No Surprise, Rose Too Much for Banged Up Raptors

9 mins read
Raptors 91, Bulls 111 – Box

While the boxscore line won’t tell as much, it was Derrick Rose who sank the Raptors tonight. He imposed his will early and often, pulling the Bulls ahead even early on when the Raptors were still putting up a valiant effort. Rose finished with 19 points on 7/11 shooting, and added six assists. This, of course, is standard fare for Rose, even coming in below his season averages. Still, it was his ability to attack the rim and distribute via penetration that had the Raptors reeling.

Other Bulls chipped in as well, but from an offensive standpoint Rose was the story, as usual. His surreal combination of speed, size, shooting, and vision is too much to handle for even the best point guards, so asking a one-legged Jerryd Bayless to handle the assignment alone was beyond unreasonable.

While Bayless hasn’t proven to be a great or consistent defender, you have to appreciate the guy giving it a go on a very bad ankle because the team would be sans point guard otherwise (Jose Calderon missed the game with a sprained right ankle). Bayless’ ankle was clearly giving him trouble throughout the game, and he could be seen limping at times. He gave it a go for 31 minutes and managed to post 11 points with 8 assists, showing the promising trait of looking to others first and foremost when he himself was limited.

Outside of the hopeless-from-the-start point guard battle, the Bulls earned their supper on the boards and via the easy buckets teams must now be expecting when they face the Raptors. The Bulls shot 53% overall, shooting no worse than 45% in any quarter. Rose facilitated early, but later in the game once the starters put it in cruise control, open mid-range jumpers and easy trips to the line (28 FTA) were a plenty.

The Bulls also outrebounded the Raptors 44-33 (13-8 on the offensive glass), which is again par for the course for the Bulls, who rank second in the league in team rebound rate (percentage of available misses rebounded). While the Raptors aren’t too shabby themselves and even rank fourth in offensive rebound rate, a lackluster effort on the boards from the likes of Amir Johnson (just five rebounds) and the bench (just 11 rebounds combined in 84 minutes) caused the deficit. It is a seriously sad state when Andrea Bargnani leads the troops with six rebounds, only one of which came after the first quarter (and most of which were probably accidental).

This was a tough game to evaluate Bargnani. I know the blogosphere is all the rage with the Bargnani debating, and it’s fair. While Bargnani is posting career-best scoring numbers, including a career-best Player Efficiency Rating, the Raptors generally appear better without him on the floor. In the four games that he missed, the Raptors averaged just 88 points per game, but they also held the opposition under 100 points in three of those four games. Defense and rebounding have never been Bargnani’s strong suits, but you would think at this point he would have improved to a degree. His rebounding remains atrocious with the odd single-game outlier, but his defense seems to regress by the season, if that’s possible. His poor plus-minus rating, while not entirely reliable, is striking, especially considering just how efficient a scorer Bargnani has been.

Tonight, he started out demanding the ball, driving to the hoop for a layup to start the game and following it up with a three-pointer. He finished with 23 points but shot just 7-of-17, scoring most of his points early. Whether it was fatigue from missing a handful of games or his regular disinterest, he completely fell off after the first stanza.

A larger symptom of Bargnani’s return was the impact on Demar DeRozan, who had flourished over the past few games with an increased role in the offense. He put up 64 points over the past two games on 50% shooting, but tonight only had four field goal attempts at the half. He got more involved in the second half, finishing with a full boxscore line of 18 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks, while again shooting 50% at 7/14. While he turned the ball over five times, it was one of his more complete games statistically (it’s possible he was let off the hook defensively with the Keith Bogans assignment).

It is tough to draw conclusions from just one game back, but it might be that Bargnani gets his numbers, while efficiently, at the cost of the others. Other than his porous defense, it is my only explanation as to why the team seems to play better without him. He could be the anti-Nash, making others worse. This could be a frustrated writer stretching for an explanation as to why the team’s best player hurts the team, or it could be the case. Regardless, the offense will have to find a way to exist such that Bargnani can remain engaged, but DeRozan (and others) can find the chances to develop their offensive games as well.

