The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

A 7 point 4th quarter lead on the road needs to be valiantly protected, not Darrick Martinized!

Posted by Arsenalist on December 20, 2007

Toronto Raptors 96, Portland Trailblazers 101

This one hurt real bad. It hurt bad because we had a chance to win it and should have won it. We shot ourselves in the foot by playing bad fourth quarter defense and not putting our best players on the court at the right time. The momentum of this game completely shifted at the start of the fourth when the Raptors led by Darrick Martin scored 4 points for the first 7 1/2 minutes of the quarter. Two ill-advised shots by Martin and some very poor spacing and execution during this stretch turned a 7 point Raptors lead into a 3 point deficit. This was where the game was lost: not having Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon on the floor early enough in the fourth and completely ignoring Rasho Nesterovic.

darrick martin It makes my stomach turn every time I see Darrick Martin on the floor and watching him run the Raptors into the ground in the final quarter was exasperating. Leo threw a stat out saying that when Portland was trailing at home to start the fourth, they’d won more than they’d lost. Did Sam Mitchell expect the lineup of Murray/Kapono/Bargnani/Delfino/Humphries to withstand a Portland run? You need at least one guy on the floor who can create his own shot otherwise you’re just begging to get run on, and that’s what happened, they made a run and we stood silent. By the time Bosh and Calderon were injected Portland had the momentum and despite us trying to shoot ourselves back in the game it was too little too late as a bad foul by Jamario Moon and a Travis Outlaw offensive rebound put Portland further ahead and the Calderon turnover on the break iced the game. Throw a couple phantom foul calls on us in there and you have a 1-1 road trip when it should’ve been 2-0.

I’ve mentioned Chris Bosh’s infatuation with the jumper in almost every post but I have to mention it again. He was far too passive for the better part of the game and the frustrating part about it was that just about every time he drove to the rim he had success. It’s a very simple formula: go with what’s been working and don’t settle. Now a line of 18/11, 6-13FG, 6-6FT isn’t that bad but if you saw the game you know it should’ve been 26/11, 6-13FG, 14-16FT. That’s the difference between winning and losing; But it’s not fair to dwell on Bosh’s performance because even though he could’ve done more he did enough for the rest of his team and coaching staff to carry us through.

andrea bargnani brandon roy
Do you think Brandon Roy made this shot?

We’re getting nothing from Bargnani, nothing at all. How does 2 points and 2 fouls sound for a #1 pick? He was supposed to be a big part of this offense and a big part of this team this year but when you’re getting Mamadou Njdiaye like performances from Bargnani it’s left up to the likes of Kris Humphries to carry the offensive load, and no matter how well he plays (13pts/5rebs) it’s evident that we’re being stretched. Watching Brandon Roy tear it up on offense as he climbs the ladder to super-stardom gives me a slight respiratory problem, I would have to not be human to not wonder what could’ve been if David Stern had called out his name instead of the Italian Stallion’s Pony’s. Even Bargnani’s defense deserted him in this game as he looked clueless when boxing out his man or even switching on the pick ‘n roll. On one pick ‘n roll he ended up guarding Humphries’ man for no reason other than laziness during that crucial stretch in the fourth. It’s nobody but his fault that he’s struggling. I’m a Sam Mitchell critic but he has given him a more than fair shot of getting significant playing time, Bargnani was awful on defense today and just as bad on the other end. You can’t just stand behind the 3pt line and “demand” the ball, defenses have shown that all they need to do is crowd him and that’ll be the end of his perimeter game. He needs to find other ways to score like fight for good post-position, run the break, roll instead of pop on the screen, try to take advantage of his height by sealing his man etc. Right now he’s just waiting for something to happen that’ll get him open shots but that’s not how the NBA works, not once teams have gotten a chance to see you for a year. Completely unrelated but here’s what Rudy Gay did tonight.

I have to question the playing time of Rasho Nesterovic. Rasho was playing very well early on grabbing offensive rebounds, scoring on putbacks and jumpers. In other words, Portland had trouble dealing with the weight he was throwing around the rim. However he was taken out in the first quarter and returned in the third to play a few meaningless minutes and that was it. No sign of Rasho in the crucial fourth period where Portland got a couple huge offensive rebounds that put this game away, I can’t help but think Rasho could’ve helped. It was sad to see Anthony Parker’s solid all-around game completely wasted because of some bad substitutions and bone-headed plays down the stretch.

From the positive of Rasho Nesterovic let’s celebrate the end of Jamario Moon’s honeymoon which happened precisely at 2:27 of the fourth quarter when he fouled Travis Outlaw who was attempting a Jordanesque fadeaway from the edge of the three point line, a shot that you want him to take. But it’s not just this indiscretion that’s inexcusable, it’s his shot selection which varies between painful and gruesome. A pull-up jumper from 19 feet? Are you kidding me man, how can you not get pulled for that? Sam Mitchell’s been showing a little too much faith in Jamario Moon of late and it’s highly questionable when you have Joey Graham sitting right there begging for playing time. What happened to competition between players driving the Raptors? Moon’s unneeded aggressive help defense early in the shot clock has allowed his man to score on more than a few occasions and this isn’t a case of blaming the rotations either.

