Raptors Let Another Win Slip Through Their Hands, lose to Warriors 117-111

This game was definitely worth staying up to watch. The Warriors play exciting ball even without Monta Ellis and Corey Maggette. What are you going to do right? At least this road-trip is over, with the Raptors going 2-4. Could be worse, I had them pegged at finishing this road swing 1-5.

Arse made a good point tonight, that the Raptors are too concerned about protecting the paint, and their perimeter rotation is late weak sucks. Triano needs to think about this, since it is great to protect your paint, but until the ball is back in your hands, you need to keep rotating and defending. That means switching, closing out, and generally communicating with the rest of the team. Things the Raptors are weak suck at.

The Raptors were gunning offensively, but playing the Warriors means you have to make defensive stops, and the Raptors didn’t. The Raptors got good looks down the stretch to tie the score or take the lead, they got really good looks, but both Calderon, Kapono and Parker missed their opportunities. Dribble penetration reared its ugly head again with the Warriors hitting their key shots. Golden State

Sadly, defense wasn’t the reason the Raptors lost…it was offense. The Raptors  out-rebounded the Warriors 49 (20 offensive boards) to 37, got 27 assists, and protected the ball reasonably well(13 turnovers), which led to 17 more possessions, but they couldn’t knock down a shot to save their life. Down the stretch, and down 2, the Raptors had 5 possessions to tie or take the lead; they got good looks (Calderon, Kapono and Parker) but just couldn’t hit THAT shot. Again, not because of anything the Warriors did, the Raptors just chocked, game over…

Calderon came out very aggressive offensively, hitting 3s, jumpers off the screen, driving, and finding open shooters. Logging 44mins, he put up 21pts 16asts 6rebs, but his poor defense on Watson late in the game really put a damper on a fine performance. Bosh had another monster game, doing whatever he wanted (30pts 14rebs), not much else to say about him…

Triano employed some very questionable lineups, and substitutions that left me scratching my head:

  1. To start the 2nd, both Bosh and Calderon were sitting, which really killed the rhythm and momentum the Raptors were building in the first quarter.
  2. Still in the 2nd, Voshkul got the call, and in a span of 4 minutes, he amassed 4 fouls that put the Warriors in the bonus with 9.5 minutes left in the quarter. With a lineup of Solomon, Voshkul, Bargnani, Moon and Graham, the Warriors go on an 8-2 run. No energy…why Humphries wasn’t in is beyond me. Just a thought, how did Hump fall to 4th/5th in the depth chart at forward? I’m not his biggest fan, but the guy is athletic, gets out there, makes things happen, is aggressive on offense and grabs boards…Voshkul isn’t.
  3. In the dyeing moments of the game, the Raptors employed a lineup of Calderon/Bosh/Parker/Kapono/Graham…didn’t work out as we know. Parker/Kapono couldn’t hit a shot for their life, Graham penetrates the lane and throws it away, while the Warriors stayed at home with Bosh and Calderon. never thought I would say this, but Moon should have been in for Parker s he is playing better defense, and was shooting reasonably well from the perimeter (3-4 form beyond the arc).

I appreciated O’Neal giving it a go with the flu, and had he not banged his knee when getting all tangled up, he would have finished the game. But I thought it a blessing in disguise that he couldn’t go tonight. To start the game, he really forced things in the paint, going 1-4 in the paint. I thought it a blessing because Nellie plays small-ball, and O’Neal would have slowed things down for the Raptors, and taken shots at the expense of the perimeter players. Triano couldn’t take this blessing in disguise and turn it into an advantage by giving Hump more burn. 10 minutes in a game like this? I just can’t get over it. Kris didn’t see the floor till the 3rd, and what did he do? Get 10pts and grab 4rebs…again, I’m at a loss here.

On the Bargnani front, this was exactly the type of game where he could have exerted himself, and really made an impact with the lack of defense and up-tempo style of play. He showed a couple flashes; grabbing an offensive board and aggressively putting back a dunk; stepping inside the arc and hitting jumpers; grabbing some boards; some decent defense on Jackson…but just couldn’t put it together. With all of Italy watching, Belinelli came out the prodigal son.

Irregardless of all that, the Warriors won this game in the second quarter during two key stretches:

  1. Start of the 2nd Quarter – Voshkul’s meltdown and weak perimeter defense that allowed a three by Jackson, 4 free throws by CJ Watson, Azabuike dunk on the break off of Bosh’s turnover, and a Jackson jumper created by bad perimeter defense by Moon.
  2. 3:15 left in the 2nd Quarter – Turiaf blocks Bosh in the paint, which leads to a Watson trey in transition; next possession-Turiaf blocks Calderon which leads to an Azabuike trey in transition; Turiaf gets the ball at the top of the key, swings it to an open Belinelli who sticks an open trey; Jackson nails an open jumper inside the arc.

It all comes down to a personnel issue, the Raptors don’t have the players to really make a stand on the perimeter. Man defense…nothing. Zone defense…zilch. Divine intervention….zero. This team, as currently constructed, and contrary to any suggested lineups, can’t win big games against talented teams. A shake-up is needed and the clock is ticking.

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