Further on DeRozan is that some have been disappointed with him this season. Granted he hasn’t made a monstrous leap in Bosh’s absence, but his nominal improvement from his rookie season to this year is impressive, as he has moved from 8.6-2.4-0.7 (Pts-Rbs-Ast) to 14.2-3.4-1.7. His field goal percentage has declined a bit, but he has gotten to the line at a greater rate. As a result, his true shooting percentage is nearly the same as last year’s, and his PER is up slightly. His statistical increase appears to be based on an increase in minutes, but a portion of it does appear to be legitimate improvement. This theory certainly passes the eye test over the last few weeks, but I’d be interested to know whether the fan base generally thinks DeRozan has improved his game or if it’s simply the circumstance of being on a team devoid of players.

In general, it’s difficult to get too upset about tonight’s result. While it was a 20-point loss to a team missing it’s third-best player (Joakim Noah), the Bulls are a far superior team in every respect at this point. Unfortunately it doesn’t get any easier for the month as the team plays 17 games, 10 on the road, and four back-to-back sets.

Plus, I’m covering four games this month, and the team has won 0.00% of games I have covered so far this season. Sorry everyone.

You can follow Blake Murphy on Twitter.


  1. At some point Bayless and Calderon need to both be off in order to rehab their play. Let Barbosa take over the starting point and play a tight 8 man rotation. I’d rather we get Back Jeryrd in 2-3 games than risk further exasperating his injury.

  2. I don’t know if the “so-so player on a bad team” works in the NBA. He not only has to guard some of the best players in the world but he also is going to be defended by some of the best players in the world. Houston’s Buddinger isn’t known as a defender but Shane Battier is. Does that not say something about him? I think it means he’s improved and I think it could be argued that he has improved since the beginning of the season. He is a hard worker and I think he can turn into something great.

  3. I love how you included 2 decimal points in your winning percentage when covering the team. Talk about significant digits! 😛

  4. Just wondering where all the Bargnani-backers are (new year’s resolution is using the term “fanboy” less often) who claimed he’s now an incredible passer following his 6 assist, 1 turnover performance against New York.

    There were claims he sees the floor well, makes great decisions when doubled, doesn’t panic with the ball in his hands, and makes his teammates better (all things “RuPaul” apparently failed to do).

    In the 6 games since, Bargnani has averaged 1.8 assists and 2.8 turnovers. What gives???

    • .
      They haven’t gone anywhere. They just get tired of incessant battering for Andrea – and it shows in the volume of comments. Fans get tired of the bias – never knowing a good opinion from a bad one.

    • Nilanka you are the biggest idiot on this forum!!!! Do you watch the fucking matches….how many good passes makes Bargnani out the double teams????

      No assist? of course there is nobody who can buy a stupid decent jumper in this team….

        • I looked for the good in #7’s game, but I found little to suggest him as a starting center in the NBA… He’d be a great unconventional 6th man in Dallas, LA or MIA, SAS–but wait those teams all play defense… Honestly, he’s a fan of his own game and must have an orgasmic type sensation every time he ignores a teammate in a better scoring position, hoists up a shot and makes 1…

          I think the most disappointed teammate was BryCo because #7, although he might have a high trade value by season’s end at the Draft, is a team killer at present–any1 saying otherwise, does not understand the concept of TEAM…Sports or otherwise!

      • When Bargs doesn’t score, it’s Calderon’s fault for looking him off.
        When Bargs doesn’t rebound, it’s Reggie’s fault for stealing boards.
        When Bargs doesn’t pass, it’s EVERYONE ELSE’s fault for missing shots (even though they shot 46% excluding Bargnani’s attempts last night).
        When Bargs was nailed to the bench, it was Smitch’s fault for (rightfully so) trying to discipline him.
        When Bargs publicly admits he’s sometimes lazy….it’s…ummm….the fault of the cumulative effect of global warming, I suppose.

