted issue then we thought, then a rebound year could be riddled with disappointment.
I pose three questions:
1) Who is in most need of stepping it up in the fourth quarter for this team to be successful? Multiple players (starters and off the bench) have disappeared late in games.
2) In the future (next season), will Casey be able to get this team to win late and on the road?
3) Is this even a problem that people should be concerned about in a (yet another) rebuilding year?
Personally, I think we need Mo Pete, but thats just me.
Discuss and give your opinions.