Arsenalist

The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Raptors get what they deserve against Bulls

Posted by Arsenalist on December 30, 2006

To put it simply, the Bulls have too much quality for the Raptors to handle. After owning the Bulls for several seasons (16 straight wins I believe), the Raptors lost their 15th straight against Chicago and this time the recipe for disaster was pretty much the same. Dominant guard play by Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon combining for 38 points and 10 assists along with Deng netting 25 did the Raps in. Of course, allowing the Bulls to shoot 60% didn’t help.

Watching this game you can’t help but think that the Raps are somewhat far from competing legitimately for an Eastern conference title, the main reason being the lack of an official defensive philosophy and the inability of the current roster to play strong perimeter defense. Note to Sam Mitchell: When there’s a pick set for Kirk Hinrich, you need to fight it and not go under. From the outset you just had a feeling the Raptors were going to fall short even after a strong first quarter when the Bulls were getting a feel for the game and planning their second quarter assault (28-14) characterized by a frustrated Raptors offense which settled far too easily under pressure.

Six Raptors scored in double figures but it really doesn’t matter in the end if you’re giving up a FG percentage of close to 60%. At times it seemed like the Bulls were running practice drills for Luol Deng while an impotent Sam Mitchell watched in pain. The current roster is good enough to not concede a FG percentage of 59.7% on their home floor so the coaching staff really needs to take some heat for tonight’s showcase display of how not to play defense. Help defense was non-existent and Rasho Nesterovic’s 0 blocks is a telling statistic considering the Bulls first option was to attack the rim from the second quarter on. All in all a very pathetic defensive performance never gave the Raps a chance in this one.

Random game thoughts: Morris Peterson played 15 pointless minutes and seems to be falling behind Joey Graham (who really needs to calm down and think before he makes an offensive move) in the depth chart, Mitchell really isn’t using him well….Of Andrea Bargnani’s 10 FG attempt, 8 were threes (4-8)….Nesterovic has no intensity on the court….TJ Ford is a very good player but he needs to work on his jumper big time…..PJ Tucker didn’t play in this game which was surprising since some aggressiveness was desperately needed…..Gotta like Jack Armstrong for saying he doesn’t like jump shot shooting teams….PJ Brown is alive.

Here are the NBA.com highlights from the game.

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