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Raptors concede to Pistons in 3rd quarter…kinda…except Bosh came back in the 4th….but not Calderon, Parker or Delfino…WTF?

Posted by Arsenalist on January 15, 2008

Toronto Raptors 89, Detroit Pistons 103

Did the Raptors just concede this game in the third quarter after the lead ballooned to 16? Fine, I can convince myself to live with that even though a 16 point lead isn’t exactly a mountain to overcome, but what gets me is the starters remaining on the bench once we cut the lead to 9 with 10:40 to play. After the bench led by Juan Dixon, Joey Graham and Rasho Nesterovic managed to slice the lead to manageable levels, Sam Mitchell chose to rest the starters in anticipation of Sacramento tomorrow. I was completely dumbfounded by this move because at that point you have to put back Calderon, Bosh, Parker and Delfino in the game and hope the momentum shift will continue and maybe you can cut this lead down further, especially with Wallace on the bench. Mitchell conceded the game way too early and the Raptors didn’t even bother giving themselves a shot in the fourth quarter. Now what made entirely no sense was the re-introduction of only one starter, Bosh, in the fourth quarter with 6:22 left and a 10 point game. So you don’t bring back the starters with a 9 point lead a 10:40 to play but you bring back one starter with a 10 point lead and half a quarter to play? Makes no fucking sense.

Let’s move on past this insane substitution pattern and talk about what lost us the game: turnovers and helping off the wrong person. The “Points of Turnovers” stat is often misinterpreted in my opinion because it doesn’t necessarily indicate that the other team scored because of your turnover, but rather after your turnover. Today, the former was true. Every time we turned the ball over (14 in total), Detroit was off and running and getting easy baskets in transition making it look easy. If that’s not bad enough, we also let our guard down defensively and committed a very familiar sin: helping off a shooter. The biggest culprits included Anthony Parker and Jason Kapono who have a fetish for helping out when they should just stick to their man, it’s no surprise that Hamilton and Billups ended with 39 and 20. They make jumpers for a living and we made their living very easy, especially Rip’s.

A couple posts ago nolagunner had made this comment on the blog leading me to give Bosh more of a break for not driving the ball enough:

I’m not being snarky here, but has anyone considered the idea that Bosh doesn’t drive every time because he’s fucking exhausted? I mean, the man has to pace himself given all he’s being asked to do.

It’s an excellent point although my beef with Bosh has as much to do with him not posting up enough as not driving enough because driving can be taken away by a defender if he gives you space, taking away someone’s post-up game is much harder. Either way, today he did neither. He completely and utterly settled for the outside jumper and never challenged any of the Detroit power forwards into defending him. Detroit was more than content letting him shoot from outside and Bosh fully obliged. He wasn’t even rolling on the pick ‘n rolls opting to attempt a 20 footer. His most aggressive move was reserved for late in the fourth quarter when nothing mattered, not very POW like. Anyway, once that avenue of scoring was shut down, we never had a chance in this game but thanks to Delfino, Parker and Calderon willing the Raptors back into this game, the lead was only one at halftime leaving the door slightly open. The said door was quickly slammed shut after the Raptors started the third in the same way they started the game: turnovers and leaving shooters open. Once the lead bubbled to 16, the events described in the first paragraph transpired, leading me to conclude that we didn’t do all we could do to win this game.

Jason Maxiell’s 9 rebounds and 8 points really hurt us because they came through offensive rebounds and some hard-nosed banging down low. It occurred to me that we have a player who can contend with Maxiell, his name is Kris Humphries who only played 8 minutes while Maxiell logged 27. Humphries must’ve killed Sam’s dog and raped his cat because if there ever is a game where your power forwards need to log minutes, it’s against Detroit. I don’t remember Humphries doing anything to warrant an exile to the bench in his 8 minutes, do you? He traveled once but that’s only after he tore down a rebound over Maxiell and McDyess and lost his footing. Somebody please fill me in.

As tradition dictates, any post-game post must have at least one paragraph about Andrea Bargnani so here goes. This time he managed to grab five rebounds (practically fell in his lap) but unfortunately it came at the expense of scoring 0 points. I guess you take the good with the bad except that we’ve been taking a whole lot of bad and very little good this season and as the stats indicate, today was no different. He was out-hustled by McDyess on a couple occasions and was also caught trailing plays much to the chagrin of Mitchell who was once again forced to yank him. I’m not sure what the solution here is, I’m not a coach or a GM, I’m an unpaid blogger who doesn’t see an end to his misery. The best I can suggest is to somehow light a fire under his ass so he plays harder and stronger. We even might have to take that previous statement literally to get him going. We need a second scorer to beat good teams, on a night like tonight where our primary scorer is MIA, a player like Bargnani becomes even more important.