        The bag of excuses is nothing short of comical.

        Congratulations Gigolo, you have now been promoted to “superfan” status, and deserve a seat next to Nav Bhatia.

  5. You have to actaully look to pass the ball to get assists. Bargs still stikes me as a guy who makes his mind up rather than react to the defense. But he definately needs to be a facilitator on this team for them to be successful. He has the skills to do it jsut not the IQ. There were several shots he took (amd missed) last night that he should have passed.

  6. Wait, having an efficient offensive player is bad now? Everyone knows Bargnani’s pretty one-dimensional, and can point out a couple of possessions where he wasn’t in it on defense, but there’s an inordinate amount of focus on him for this article, where this is not one of those games where he had a lot of negative impact.

    The game I watched was lost because we were playing with half a point guard leading to D-Rose having his way (which was mentioned) and turnovers (since Jose is the ONLY person capable of running an offense on this team. Also no mention of Barbosa jacking up and missing a million shots, not allowing the bench to get into any sort of rhythm. Or DeRozens horrific defense and deciding to wake up only to pad his stats in garbage time? He had plenty of opportunities to make something happen with Bargnani on the floor, but how about this: The Bulls have a great defense, and completely denied him everything in the paint, rendering him useless.

    Usually the post-game analysis is MUCH better. It’s hard to tell whether you watched the game, or just looked at the box-score. Come on, you’re better than this. Or maybe you’re just trying to fan the flames since there truly would be nothing to talk about this team this year if Bargnani wasn’t on it.

    • ‘this is not one of those games where he had a lot of negative impact.’

      WE CAN BUILD ON THIS!!!!!!!!!

    • .
      As I said yesterday in a post, Bayless had a bad wheel, and it showed. Sort of like that replacement tire that comes with a new car – max speed of 80 km/hour, and not recommended for more than 50 klicks.

      It only gets you so far.

  7. While I’m nobody’s backer, I can’t stand inaccuracies and fallacies which just pollute the debate, preventing people from correctly assessing the reality.
    You wrote “the Raptors generally appear better without (Bargnani) on the floor. In the four games that he missed, the Raptors averaged just 88 points per game, but they also held the opposition under 100 points in three of those four games.”
    First of all, it would be wise to avoid drawing conclusions from such a small sample size. But if you wanted to do it anyway, then you should present a more comprehensive picture, which would show the following:

    PTS RB FG %
    AVG TOR sans AB 88,25 44,5 46,0%
    AVG OPP sans AB 94,75 38 49,1%
    DIFF -6,5 +6,5

    PTS RB FG %
    AVG TOR 99,94 41,2 46,2%
    AVG OPP 104,59 39,7 48,9%
    DIFF -4,65 +1,5

    The only (very partial) conclusions one could draw from this is that while the Raps have improved their rebounding numbers in those 4 games, this translated into a worse point differential (by 2 points) than their average, leading to an even worse record (.250). FG% is basically unchanged.
    Now feel free to put me on the list of the Bargnani’s backers, if this makes some of you feel better.

    • you’re not saying anything that isn’t untrue, but much like you point out the need to keep things in perspective, it may also be important to bear in mind that while bargs was out, there were also other key members of the roster also either out of the lineup or playing at significantly less than 100% (as was the case last night as well). this roster is simply too thin & lacking in NBA-calibre talent to expect outlier-type games like against dallas to be the norm.

      FWIW – those on here who have been classed as ‘haters’ have never opined (or at least i haven’t) that the team is ‘better’ without bargs, merely that they would be better if he were replaced by a more well-rounded (read: traditional) centre. having bargs miss games without factoring in that there really isn’t a suitable replacement for him on THIS roster doesn’t ‘prove’ the argument that they aren’t better without him.

