Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee – Nov 30

A Sunday spanking | Toronto Sun

The Raptors were beat on the boards, 48-44, and the most by a Toronto player after Bosh was Hedo Turkoglu, who had eight.

Afterwards, Bosh appeared exhausted and frustrated. The forward was double-teamed for much of the game and was tested physically over and over by the Suns' big men Amare Stoudemire and Channing Frye. With 4:18 left in the second quarter, Stoudemire basically body-checked Bosh into the baseline area, sending the Raptor flying to the floor. Fortunately, this time, his teammates responded by swarming the area, which was not the case on Friday in Boston when he was dunked on by Paul Pierce.

"Getting a lot of rebounds isn't easy," said Bosh, when someone suggested afterwards that he looked completely spent. "Being physical and everything isn't easy. I could tell before the game that they were talking about keeping me off the boards."

Raptors getting tougher | Toronto Sun

"That's how the reaction should be," Triano said. The coach admitted the Raptors response the other night did get mentioned, but sounded almost ashamed it had to be.

"Honestly, I don't think you should have to talk about stuff like that," he said. "That should be part of your fabric."

Bosh actually played down the foul.

"It wasn't even that hard. Everyone is like 'Oh my God' but it was a foul. If I was in the same position I would do the same thing."

Bosh stopped short of suggesting he might go to the league office to have Stoudemire's flagrant foul rescinded.

"No I wouldn't say that," he said. "The call was the call. But if you don't have a play on the ball when they're going to score two points, you foul."

Bosh, though, was happy with the support from his teammates.

"I guess everyone is more attentive to that now that it has been made a big deal," he said. "The reaction was good."

Raps misfire against Suns –

"I'm not sure if we want to panic yet on anything," Triano said after the Raptors were spanked 113-94 by Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns before a non-sellout crowd of 17,721 at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday.

Triano was reacting to a question about his level of satisfaction with his starting unit and his playing rotation as a whole in light of another mid-game collapse.

His immediate assessment of his 7-11 team, coming right after a one-sided loss and without a lot of time for contemplation, is that change is not afoot.

"Offensively, obviously we're one of the best teams in the NBA shooting the basketball," he said. "Defensively, we're learning new systems and guys and trying to support and help each other and we've struggled with those adjustments.

"But I don't know if I can point a finger at anybody and say we'd be better (by making a starting lineup change)."

NBA Hit List power ranking, 11.30 | Dime Magazine

18. Toronto Raptors (7-11) — You couldn’t have really asked for any more from Chris Bosh; he’s scoring 25 points a night and challenging for the League lead in rebounds. The rest of the guys need to step up consistently.

Doug Smith’s Toronto Raptors blog

Well, it’s almost the 20-game mark, which is about when I think you should evaluate teams with as many new guys as this one does, and contemplate change.

And by that I don’t mean major trades (they don’t generally happen this early in the season) and I don’t mean anything crazily drastic in other areas of the game.

But tweaks, to starting lineups, rotations and the like.

As you read this morning in these parts, there is no desire to make changes coming from the coach, even where the rookie is concerned (and he’d be one place people would look). Jay said:

Kid Canada romps over Raps – The Globe and Mail

And if the fans who booed the Raptors off the floor – the same ones who cheered Nash – would like to see the reserved Bosh begin shaking his teammates out of their lethargy, he isn’t sure that’s the answer.

“I don’t think that will work,” he said. “We’ve tried that a little bit. Whatever happens, happens. I’ll try anything though. Whatever it takes to win; that’s my position on everything. We just have to turn this around and find a way to win basketball games.”

Deja vu as Bosh goes it alone again – National Post

Although the Raptors' 1-for-20 three-point shooting did them in at the Air Canada Centre, defence, as has been the case rather routinely over the last half-decade, was again the problem. Nash, with 20 points and 16 assistants, exploited the Raptors' rather pathetic defence and the Suns shot at a 51% success rate.