The officiating was terribly poor with the Raptors getting the short end of the stick on every occasion prompting Sam Mitchell to very audibly yell into the microphone, “Why can’t you just say you blew the call?” followed by a prudent “Fuck you!”. Who needs coaches wearing mics when you got Sam? Take that ESPN and ABC. But shit usually happens for a reason, the Pistons were way more aggressive than the Raptors and earned the calls. The Raptors on the other hand rarely attempted (let alone made) a shot inside the paint. Today was the best example of just exactly how perimeter oriented we are and just how much we need somebody who can play in the paint.

For me it’s never whether you lose or win, it’s how you lose or win. I didn’t like the way the Raptors played or the way Sam coached this game, I thought we could’ve come closer and challenged Detroit in the fourth but for whatever reason we didn’t. I had this one circled as a loss in the 4 in 5 stretch so it’s not a shock we lost, but it’s still a tough one to swallow. Sacramento tomorrow will not be easy.


* Parker/Delfino/Calderon got us to within 1 point of the Pistons in the second quarter, they deserved a chance to do the same in the fourth.

* The Raptors settle for the jumper even when they’re in transition and have numbers in their favor.

* Give the Detroit defense some credit on shutting down Bosh, they gave him space so it was harder for him to use his blow-by quickness. But they didn’t prevent him from attempting postups, that option was there all game long.

* If there’s one good thing about tonight, it was that Kapono got some shooting practice. Hopefully he got some of his rhythm back.

* The team as it is right now can make the playoffs no problem, they might even be able to get home court advantage. But winning a series or two is an entirely different matter. We have a big hole at the 5 spot and there’s not enough scoring from the 3. 1 and 4 are the only spots where we’re solid with Anthony Parker being the lone gunman at the 2.

* Sam Mitchell didn’t talk to Andrea Bargnani for three weeks! That is a sign of horrible coaching, you need to communicate with a player, you can’t isolate him and shut him out and magically hope he gets better. Tough love doesn’t work like that.

* This was the longest I’ve ever seen Calderon stay on the bench. I still can’t get past the fact that we conceded so early.

* My heart stops every time Moon shoots outside of 15 feet. Lucky for us, he’s making his share over the last couple games but it’s still scary that him shooting jumpers is something we’re encouraging and seem to be looking at as a source of offense.

* Am I the only one who wants to lunge and claw at the screen every time they show Darrick Murray Martin on the screen. Yeah, Dixon was clanging it 1-8FG but I’d still rather see him in there, at least when he chucks, it has a chance of going in.

* Richard Hamilton’s line included 16-22 FG (5-6 3 FG). Isn’t this a little excessive? Didn’t it click to the Raptors to cover this guy after he had made his 10th open shot?

* Jason Maxiell is type of player that the Raptors are desperately searching for. Somebody who plays close to the rim, uses his body and hot his jumper and can rebound. An unbelievable pick by Dumars late in the first round, now that is some good late drafting.

* Detroit is unbelievably patient in their offensive sets. After examining mismatches with the utmost care, they find a way to exploit them by making the perfect pass and then to top it off, finish with composure.

* Nobody give me the “We were resting the starters for tomorrows game” excuse in justifying Sam benching the starting unit with the game still up for grabs.

* If you missed the second podcast, check it out here.

I apologize for this post being so long.

26 Responses to “Raptors concede to Pistons in 3rd quarter…kinda…except Bosh came back in the 4th….but not Calderon, Parker or Delfino…WTF?”

  1. cuzoogle said

    I could not agree with you more about Skeelo (Martin)

    Seriously the guy shoots as soon as he is in the game.

  2. Endo said

    Totally agree, if the objective is to get back into the game, do every thing you can to get back in the game. Bringing back 1/5th of your starting lineup is simply retarded.

  3. mark said

    i can’t stop yelling at my LCD whenever Frekkin No neck Derrick martin steps on the floor…how could an nba player miss a wide open layup in this Detroit game; and he shoots like 25% from the field for the season??! give me a break!! my 11 year old son can shoot better than 25% from the field… omg please retire sooon D. Mart, its painful to watch you play… pleease!!!

  4. mark said

    Here are a few MAIN points to sum up the entire year so far:

    1) Sam Mitchell sucks as head coach with poor substitutions
    2) Poor Rebounding (no improvment from last year)
    3) Poor perimiter defense
    4) Andrea Bargani sucks horribly this year on both ends

  5. Eddy said

    I couldn’t help but laugh at Derrick Martin at that play. As a matter of fact, if he made that basket, I’d still probably laugh just as hard.