I’ve failed to mention our perimeter defense which led us down yet again. It’s fair to say that Calderon’s defense on Steve Blake was very poor to start the game and never got much better. On a night where defense would win the game the Raptors failed to play any and let their guard down in the fourth quarter by conceding open layups and critical offensive rebounds. This was a great game to watch with some end-to-end action for the first three quarters and the Raptors were right there till the end. They needed their big guns to play more in the fourth quarter, Thursday is an off day and there would’ve been plenty of time to rest.


* Krish Humphries is a warrior. The work ethic, the competitiveness and the desire to get better are all there. I love the guy.

* Jose Calderon should’ve been more selfish and exploited his matchup against Blake and Rodriguez.

* Delfino was a complete non-factor, I think he should be playing more point instead of Darrick Martin (even typing his name is painful). Or how about Dixon running the point, a weird DNPCD for him tonight.

* The communication on defense in the fourth quarter wasn’t there at all, before or after Bosh and Calderon came in.

* Kapono is playing very well especially considering nobody runs any plays for him.

* I could write a long paragraph just tearing Bargnani to shreds but it’s not going to help anything. He simply needs to get his confidence back, figure out how to drive to the rim so that his game opens up for him. It’s painful to watch him and it hurts me.

* Provided Portland can keep Roy and Aldridge together and add a couple veterans, their window for a run at the WC finals isn’t far away.

It’s bed time. Check the feed.

12 Responses to “A 7 point 4th quarter lead on the road needs to be valiantly protected, not Darrick Martinized!”

  1. Red Rebounder said

    I counted five plays where Moon was over-aggressive which ended up leaving a Portland player wide open. He’s trying to block every shot and get every steal and when it doesn’t happen he leaves his teammates out to dry. Sam should’ve sent a message and pulled him after 2 minutes when he tried that twitchy 20 foot jump shot in the first quarter.

    Can’t say enough about Hump. Warrior!

  2. Lopez said

    Yes this one hurt way too bad!! Sam Sam Sam………What can i say about Sam “Dumbass” Mitchell?? He’s a complete idiot and I would have said that if we would’ve have pulled this one out, but the fact that we lost makes it even more disturbing. Pulling the starters to start the 4th quarter was an idiotic move that only Smitch would make, and I would just be so satisfied if i wake up in the morning and see that Sam Mitchell has been terminated! As for Darrick Martin, What is he doing on an NBA roster?? I would have rather us kept Luke Jackson to be the 3rd string pg then him! Andrea Bargnani is just not very good, I dont know if its fatigue or what but he is just not very good. Also, Jamario should get tazed everytime he jacks up a 20ft jumper!

  3. adsimple said

    Man Bargnani touched six balls all the game, how can he restore his confidence this way? you are going to the playoffs anyway, so why don’t give him some playing time and some shoots? run some play for him? no, this team must be Bosh-Moon big time

  4. PsychicSpy said

    Tell it like it is. Endless Raptor PROPAGANDA (Chuck/Leo/etc) makes me puke… Euro league this/that on and on. Truth is Euro league’s for guys like Hoffa and Rautins. Elite NBA players shred Euro refugees when it counts. Raptors are an illusion… a 0.550 team with depth. But the NBA is decided by Elite Players who KNOW they will shred Raps when it counts. The ultimate threadmill scenario.

    Watching Portland all one could think of: What idiot would take Bargs over Roy or Lamarcus 15 months ago?
    Where has Bargs ever dominated?

  5. Dinosty said

    Make no mistake – this is how the Clippers gave would have ended if there were 20 extra seconds on the clock.

    Love the Mamadou reference!

  6. Sam is COY said

    People thought I was crazy when I started swearing like hell to start the season because we resigned DMart. Seriously. If he’s such a great locker-room-coach-type-of-guy, sign him as an assistant and you STILL save money, and an all important roster spot.

    Is it just me, or isn’t better NOT to sign a crap player whos is useless anyways, and hold that spot to sign a player needed later? That way you DON’T have needless expenses having to BUY OUT the (expletitives) player.

    Why the (expletitives) can’t Sam put in Juan instead, at least when he jacks it up, there is a bigger chance the ball goes in. Or Delfino running point.

    I have been defending Bargs all season long. I keep telling myself, sophomore blues, injuries, confidence, wrong coaching, is what it’s at. But I have to be fair. I really don’t think he was deserving of the 1st pick then, I really don’t now. I still think year 3 will be better. Patience. What else can we do?

