Raptors Barely Holding Onto A Playoff Berth, But Why?

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Raptors 111, Pistons 97 – Boxscore

What a difference a day and some shame makes. It was the Raptors/Bulls game all over again, except the Raptors did the exact opposite of what they did against Chicago; aka, they played well. The day started with a guarantee for a win by Charlie Villanueva, and boy did he hear it from the pre-game tip. Matt, Jack, Rod and Leo all had a chance to rip into him for what I can only imagine was payback for Charlie banging all their wives or daughters or something equally bad.

So just to recap (cause I wasn’t clear yesterday), if:

  • the Bulls lose both the next two games, Raptors are in
  • the Bulls split the next two games, the Raptors need to beat the Knicks to get in
  • the Bulls win both the next two games, the Raptors are in the lottery

Regardless of what the Bulls do, the Raptors have to beat the Knicks tomorrow. You want to be going into the playoffs on a mini two-game winning streak, not fall ass backwards into the post-season. It wont really matter in the grand scheme of things since the Cavs will roll over the Raptors something fierce, but you want your ducks in a row.

This game was over in the 2nd quarter, so I’ll save you the play-by-play, but a few things happened that really makes me hopeful while frustrating me at the same time, namely Bargnani. No one disputes his talent. No one disputes his abilities. We’re ok with his sub-par rebounding given his offensive talents; but when you only do one thing well (score the ball), you need to do that every single game. Guys like Jamal Crawford and Ben Gordon have made careers ($$$) doing nothing but scoring.

You know when Bargnani is going to have a good game. He takes his shots in rhythm; he keeps those lame shot fakes to a minimum; he scores from the post and drives the ball. His scoring fuels his defense (and rebounding), and when he’s doing more than just popping J’s, he’s a pretty good all around player.

Amir came through with a career scoring night; 26pts on 10-12 from the field and 6-7 from the line. Where was the rebounding though? I know I know, I can’t be happy with a win, and always need to pick at things….but Amir’s job is to rebound and bang in the blocks. He took good shots and made them, but only grabbed 2 rebounds? Detroit missed 42 shots, and grabbed only 11 offensive boards, that’s a lot of rebounds that Amir could have grabbed, but he didn’t. Just don’t want him to get used to scoring at the expense of his rebounding, scorers the Raptors have enough of.

The Pistons protected the ball better, grabbed more offensive boards and got to the line more (hitting more free throws than the Raptors actually attempted), but the Raptors shot the crap out of the ball. Wasn’t even a matter of being on, it was all about ball movement and playmaking. Calderon and Jack dished out 23 dimes with only 4 turnovers between the two. That’s an almost 6:1 ratio, ridiculous.

Playing Weems 40 minutes in a blowout was about the only thing Triano did that pissed me off (other than the post-game, those interviews insult and anger me). Hopefully the injury isn’t too serious, I didn’t catch any news yet.

At the end of it all, does it really matter if this team makes the playoffs or not? You make the playoffs and get swept by the Cavs, are you better for it? You go to the draft, and take someone at 14, does that make you better? I’m of the belief that going to the playoffs is always better, but only if the future of this team includes Bosh.

At the least, we can all enjoy a win over the Pistons.

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