    If the Raps don’t win tomorrow, I can see fans screaming bloody murder. I wonder if they’ll boo Salmons more now that he’s playing excellent ball.

  6. john said

    I feel for you guys. The truth is I’m not that keen on the Pistons. Happy Carlos to play a great game upon his return to Auburn Hills

  7. SAMisCOY said

    Wow. Just wow. Just when you thought that they “got it”, this happens. Like 100% on this board, I expected us to lose this one (yes, I may be a Raps fan, but I am also a realist), I just didn’t expect to lose like this.

    arsenalist > I agree with you on every point. I was so disgusted by how they opened the 3rd that I just switched over to watching Jpod.

    As you pointed out CB4 seems to have forgotten what gave them the wins in the previous games (going to the basket hard). Now, it may be reasonable that he just gassed out from the dbl OT, yet Portland won yesterday, so we can’t really have it as a viable excuse.

    Delfino ended the 1/2 on fire and almost single handedly kept us in the game. Why sit him to start the 2nd 1/2 to start a player that hasn’t shown anything lately?

    Why play Delfino/Kapono/AP together? You can’t go that small VS Pistons. Humph was holding his own even with the BS calls/non-calls. You need JC/AP/Delfino/CB4/Hump (w/c I didn’t see before I gave up and switched channels, did any1 see this line up after?)

    CB4 needs help down low to defend/rebound/box out. Rasho isn’t the answer VS quick bigs. Smitch has to decide what match-ups work, Rasho VS the 1/2 court, slower, power set, and Hump VS quicker, athletic set.

    I like Rasho, but I scream every time he lays in a soft shot and misses. I realize that that is his specialty, but that just won’t get us any calls.

    Bargs may one day be a good player. He might become the very best Italiano to ever play in the NBA, but right now, he is a liability on the 1st team. Bargs w/ CB4 is almost as flawed as playing Delfino/AP/Kapono VS big athletic teams. Right now, Bargs is a liability VS decent 4s/5s in the NBA.

    No I am not ripping/bashing Bargs, and no, I do not have a positive answer to what we can do to help solve this dilemma ASAP. It’s a quandary because you can’t sit your 1st pick or demote him to the D-league w/out losing face, yet how can you rationalize starting him over Delfino (playing the 4 vs a small, quick team), Rasho (playing the 5 vs a big, slow team), or even Hump (playing the 5 vs a big aggressive team)?

    I won’t touch too much on the officiating (since I always do) since Detroit has seen a lot of that going against them, and since this is a home game for them, I believe it is well deserved. Good job Detroit on the win!

  8. PsychicSpy said

    Sorry… but I’ve had enough of people blaming Sam for Bargnani’s Lost Alien Act.

    Sam is RESPECTED around the Association. Before the tipoff both Billups and Hamilton went over to Sam to pay RESPECT. Sam started with limited talent and has turned it into a 20 year NBA career to be proud of.

    In sharp contrast, Andrea has personally trashed his own career. The guy can’t even say one word in English after 2 years. He’s in his own little dreamworld like a troubled 5 year old.

    Bargs will probably leave a trail of fired coaches and GMs in his wake… and then TAKE THE MONEY and go do whatever he really wants to be doing. Whatever that is.

  9. Raps Fan said

    PsychicSpy, i don’t know how respected as a coach smitch is. if you remember, he was voted the worst coach in the nba by the players last year (or was it the year before???). people, including myself, like him as a person. he is a stand up, but as a coach…he sucks.

    bargnani’s ills are not all sams fault, but they are partly his fault. this is a team, you have a coach and players. coaches have to coach and help make their players better, and players have to play, and get better. it is a two way street, so in that respect, there is blame for mitchell. BUT, there is also blame for bc, management and the players as well for not doing there part.

    a sign of a great player is that they make the players around them better. look at what kobe is doing in the LA this year, or what lebron did in the playoffs last year.

    bosh isn’t having the same affect (he has some affect, but no enough imho) on the guys around him. he needs to work on that leadership.

  10. SAMisCOY said

    PsychicSpy > I don’t think any1 here blames Smitch alone for what ails Bargs. It’s more a questioning of style.

  11. arsenalist said

    Psychic, I’m not blaming Sam for Bargnani, only Bargnani is to blame for Bargnani. But Sam is still wrong in stopping all communication with Bargnani for three weeks in hopes that it will have a positive effect.