    Btw, I am for a Bargs for Yi swap. If they thought Bargs would bring in a crowd (lot’s of Italians in the GTA), imagine having Yi? Plus, he can actually play center.

    Moon is still Moon, except he’s taking more shots, BUT, he’s getting called more. Raps win more games w/out BS ref calls.

    I am suprised Detroit beat the c’s. Good to see former champs getting some kind of respect from the(expletitives) refs. c’s actually got called for fouls! WOW!

  7. PsychicSpy said

    If Delfino can play point guard for Argentina… why can’t he do it for 8 min/game. He’s looked OK when given the chance. Release Martin. Just release him.

    Moon will keep improving. Why is an impressive rookie on a STEEP learning curve an issue?

  8. arsenalist said

    @Sam is COY: I still have some faith in Bargnani, I can’t convince myself that last season was a complete fluke. I don’t like his overall game because it has some fundamental flaws in it like his footwork but at the same time I think he can be a valuable contributor to this team. As for him being the #1 pick, it’s evident that he’s not going to live up to that.

    @PsychicSpy: It boggles the mind why Juan Dixon or Delfino don’t run the point instead of Martin. Dixon has shown that he’s fully capable of doing it and even if he sucks ass out there, he’s not going to be as bad as Martin. And Delfino has shown that he can play the point for 5-10 minutes a game effectively so I don’t see the need for bringing him DMart who brings NOTHING at all to the floor.

  9. Sam is COY said

    PsychicSpy > I didn’t know Delfino ran their point. It’s weird, but it looks like Delfino is defined by the role he plays on the team. Stick him at the 1 and he acts like a 1, etc. I am ALL for giving him the back-up 2 spot (or 3 spot when TJ gets back). I’m with you on Moon–the worse he could be is to become a more athletic JYD.

    arsenalist > Looks like you and I are the only ones not completely giving up on Bargs.

    It seems that DMart is probably the only guy on the Raps that can’t get a positive rant. I can’t think of a single positive thing to say about him. Heck, even Smitch got some respect for sticking up for TJ.

    Btw, way OFF topic, and a completly different rant. Lots of people like to show hate to Calderon because of what is perceived as his ineffectiveness on offense (can’t create like TJ, etc.). I actually think it might be self-imposed. If given the green light, or if told to be the 1st, or 2nd option, I believe he can create his own shot/drive.

  10. Bacon said

    He made that shot. Bargnani was late getting to him as usual. That play you’re talking about in the fourth where he left Outlaw wide open at the top of the key made Mitchell call a timeout right there, didn’t help though.

  11. RapsFan said

    Funny because I had what seemed to be a lighting strike of a thought come to mind in the beginning of the 3rd quarter that we were going to lose, surely enough we did. Roy is definitely proving why he is the ROY last year, I can see a superstar in the making just judging from yesterday’s performance. Bargs on the other hand, not doing too well, but I’m not giving up on him, and I can’t see why other Raptors fans are – isn’t this guy your praised hero, fan favorite last year? ‘Ill Mago’ future Dirk? A couple injuries, bad games after, people are calling him a bust. Not a fair judgment. People need to give him some time to get comfortable, healthy again. He himself needs… confidence, confidence, confidence. Hard to come by, and it’s easy to say. Looks like he’s in for a mental battle with himself.

    – Blaming this one on Smitch, D-Mart getting too much time on the damn court. Calderon had sufficient rest time with Bosh… Should’ve won that one.

    – Defense… Roy was breaking up our defense piece by piece… bad defense by both teams.

    – Anyone notice that the Blazzer’s play a pretty similar style as the Raps? Dribble drive (although we lack that now) and a pitch out on the wings, and some pick and pop/rolls.

    – Calderon, Calderon, Calderon – TOO PASSIVE. What the hell, get to the damn rim. What I’m not seeing from him anymore is his ankle breaking to the rim drives/and 1’s from last year anymore. The shots good, but get to the rim more, PLEASE. This is where you see TJ’s strength, his ability to get to the rim.

    – Humphries, the few who actually got to the rim, doing fine imo.Keep playing with that aggression and passion.

    – Give some more time to Rasho, anyone see him in the 1st quarter? He was a spark.

    – Drop D-Mart as PG, let Delfino bring the ball up like in the FIBA Tourneys.

    – Parker, nice to see him back in his grove. HOPEFULLY he will stay consistent next game.

    – Moon, making rookie mistakes. Too block happy for his own good. Just play some GOOD SOLID DEFENSE and contest shots, there isn’t a need to block EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM as it seems that’s what he wants to do. Also, I can’t express this enough – drive to the damn rim, you got the athleticism and hops, DON’T SETTLE FOR THE SHOT.

    That’s all, good luck at the Seattle game.

  12. victor said

    Its all Sam Mitchells fault! The bastard doesn’t know how to make the correct subsititutions at the right time.

    Sams an idiot. I wish he never won coach of the year last year.

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