I’ll be honest. I had no idea a replay of this game was on TV and was shocked to find it on at 12:15 AM just as I was about to go to bed. It was the fourth quarter and the Laker commentators were commending the Raptors on playing well and celebrating the Lakers comeback which had put them up 4 going into the fourth quarter. So I sat down, made myself some tea and started watching the fourth quarter expecting the Raptors to hang tough and maybe even pull out a rare win in LA. How wrong I was. That fourth quarter was the worst I’ve seen the Raptors play in years. The Laker bench was running backdoor cuts, throwing alley-oops off the glass, getting five offensive rebounds on one play, getting deep posts against us while we were bumbling the ball like it was covered with acid, ball-watching the rebounds, not getting back on defense and worst of all not matching the Lakers’ enthusiasm. I don’t know what was going on in the first three quarters but it definitely wasn’t this.
I had to turn it off. Yes, I turned it off at the 1:25 mark when Jamario Moon tried an MJ fadeaway to no avail. This happened right after the Lakers had gotten another offensive rebound for a layup and I said to myself, “Self, turn this shit off and go to bed”. Here’s the box score and here’s a recap.
They interviewed Bryan Colangelo in the fourth quarter and asked him about the O’Neal trade and he flat-out said: “We were desperate for an interior presence…and took an educated risk.. It’s odd that a team that has a 6’11” PF and a 7’0″ C desperately needs an interior presence but that was the case. I too felt that we needed an interior presence, more specifically a pure rebounder and defender but I never figured he’d add someone like O’Neal because of the fear of redundancy. So when the trade was made many people had positive reactions because it did address a need but at the same time it came at a cost that seemed too high. It’s like asking for a Honda but getting a Hummer except now you don’t have any money for gas. I do stand by this trade, I think the other one that was on the table was Gerald Wallace for TJ Ford straight-up which looks enticing on paper but as can be argued wouldn’t have made the team better since Wallace is basically a good player on a bad team. He also happens to have a longer contract. So how did O’Neal do last night? 12 points, 4 rebounds on 4-8 FG in 21 minutes. Can’t stretch a guy like that out in preseason on back-to-backs, probably a wise idea that he rested.
No rest for Bosh though, 11/11 in 34 minutes a night after he played 36 minutes. This sounds like a bit much for a couple meaningless preseason games but maybe it’s Bosh who wanted to play, he’s been eager about getting on with the season for some time now. Ukic’s minutes are rising, they’re up to 20 now but he’s not making the most of it going -31. Ouch. I don’t care how flaky a stat that is, if its that low its saying something about your play. Bargnani was -27 and played most of the fourth quarter where Chris Mihm had his way with him on the glass. The most impressive Raptor that I saw was Hassan Adams. I know, I know. He hit a couple jumpers, got a sky-high offensive rebound and even threw one down. It means nothing though and only confirms that the preseason is too long. Way too long.
Messiah’s grading the Raptors preseason performances and he’s fairly bang-on with his grades, I’ll repeat them here. I’d give Jamario Moon a D-, that’s about the only place I disagree.
In other freaky news, Kenny George, the tallest college player at 7’7″ had part of his foot amputated! And you though you were having a bad day.
Only more preseason game left, its tomorrow in Edmonton against Denver. After that it begins.