      • I have no problem at all with what you’re saying regarding the numerous other variables that are not taken into account when analysing these 4 games. It’s actually close to impossible to draw any definitive conclusion from the available set of data (key personnel being banged up or out of the lineup should also be taken into account for the opposition, i.e. Dirk, KG…).
        That was the only point I was trying to make, without pretending to demonstrate that the Raps are not better without AB.

      • Yertu,

        That’s exactly what the post stated.

        “It is tough to draw conclusions from just one game back, but it might be that Bargnani gets his numbers, while efficiently, at the cost of the others. Other than his porous defense, it is my only explanation as to why the team seems to play better without him.”

    • It’s not necessarily the stat–at the end of the day, for all the Reb, Pts, Ast, Stl, Blk, +/-… the winning team only has to score 1 more point than the losing team, just ask the Spurs who tried to outscore the Knicks in the Garden… The feeling of frustration that is palpably building for all in Raptorland is that brand of basketball being eschewed by the Raps when #7 is on the floor is noticably weaker when he plays than when he sits….

      At the moment, the Raps have won more games versus the opposition, it is true when #7 has played, but I, and others in the Republic at large, are beginning to suspect if the rest of the team were just healthy, minus #7, they would stand a ‘healthier’ chance at winning in a more team oriented way, on a much more consistent basis…

      It’s one thing for LeBron, Kobe, DWade, Melo to shun off a pass to a teammate to benefit their team, but for a 7′ marksman with little trickery in his game to this with robotic execution bordering on a neurotic obsession with embarassing himself across the L, it’s downright pathetic…

      I MEAN DID ANYBODY ELSE SEE ASEK BACK DOWN #7 AND TURN AROUND AND DUNK IN HIS FACE AS IF HE WASN’T EVEN THERE–AT THAT POINT I HAD TO TURN AWAY… Because it reminded of High School hoops when a stud with a US scholarship was beating down on some bottom feeder that barely had an athlete in their entire school board…

      • What was even more embarrassing was Leo Rautins covering up for the dunk as if that dorky looking dude just made the play of the game, when Bargs simply held his hands up in the air like a statue, then actually moved his body out of the way so the guy could dunk.

        • Leo got to protect his source of livelihood. Sigh. This is why I am a big fan of Jack Armstrong – he tells it as it is.

  8. [ “Bayless’ ankle was clearly giving him trouble throughout the game, and he could be seen limping at times.” ]
    This – in a nutshell – is why the Raptors lost the game. The Offense was disjointed, and that permeated into their defense. That’s not an excuse – just reality.

  9. if you watch his turnovers most of em come from him being stupid than trying to pass and it getting picked off. n i’m surprised the horrendous perimeter defense was not mentioned in the post above at all.

  10. What our raps need is a true vision of where this organization wants to go in the future. To me, after watching basketball for more than 35 years , this season just seem a very long training camp where players are just “auditioning” for the future, being asked to play different spots with different partners. Raps seem to do things upside down; they are “auditioning’ for players and develop a vison afterwards which in IMO is totally wrong. We can debate the quality of players ad nauseam but unless there is a purpose where this organization is going, all these hate/love for AB, JC or Demar and Amir are pointless because we as fans have no clue what it is asked from them on a daily basis…and this my friends lay squarely on the management shoulders. I truly wish they will come forward and explain to us what kind of Raps will we expect in the next 5 years

    • There is no long-term vision Valit. BC has been operating totally ad hoc since he arrived. This roster is just as disjointed, ill-fitting, and random as the ones in 07-08, 08-09, and 09-10. It doesn’t help that the team is disorganized, undisciplined and chaotic on the floor but when you have players that don’t fit with each other or the system, well, you have chaos.

      To build on your point, it is almost impossible to evaluate guys like Davis, Derozan, Bayless, etc. because everything is such a discombobulated free-for-all that you have no idea how these guys would perform in an optimal or even average environment.

      • lol, yet an extension for Mr. Colangelo seems imminent.

        Is Rogers still looking to buy this team?

