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14-11

Today showed us why we’re not winning the Atlantic Division title for the next three years unless Massachusetts crumbles off the New England coastline and floats down somewhere near Florida. As the Arsenalist pointed out, the Celtics are a better team than us (though he’s way premature with the “Bargnani’s a bust” bullhorn.)

And though they’re ‘better’, it didn’t matter as the Raptors didn’t give them an ounce of opposition until late in the second half. And I’m pretty sure it’s really easy to win a basketball game when your opponent shoots 5-30. Our guys must have been up early shoveling the heaps of snow from their driveways, and it showed with 19% shooting in halfway through Q2. We played with reserved awe in the first, like a grade four subbing into the 8th grader’s game at recess. And they just tossed around the sleepy Raptors, who were so off they could have been shooting ping pong balls and they would have toilet-bowled out.

Trim ten inches, lighten the skin tone, cut the twists, trade in the jersey for a Jalen Rose Fan Club* cutoff t-shirt…and this is me, watching the game from my couch.

* Yes, I’m a member of the Rose Garden (gotta support the Rose that grew from concrete!)

Bosh and Humph were the only Raptors who looked comfortable out on the court. Jose had his worst game of the year by far, with only 5 assists to go with his 4 turnovers. Rondo embarrassed him on the defensive end. Delfino forced shot after shot, Kapono was invisible, and Juan Dixon got outplayed by Derrick Martin. Yes, you read that right.

Bargnani had one of the ugliest individual performances I’ve ever seen by an NBA player. And that’s not a Waltonism. He more than fulfilled the Tskitishvili 3 T’s of Incompetence: Travels, turnovers, and timidity. It looked like he won a ‘Be a Raptor for a Day’ contest. Ever gone into a job interview you didn’t think you had a prayer of landing? That’s defeatist thinking, and Bargnani’s playing like someone who doesn’t feel like he can compete. It looks like he’s picking up a bit of Joey Graham disease, overthinking everything, even the instinct of basketball. Andrea seems like a sensitive, emotional guy. For his sanity and career, he needs to snap out of this, fast.

I don’t know why Sam thought the lineup of Juan Dixon, Anthony Parker, Andrea Bargnani, Jason Kapono, and Carlos Delfino could beat the Celtics. They were on the court in the first half and my first thought was “hey, this is early to be throwing in the towel!” But he was serious. Just because it worked against the Bobcats and the Pacers doesn’t mean it will work against real teams.

So much for Boston only having three players. Even without Pierce the Celts had six players in double digits and played balanced, organized, disciplined ball. House, Posey, Rajon frickin’ Rondo torched the ‘defence’ Chuck is always going on about. Every time we strung together a couple consecutive baskets, they answered with a three. From tip-off they came out like a bull on Red Bull and played like they were angry for being dragged out of bed, into this snow-coated Canadian stadium, and onto the court against a bunch of chumps.

No caption necessary (other than this one).

So tomorrow, the Raptors will put on their snowsuits and head out of town for an extended road trip (if Pearson Airport ever reopens). Two back to backs on the coast, first the Clips/Blazers then the Sonics/Suns. At least some of those are winnable, because after the Christmas Chanukah Kwanzaa Everybody’s Equal Holiday Break we still have the Spurs, Rockets, and Hornets before we get to finally come back home on Jan 4th…against the Pistons. Who are also pretty good, if you didn’t know.

To call it a tough road ahead is an understatement of ‘Britney Spears is confused’ magnitude, especially if we play like we did today.

Before I go, I want to give a big shout-out to RaptorsTalk.com, the recipient of a major facelift over the weekend. Site looks great guys, well done. I’d like to have a nice, shiny website of my own one day. If any fancy web designers want to share some secrets (or quote some work), I’m all ears.

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