The worrisome part for the Raptors, now ashamed owners of a three-game losing streak, is that there is no obvious answer for what plagues them. Wholesale changes to the starting lineup could work. But then again …

"I don't know if we can point a finger at anybody and say, 'We'd be better [without him in the lineup,]" coach Jay Triano said. "Obviously you look at a guy like DeMar [DeRozan] and say, 'Oh yeah, the rook's screwing up for us.' But he's not. His coverages are as sound as everybody else."

Notes: Suns’ Barbosa out at least 2 games – AZ Central

Barbosa made a jump shot as his defender, Marco Belinelli, fouled him from the side. Barbosa landed on a foot of the Raptors' Hedo Turkoglu, turning the left ankle. Barbosa stayed in the game to make the free throw, giving him 17 points in 15 minutes, but then left and had immediate swelling. X-rays were negative.

"It was sore, really sore," he said. "After I stood up, it was better. It's not feeling so bad. It's just the swelling is really big. I'm OK. A couple weeks."

Nash, Suns rumble past Raptors – AZ Central

But Toronto missed 14 of its final 18 shots, and Nash methodically put the game away by easily reading the Raptors defense.

Running the same play, Nash went to a different outlet each time, as Toronto adjusted to each previous choice he made. Nash stayed ahead of them, using a Stoudemire high screen and toying with Toronto from there to get Jason Richardson for a 3-pointer, Grant Hill for a jumper, and Stoudemire on a roll or floater.

"You have to be flexible to make your reads downfield, check off your receivers and see how they play it," Nash said. "Ideally, if you make the right read and score, they'll adjust to that, and there's a new read to be made."

Nash, Suns Surge Past Raptors, 113-94 – ESPN Video – ESPN

Steve Nash had 20 points and 16 assists as Phoenix won its fourth straight game

Raptors Report Week Five: The Schedule Is Getting Better | Bleacher Report

Even after a second straight week of going 1-3, the Raptors still have some positives. Jarrett Jack is finally starting to play as well as he is capable of. The team has been able to keep themselves in games in the first half and have shown the ability to come back.

A big positive is that the Raptors schedule gets much easier from here on out.

Rule of Thumb – The Globe and Mail

According to a report, Wright told Bosh he didn't think players were coming in "with the right frame of mind."

Rule of thumb: It's not good when a new guy on your team with five years of NBA experience feels the need to speak up.

And I'm pretty sure it isn't a good thing that on the day Wright's statement is public, Bosh's teammates act like frightened school children after he gets hammered to the floor by Boston Celtics guard Paul Pierce, who then stands over him and taunts him after a dunk.

Joe Dumars: How the Detroit GM Can Solve the Pistons’ Problems | Bleacher Report

If this is the solution, who do you get for Stuckey? I would trade him for Jose Calderon from the Toronto Raptors. I would give Stuckey and Jason Maxiell, another player who is a disappointment, to get this guy. Calderon is a much better shooter than Stuckey and can make his team better.

With Calderon at the point, now you need a two guard who also can shoot and defend other guards. I think the Pistons offense is way too much involved around Richard Hamilton. I've noticed that if he plays with a point guard he doesn't like, he plays horribly and it messes up team chemistry.

Raptors Game Recap – The FAN 590 Toronto

THE FAN presents highlights (courtesy Paul Jones) and the game recap (courtesy Eric Smith) of the Phoenix Suns' 113-94 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Willis Richardson – The FAN 590 Toronto

The former FBI agent and member of the Baltimore homicide department joins Eric to discuss how the advent of social networking has heightened security concerns and affected the privacy of NBA players.

Trade Idea: Raptors Salary Dump « nbaroundtable

* Toronto sends out — Jose Calderon + spare parts (Weems + Belinelli) + bad contracts (Evans + Banks)
* Toronto receives — Expiring contracts of an equal amount

I’m going to ignore the McGrady part of the discussion and focus solely on the cap space + how beneficial that cap space could be for the Raptors.

HIP HOOP JUNKIES – A Toronto Raptors/NBA Blog: Nash Shows Canada Who’s Boss

The Raptors on the other hand continued to show that they can play a good first half but they also show that they can't compete in second halves of games for squat. The Suns outscored the Raptors 63-45 in the second half as the Raps only shot 39% for the game.