        I can only hope some change will happen and get this high-collared bird off his perch. Change for change sake is not always good or guarantees improvement but when the talent and results on the court are as shabby as they are what has this regime done to earn anymore time and patience from the fans?

        I don’t want to be watching this type of basketball for the next 3 years. It’s depressing.

        • See, I think BC once had a vision: the 06-07 team. A skilled big, surrounded by 3pt shooters, run by lead guards who were efficient with the ball. He stuck with it the next year with the Kapono signing but then he completely abandoned the entire scheme by trading for O’Neal and gutting the roster. Since that deal, everything that made that 06-07 team good (efficient offense, 3pt shooting, crafty guard play) was slowly erased and replaced with, well, nothing.

          It’s part of the reason I can’t be too hard on the coaches or players: they are what they are. They play pretty hard but they have too little talent, too little depth, and too little experience to succeed. The easy answer in Toronto is to blame the city, the fans, Bosh, the media, etc. but that lets BC off the hook and it shouldn’t.

          • Agreed. Good observations. Only thing is BC’s focused on trying to outscore opponents instead of figuring out how we can stop them since ’06.

            This is apparent in the idenitity or lack thereof of this team.

  11. Well folks, the Raptor’s released Dupree today which obviously means they are making room on the roster for ‘Melo.

  12. just found this on hoopsworld

    Safe for Now

    Bryan Colangelo, Toronto Raptors
    Title: President of Basketball Operations / General Manager

    Colangelo has an extremely tough job trying to retain top tier talent in Toronto and that has led to constant roster shuffling. However the team is surprisingly only three games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot despite losing All-Star forward Chris Bosh in free agency. The young talent on the roster is promising and so is the projected salary cap room for the 2012 season. It appears that Colangelo will get additional time to gear up for a playoff push.

    Read more NBA news and insight:

  13. “I’d be interested to know whether the fan base generally thinks DeRozan has improved his game or if it’s simply the circumstance of being on a team devoid of players.”

    In my humble opinion I think it’s a combination of both. I have no stats but based on the eye test I think he’s improved at getting to the line and initiating contact. His jumper looks to be a bit more consistent as well but often when I watch him play I tend to think he is a decent player on a team lacking talent.

    His ball handling is below average (not sure how he can improve this) and although he doesn’t show much selfishness in his game I think he knows there are certain things he just can’t do on the court like other top-tier 2 guards, so he will sometimes dissapear. My biggest dissapointment in him is really on the defensive end. He said he took pride in defending after getting drafted but I don’t see that effort there. Also, for a dude with hops he doesn’t try to finish on opposing players.

    I’m trying to be patient and less critical about this team for 2011 but for those that have watched basketball and understand the game……how often do you watch Demar play and get that feeling of stardom or that he could be an all-star someday? To me he doesn’t have that natural talent that just screams how good the player is or will become. He’s a natural athlete but lacks those inherent skills most top tier 2’s possess. I hope he proves me wrong but I don’t know.

    • DD has improved and I think he does some things well but nothing really jumps out at you as being a + skill. Still, as I posted above, given how undisciplined and disorganized the Raps are on the floor, it is tough to judge too much. One thing that is clear: he needs a consistent jimmy and he needs it from range.

    • Derozan is way TO RAW and shouldn’t be developing all these skills at the NBA level at the expense of the team.

      Needs a jumper, better ball handling, better court vision, better defense. Lots of upgrades needed. My outlook isn’t so favourable. He does get to the line relatively well which is a good thing and points to some potential upside.

      From a statistical bent, Demar ranked 39th out of 47 college players drafted in the 2009 draft in pace-adjusted win score (correlates with Wins Produced according to Dave Berri)

      Last year’s PER 12.4, this years PER 13.8 (15.0 is average)

      On a positive note, has another 4-5 years before he peaks,

      Just from my perspective, he has a million things to improve on.

      • Therein lies the problem.

