Arsenalist

The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Got that sick feeling in your stomach? Me too

Posted by Arsenalist on January 29, 2008

Toronto Raptors 104, Washington Wizards 108

You would think after earning an undeserved lifeline courtesy of Anthony Parker the Raptors would play five minutes of good basketball tonight. It didn’t happen and we crumbled to a miserable defeat at the hands of the Wizards who played without Caron Butler and Gilbert Arenas. Before we start ripping, bashing and placing blame, let’s give a collective round of applause to Eddie Jordan who made the adjustments on Bosh and the Raptors in real-time and silenced the Raptors best player into a woeful second half and overtime. In short, we played bad and got out-coached but might’ve still had a chance if we’d just played harder.

The Raptors downfall tonight was eerily familiar, lack of perimeter defense by leaving shooters wide open, helping off the wrong people and giving up 19 offensive rebounds (4 in OT, haha) which were converted to points at an alarming rate. We got outmanned 57-44 (19-12) and gave up 5 threes to Deshawn Stevenson and 3 to Roger Mason Jr, the last of which came after Calderon and Humphries couldn’t figure out if they were supposed to switch or not. That play and the late, late Jamison tip-in were the microcosms of the Raptors defensive performance which ranged somewhere between careless to lazy all game along. Anthony Parker elaborates on the problem:

“It’s the same thing, nothing’s changed,” Anthony Parker said of the rebounding problem. “It’s going to continue to haunt us until we get better at it. … In games like this, it comes back to bite us.”

Yeah, we couldn’t rebound a fucking apple fall off a tree.

Aside from a 3 minute stretch where we erased the 11 point lead thanks to some Washington turnovers and a hustling Bosh, our defense was as bad as one can remember it to be. Compounding our technical problems on defense was the lack of hustle or willingness to stop Washington which got any shot they wanted anytime they wanted. We played like we had already won the game when Butler went down half an hour before tipoff.

Forgive me for painting a picture of doom but losing to a severely shorthanded team in an uninspired performance doesn’t fill me with anything positive to stay. Aside from Jose Calderon, the Raptors were struggling to find a consistent scorer, even Bosh was only effective in the first half and after that was the victim of a defensive plan by Eddie Jordan which focused on doubling him and allowing him ample space on the perimeter which ultimately seduced him into shooting jumpers. Forget the offense of Andray Blatche, it was his defense on Bosh late in the game which prevented the Raptors from trading baskets with the Wiz. Chris Bosh was hoping to draw the foul more than trying to score in overtime which is usually a good option but late in the games you don’t get the same calls you get in the first quarter. Calderon’s 23/13 were big, he hit some huge threes which kept the Wizard lead to manageable levels but unfortunately it all amounted to nothing. Bosh’s big night of 37/12 was first-half heavy and only saw us take a four point lead into halftime because of our bad, bad defense. A wasted effort really.

Yes, Anthony Parker had a horrible game, a real stinker and you can point to him as one of the reasons we lost but I wouldn’t rip on him too much. It’s not like he took bad shots, turned the ball over and forced things. He just didn’t hit his open shots tonight and we should all expect that from him once in a while. His perimeter defense has never been good and if you’ve got the game taped and have some spare time, go through it and you’ll find him lunging at three point shooters after helping out on somebody else for no reason. I don’t see why Sam hasn’t address this glaring problem in his game or why people don’t talk about it more, to me that’s the area where he needs to improve the most.

The other more subtle reason we lost today was because we got nothing from Delfino, he’s a player who we rely tremendously on to play intelligent basketball but when he reverts to taking bad shots his entire game goes down the toilet. Tonight he wasn’t hitting his threes which meant he didn’t rebound the ball or attack the rim, something which we desperately needed to do in the second half given the PITP numbers. Jason Kapono’s having a very hard time finding his shots and we should consider either trading him or creating some plays for him because teams have very obviously adjusted and are completely taking him out of his game. Of course it doesn’t help that he tends to catch the ball just inside the three point line guarded by two of his own players, those two sequences in the fourth quarter were sick, twisted and hilarious.