  12. SAMisCOY said

    I posted this on raptorstalk, and thought it might be worth a read. Flame away, if any1 wants, it may or may not be rebutted.

    —Right now, the only thing I can think of, is to stick him onto the “injured reserve list”, have people speculate/believe that it is a “foot” or “hamstring problem”, that is causing his rapid decline, to at least salvage some of his value/self esteem.

    Send Andrea back to Italy to “talk to a specialist”, while he rests and recuperates, and tries to mentality get that focus back in a friendly environment.

    Let someone else grab minutes VS match-ups, which in turn could also open up more minutes to showcase players the team is looking to shop.—

  13. Crank said

    Hello friends, no matter how much I try to look past Bargnani’s miserable existence, I just can’t. It’s something to do with being the #1 pick and all. Detroit is in a class above us, way above us. A win here is too much to ask for a team plays as passive as we do. Onwards to Sac, Atl and Phi, those are games we can handle. Last night was boys vs men.

    The Mitchell subs made no sense but I’m not even going to think about them because they’ll end up short-circuiting my fucking mind. No need for that, all I’ll say is IF YOU’RE GOING TO ATTEMPT A FUCKING COMEBACK, DO IT PROPER!

  14. PsychicSpy said

    Arsenalist> I fully understand your position that we are STUCK with Bargs and it’s all about BC “losing Face”. Fine. Rational position. But I disagree with you that Bargs should be viewed as a 5 year old in kindergarten… and given all kinds of special hand-holding. This is the freaking NBA.

    Sam has probably stopped talking to Bargs… because Andrea does not seem to be “coachable”… does not listen… nothing works… and Sam has seen this 1,000,000 times before. BC may THINK he is “saving face” by actually STARTING Bargs… but Sam is not planning to lose his job over Bargs.

    The talk of D League is crazy. But Andrea needs to be put in a suit for a while. He needs to start at ZERO… and EARN every freaking thing from now on.

    Look at “Joke” Noah. They punish him. He SUCKS IT UP…
    and comes back with 12 points and 11 boards (4 OFF!!) against Orlando in 24 minutes. Also +4 in a blowout. And it was not all garbage time.

  15. Crank said

    SAMisCOY, how the hell is putting him on the injured reserve list salvage his value and self esteem. He needs to play better in order to salvage whatever’s left of his value and self esteem….

    Arsenalist, nice analysis. It’s shit like this why you have to read blogs to supplement the crappy media.

  16. Raps Fan said

    i totally agree with you crank, blogs are crucial!

  17. Red Rebounder said

    PsychicSpy, please tell me what you would do with Bargnani. I think this is a tough situation to deal with, I really don’t know what Sam or BC can do except hope that he gets better through coaching and is motivated to play hard.

    I’d like to hear what you would do with Bargnani. SAMisCOY is going to an extreme IMHO by saying he needs to be on the injured reserve. Can’t do that with the #1 pick regardless of how much he stinks.

  18. PsychicSpy said

    Red> The Bargs thing is a tough situation. Generally, Sam’s approach of “earning minutes” is the NBA standard and works well with most players… Hump, Moon, Delfino are good examples.

    Initally, I agreed with BC’s decision one month ago to roll the dice and just start Bargs. But this has failed. Bargs has made no progress as a starter.

    What would I do now? I would leave it 100% up to Sam. BC has been wrong all along on Bargs… and Sam has been right. I think Sam should SIT OUT BARGS IN A SUIT for 3-4 games to clear the air… and then bring him back… with the understanding that he will “earn every minute” like Hump did.

    Here’s a great post by Shazzam:

    Jose: 3-7 FG 5 Ast 3 Reb 3 TO 8 Pts
    AP: 5-11 FG 0 Ast 3 Reb 2 TO 10 Pts

    Billups: 5-9 FG 4 Ast 3 Reb 2 TO 20 Pts
    Rip: 16-22 F 6 Ast 4 Reb 0 TO 39 Pts

    “People can crap all over our bigs but I feel a major item is getting overlooked. And It’s the type of thing that bugs me in the whole TJ vs Jose thing. Jose was atrocious last night, and he gets a free pass. He couldn’t initiate anything offensively and got abused by Billups, but he’s supposed to sign somewhere for 9 million next season. Now we can chalk it up as a bad matchup, or heavy minutes against POR, and continue to throw AB under the bus. Or we can accept the fact that this team either needs TJ back badly or we need to upgrade the 2.

    Unless we get a top tier 2 for Jose. he will lead us to nothing more then mediocrity. He is dynamic enough offensively and cannot guard his own position.”