        I think you can always improve your shooting in the NBA but to ask a player to develop his handle at the NBA level to go along with other skills is begging for trouble.

        He might peak in 4-5 years but what type of player will he be then? If it’s not an all-star type of player then I wouldn’t expend so much energy into trying to make him something he most likely will never become.

  14. “In general, it’s difficult to get too upset about tonight’s result.”

    ugh, disagree. what’s with this fanbase that totally likes losing and making excuses for a subpar franchise? i don’t get it. There has been little demonstrable progress from this team for three years.

    last night on the fan590 the jock posed this ridiculous question to the audience: “Is Toronto better off without Bargnani in the lineup”. OBviously he didn’t think so, but the question is a red herring. the truth is the Raptors are terrible without him in the lineup, and terrible with him in the lineup.

    • ‘There has been little demonstrable progress from this team for three years.’

      i beg to differ, there has been signicant progress made over the last 3 years. it’s been a steady downward progression.

      • ha. i appreciate your attempt at a funny, and i agree. but you know what i meant.

        here’s an interesting quote from Bill Simmons from a couple months ago (which i also completely agree with):

        Reason No. 14,728 I love the NBA: Colangelo had a choice between paying Beasley $11 million for two years (with a qualifying offer of $8.1 million in 2012-13) or signing Amir Johnson for $34 million for five years … and chose Johnson!? Did he suffer a head injury right before the 2006 draft and not tell us? I’m dumping Kahn for Colangelo as this season’s GM Whipping Boy. He didn’t just ruin the Raptors these past four years; he shoved them down the stairs, beat them to death with a baseball bat and buried them in a sanitation site.

        • I disagree with the first part of Simmons. Granted, I haven’t been watching Beasly in Minny, but from what I remember with the Heat, he was a talented scorer but had extremely porous defense. Our defense obviously sucks, we wouldn’t need another Beasley.

          On the contrary, Amir is a player we need because he is a good interior defender and adds value to the team in an area that we need it. Also, he is a good offensive rebounder (though I wish he was better defensively).

          5 years is perhaps a little too long to go for any NBA contract, but we are getting Amir through what should be his prime years at under $7 million per year, on average, which does not break the bank at all.

      • Lol, downward progression?

        How can you say that? Like Colangelo pointed out already, the first 4 years were building around Chris Bosh. The next 4 years are a new era in Raptor basketball. Colangelo was already making future moves when he picked up Dorsey late last year and made sure not to trade for a cancer like Beasley as part of the Bosh deal. We’ve been progressing while regressing….you just haven’t noticed it yet.

        • Don’t believe everything in the media–where’s the articles talking about how bad of a citizen he is these days???

  15. I’d defend Derozan more, if his defense was halfway decent but it isn’t. He’s a one dimensional player with a low BBall IQ, but he has time to improve.

    • His D is terrible. First play of the game on defense, Derozan is lagging his man, then runs to him because he is out of position, jumps for a pump fake and the bulls get a 3 pt play and Amir picks up the foul because of it.

  16. I’m not a big fan of Bargnani. His numbers are very poor for a first pick. He has to improve his rebounding, FG% and perimeter defense. The coaches should stop treating him like a finished product already and make him work on his basics. And he should stop doing a Nowitzki – it results in a turnover. But I must agree he is the best we have got right now.

    DeMar is a horrible SG. Needs to bulk up, learn some D and move to SF.

    Ed Davis – He is never going to develop a jump shot like KG, Duncan, Bosh. But what happened to his hook shots, post-ups, spin moves ? He seems to have lost his quickness post-injury. His offense seems to have dried up since getting drafted. As for his D- sigh! He needs confidence and some good coaching.

    Calderon – most valuable player up for trade. keep him healthy.

    Let’s focus on the positives.

    Jerryd Bayless is putting up great figures since his college years consistently. I love his commitment and what he brings to the team. And the best part – he is 22. He is only going to get better.

    That’s all folks !

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