Bosh showed up (30 pts, 17 boards, Bargnani showed up (24 pts, 7 rebounds) and even DeMar showed up (14 pts) but the rest of the team…not so much. Jose Calderon fizzled in the point guard match up putting up 2 pts, but he did have this nice 'oop to DeMar.

Raptors vs Suns – Game Flow

Raptors vs Suns – Game Flow

Recap: 2nd Half Surge Allows Suns to Wipe Out Raptors,113-94 – Bright Side Of The Sun

After watching his team get outrun and out gunned for the first 12 minutes of the game, Bosh came alive in the 2nd. He followed his quiet (3 pts, 0 rebs) opening stanza with a monster second, finishing with the half with 19 points and 6 boards. It was Phoenix's turn to watch their shots go off the mark as the Raps "held" them to 35% shooting. Not helping the Suns' cause was an apparently unengaged Amare Stoudemire. Despite scoring 8 points in 13 first half minutes, Amar'e tallied 0 rebounds and 3 personal fouls (including a flagrant after getting torched by Bosh on a drive to the hoop) which further limited his ability to contribute. Keyed by Bosh's strong play, the Raps erased the Suns 8 point lead to go into the half only down by 1.

Suns 113, Raptors 94 — Toronto torching continues| Valley of the Suns

To be fair, the Raptors have lost seven of their last 10 games and clearly do not have an answer for the Nash-led Suns. And if anyone not named Bosh would have stepped up for Toronto, this would probably have been a much closer ballgame.

The Raptors, who came into the game shooting 40.1 percent from three — good for No. 7 in the league — couldn’t get anything to go from distance, finishing the game 1-for-20 (5 percent) from three. While that most likely won’t happen again this season for Toronto, you have to give some credit to the Suns’ defense.

They did do a solid job running out and getting a hand up, especially for a team that had been allowing opponents to shoot 38.4 percent from three, fourth worst in the NBA. As Gentry has said all season, this team doesn’t need to be one of the league’s best defensive teams, Phoenix just needs to get the stops necessary to win games, and the Suns did exactly that today.

Stoudemire, Chandler and Wallace fined for violations | Sports | Reuters

Wallace was fined $30,000 for criticizing officials following the Celtics' 116-103 win over Toronto Friday, the league said in a statement.

Jay Triano – Nov. 29, 2009

Jay Triano speaks with the media following the Raptors' loss to the Suns. – Raptors/Suns

"I know you guys are going to think I'm crazy, but I thought we did a good job on Chris Bosh," Gentry said. "With the muscle he has added I think he's impossible. I don't know how you guard him or what you do. He has the ability to set up outside and make jump shots and then he's so much stronger taking the ball inside on his post-ups now."

While Bosh was the bright spot for the Raptors, Andrea Bargnani added 24 points and rookie DeMar DeRozan scored 14. But it wasn't enough to compete with the Suns, who had six players in double figures, led by Jason Richardson's 22 points and nine rebounds. Amar'e Stoudemire added 18 on 8-for-10 shooting.

Post Game Phoenix Suns vs Toronto Raptors « New Leisure Blog

Of course, the defense still sucks. The Suns are able to carve them up like a Thanksgiving Turkey. Watching Nash in action brings so much joy in me as a basketball fan. He did everything this afternoon, making tough shots, and stringing beautiful passes, it’s one of the best game he played in Toronto.

Bosh was great and Bargnani did good on offense, but it’s his usual self on defense (not good). The rest of the team just didn’t have it on offense.

FAN590 – Blogs – The Rap » Suns Torch Raps

Smith Says:
“The same blue print as Friday night in Boston: tight in the first half, blown out in the second. I’m convinced it’s mental with this team. The effort and intensity just isn’t there … and the team has to find ‘it’ ASAP.”

Jones Says:
“Unlike the last game against Phoenix, Steve Nash got his teammates involved. The strategy of switching on screen-rolls was not nearly as effective.”

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