    And the desperate solution is to bring in an all-offense Euro rook?

  19. SAMisCOY said

    Yeah, blogs are crucial, so we can let off a bit of steam, and try to “talk it over”, with like-minded individuals :) and I learn things that I would have never considered.

    Ok, lets see, no one has told me to go hang, so that’s a positive :) (you peeps should see other blogs/forums, all swearing, flaming, etc.)

    Red Rebounder> yeah, I admit, it’s extreme, and will most likely NOT be the scenario we are going to see. But like you asked PsychicSpy, what would we do (if we could)?

    Crank> relax :) this is just a scenario I’m putting forward, and to explain it = putting Bargs on the IR list would “force” us to play players that we in turn could shop (for a much needed back up ball distributor and a rebounder, maybe Juan and Joey, or even Rasho for the right pieces). This would also relieve Smitch of the pressure to play Bargs at this point, and—you guessed it—give Joey & co. a chance to show what they can do.

    Now if he’s detrimental on the 1st unit, doesn’t respond in the 2nd unit, and isn’t going to get relegated to the NBDL, what would you do? Trade him? For whom? Wouldn’t you rather know for SURE what his value will be after a set time (look at Bynum, took him 3 years and a Kobe diss to finally “get it”).

    That puts us where? Putting Bargs on IR can start a media spin off that his bad games are caused by “injuries”. Stick him in a suit (as PsychicSpy wrote) for awhile.

    Let him (insert what you will here [ex. see a sports shrink?]) for a few games to see if that can get him out of this funk.

    That’s my reasoning. It’s not “right” and it’s not perfect.

  20. SAMisCOY said

    PsychicSpy> so if the Raps had listened to fans like Shazzam, we’d have exactly who right now at PG? And did he by any chance mention any PG’s out there that we could sign or trade for that would match up well with Billups? Anyone? Did Shazzam also mention anyone he’d trade Jose for that would give fair value to us right now?

  21. arsenalist said

    I responded to his comment in detail:

  22. SAMisCOY said

    arsenalist > that was pretty good on both ends. Cheers! I am just bewildered that ’til now so many Raps fans call JC out, but they don’t exactly provide an alternative. :)

  23. SAMisCOY said

    arsenalist > that was pretty good on both ends. Cheers! I am just bewildered that ’til now so many Raps fans call JC out, but they don’t exactly provide an alternative. :)

    BTW, imagine if you will that TJ is injured, JC gets traded for a shooter/rebounder, and Dmart is left running the show!!!

    JC might be signed closer to $6 mil., unless someone else wants to overpay him (but from how a lot of Raps fans react, no one will want to offer him any money), but if TJ can’t make a full recovery, and Roko is the only other alternative… I’m not going to touch this ’til summer :)

  24. cuzoogle said

    much better game tonight!!

  25. PapiJulio said

    Ahh… better late then never to post…

    Bargnani… hard to watch him now. May different approaches so far have been tested. Last year Bargnani came riding a high being picked first overall by a team that was freshly rebuild and causing ripples even in the West.

    Rasho started the 06-07 season. Bargnani was brought off the bench in confortable senerios, mostly. No pressure really. Just showcase your skills. We also had Garbo (I’m a huge fan!!!). When the Raptors panicked last year and Garbo was on the floor he had a nac of making everyone on his team relax and play their role. Not to mention the 29yr old was diving for loose balls more then Manu Ginobili dives for fouls. Also Garbo is awesome at help defense and understands how to play the game. I bet if you look at last season Garbo bailed Bargnani out enough so people didn’t notice.

    Now, I think Sam tried starting Bargnani because he believes in his ability. BUT still, little defensive understanding to the American ‘Box Out’ style game. Sam has probably said everything he can to help Bargnani . So now he’s is making it painfully obiouvious to Bargnani that he needs to improve his defense by letting him get beat. Tough Love! Sam’s coaching does not involve ‘Babying & Hand Holding’. You can tell Sam’s Old School. When ‘Men where Men’. The best way to get someone to grow-up is to give them the opportunity and let them figure it out for themselves. But at the expense of Raptors losses. A tough thing for any Raptor fan to take.

    Bargnani will probably get demoted to limited bench time is my prediction for the next bit. I think the Raptors will either get a Coach for big men or maybe, Sorry Rasho, trade Rasho for a player that Bargnani can model/learn from. Rasho good but he also had trade value in this league. The up tempo style isn’t Rasho’s cup of tea.

    Well… who expected them to beat Detroit anyway…

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