The start of a third quarter was a horror show. Bosh wasn’t getting touches and we weren’t looking to force things with him, Washington picked up the tempo and recognized that we were there to be had. They went inside with Blatche while we turned the ball over and took jumpers. The first three quarters we played were very similar to the ones in Philadelphia where we were in cruise control while playing at a very mediocre level. There was this very weird sense of complacency amongst the Raptors that was as surprising as it was maddening. Whatever Sam said at halftime, it didn’t work. Here’s what he should’ve said:

We are lucky to be up by 4 in this game, we’ve played horrible defense and are leaving their shooters wide open. Make Stevenson drive, double Jamison and force a pass out of him. Andrea: take Haywood out to the three point line on offense so he doesn’t bother us on the boards. Chris: keep doing what you’re doing but know that they’re going to make it harder for you in the second half so establish position early, when they double, Anthony and Delfino will be cutting, got it? Good. Hey, CD, WTF is up with the threes? None of that shit unless you’re wide open. Lock down on Stevenson. Guys, we’re switching 1-3 to prevent them getting open shots, let’s see how that goes….

Hope you guys remembered Andrea Bargnani’s Boston performance because we’re probably going to have to wait till late March to see that again. In fairness to Bargnani he did manage to toil 6 rebounds, a couple were even impressive, but the overall throughput only amounted to 3 points on 1-6 FG. I suppose this is the place where we mention something about his confidence, defense and shot selection but its all gotten a little too old and repetitive so there’s really no point. All I have to say is that we need him to be our Andray Blatche but he’s playing like Will Purdue in his final days. It’s just amazing what scouting reports can do to you.

It’ll be awfully hard to watch tomorrow’s game knowing we just blew an opportunity to sweep the Wiz 2-0. I thought when Sam told his team “Let’s play some basketball” at the end of regulation that we’d take it up a notch and thwart the deflated Wizards which is the opposite of what happened. The Wizards took the opportunities presented to them, played very hard and simply wanted the game more. All you really have to look at is the way Dominic McGuire ripped his 10 rebounds (6 offensive) to know that they were ready to play and we were not.

Damon Stoudamire. I’m not sure what my feelings are here, it all depends on TJ’s injury status, if he’s actually done for the season then we need to bring in Damon but if he’s coming back after the ASG, having three true PGs would cause a bit of a logjam, no?

One-Liners:

* Chris Bosh: Great first half, miserable 2nd and OT. I’m not sure what the wisdom in him catching the ball at the top of the three point line after a pick ‘n pop really is. His 3 late in the game was the worst play of the season.

* Jose Calderon is the best spot up shooter for the Raptors. Kapono is close but if you’re not shooting the ball, you’re not a shooter.

* Jamario Moon should be fined for taking jumpers with more than 2 seconds on the shot clock. I don’t care if they go in sometimes, he should not be shooting, it’s embarrassing.

* Our defensive confusion on Washington shooters and their complete dominance in the paint reminded me of the Phoenix game. They had a plan to get Bosh out of the paint, we didn’t have a plan to shut down Jamison or Stevenson. Sam, care to comment?

* The trading deadline is fast approaching and we’ve had to needs since the start of the season: defensive rebounding and second scorer. BC needs to address one of them, I’m not sure acquiring Stoudamire does anything here, he might be a nice fit but it doesn’t solve our existing issues.

* Juan Dixon played a good backup PG tonight and Kris Humphries was the reason we were able to tie this game in regulation. He was our primary scorer in the fourth quarter which doesn’t say much about how our offense reacts under pressure.

Till tomorrow.

16 Responses to “Got that sick feeling in your stomach? Me too”

  1. Dear fans,

    I was wrong. I cry myself to sleep on some nights thinking about Rudy Gay starting at SF.

