It’s too bloody painful to think about this game, let alone recap it, but since I’ve undertaken the task of keeping a Raptor blog, duty calls.
The problem with the Raptors isn’t that they can’t play defense, the problem is they can’t do it for more than 25 minutes a game. Plus, they have a nasty habit of not playing the full 48 minutes. A sense of complacency just sets in and they assume the other team to just fold when their down. In the last three games against Milwaukee, Boston and Dallas, the Raptors expected to win the game early on either because the opponent was decimated by injury or down early. So when the biggest goof-up between Bosh and Morris Peterson led Josh Howard a wide-open layup with 0.9 seconds left, I can truly say that I wasn’t surprised.
Getting to the technicalities of the game, being a -10 on the offensive glass did the Raptors in. Allowing Dallas 14 extra shots at the rim is never a good sign, especially when it’s Dirk Nowtizki (38, 11, 5) taking the shots. Chris Bosh should be praised for coming down with 15 rebounds but it must be said that he bailed the Dallas defense out too many times by settling for jumpers. It’s a disease that has no cure and you must show self-restraint, something Bosh is still learning.
I want to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Rasho Nesterovic for putting up 2 defensive rebounds in a game where he was needed the most. Saying he was ineffective against Dampier would be too kind, if anything, he may as well be sitting next to me watching the game. How an able-bodied 7-footer have such a minimal impact on a game is beyond my comprehension. The Raptors should hire a prison warden to teach Rasho toughness because if we have any chance of going anywhere this season, he needs to play better. Dirk Nowitzki also showed Andrea Bargnani that he has a loooooong way to go before he comes close to the German and I hope this performance quiets their comparison for a while. The rookie’s falling in love with the three and not at all using his post-up game, even when smaller guards are on him.
If you allow Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse to remain unmolested on open jumpers, you deserve to lose the way you do. Let’s attribute the Dallas comeback to poor defense, complacency, bad shot-selection and failing to recognize that a team is down and hammering them while they’re kneeling. But why are the players completely confused on the final play of the game? Did Avery Johnson draw up such a magnificent play that it fooled two seemingly mentally able people like Mo Pete and Chris Bosh? Or maybe a better explanation is that Sam Mitchell’s defensive plan had such a big hole that Josh Howard could fit in it. Why two of his players ended up leaving Josh Howard for a wide open game-winning layup can only be explained by Mitchell. Maybe he called “no-switch” in the huddle before the play and then changed it to “switch” midway through. Maybe it was just Mo Pete who got really confused. Either way, this stuff shouldn’t happen in the NBA. This is schoolyard stuff and Mitchell/Mo Pete got schooled.
Here’s some highlights courtesy of Chasin from RealGM:
Sam Mitchell Post Game Interview