    Apologies,

    Bryan Colangelo

  2. Lopez said

    This one really hurts! Ap got us into OT on a miracle 3 and we screwed up. Im really getting sick Of Jamario Moon, I think the cinderella story is starting to fade FAST! What the hell happened to Cb4 in the 2nd half? I thought he could’ve easily had 40+ 2nite if he stuck to what he was doing in the first 24 min of the game. Offensive rebounds killed us once again, we have got to trade for sumone who can rebound the fucking ball! Kris Humphries should start over Andrea becuz its not getting any better…..OH yea can sumone get Antwan Jamison off of the offensive glass??!!!..Apparently NOT!

  3. Crank said

    Welcome back, wish you stayed away? I’m too pissed to even comment. Totally agree on the Philly game comparison, we play down to our competition, that’s the trait of the Raptors. If the opponent is good, we’re motivated but if we’re playing an injured or bad team, we do as little as possible to come out on top and the other team smells blood and goes for the kill. Same shit happened in Philly, happened again in Was. Sam needs to light a fire and throw some tea cups around.

    Where the hell were you for the Mil game?

  4. mark said

    no idea why we got Jason Kapono in the offseason… really surprised that we didn’t get a REBOUNDER instead… everyone knows we need rebounding and i don’t know why BC didn’t get someone who can improve the rebounding in the off season.

    BC better make a deal b4 the trade deadline for a rebounder, b/c our team has not improved from last year.

  5. cuzzy said

    bad bad loss

    I can’t even comment.

    sigh

  6. Raps Fan said

    man, i was at the leafs game tonight, bug judging by the boxscore, and who wasn’t playing for the wizards, i’m glad i missed this one.

  7. SAMisCOY said

    Wow. My cable-box is on the fritz. Glad I missed out on this game as well.

  8. Birdman said

    Definitely a maddening loss.

    Has anyone thought to discuss that asking Andrea to rebound and play down low just isn’t his game? He’s not Tyson Chandler. Take away his height (about 3 inches) and he’s almost a (very) poor man’s Rashard Lewis, who plays foward, not center and is a spot up shooter but does little else. I would definitely put Hump in the starting lineup as Bargs just can’t handle the pressure, with Bosh playing center. Bosh has done that before, to mixed results. Still better than Bargs starting at C.

    As an aside, if any of you are looking for more US-based Calderon-lauding columns, check out this one. Snellings is pretty much ready to have Calderon’s baby.

  9. PsychicSpy said

    Joker on RealGM: “Anyone who thinks that the current collection of players we have now can be coached or motivated into rebounding is fooling themselves. We are what we are. The responsibility to rectify this basically lies with Colangelo now.”

    (1) In 2 years, Bryan has built a soft team of streaky shooters… and done NOTHING to address helping Bosh inside. (Andrea is too soft to EVER be sanely projected inside).

    (2) We are a 43-44 win, 1st round exit team. Period.

    (3) Other than Bargs… it’s hard to make the case that any young Raptor player will get significantly better. And Bargs needs to be traded along with Kapono.

    (4) Sam is probably getting the most out of this team… and Bryan knows it.

    (5) Bryan has a history of assembling soft teams. But since his Daddy made the final decisions in Phoenix… Bryan’s track record really started in Toronto… and right now… his 3 biggest moves are potentially mistakes.

    (6) Roko is NOT a savior. Babcock is gonna save Bryan?
    Enough about Roko.

    (7) I’ve emotionally distanced myself from the Raps…
    too up and down… until there is a major shakeup.

    On Raptor TV… I saw DMart, Delfino, and Bargs playing poker with some millionaire “box owners”. Bargs acts like a 10 year old trying to please. He has the demeanor of a waiter… not an NBA center. Did anyone check this guys’s personality before they grabbed him at #1?

  10. […] – Arsenalist.com […]

  11. arsenalist said

    @PsychicSpy: They did check his personality, apparently he aced the Caliper test to such a degree that his skills didn’t even matter anymore.

    @Birdman: OK, if Andrea’s game isn’t to play down low, let him play up high. Actually he’s doing that right now and sucking so bad at it that one has to wonder what he can do for us, if anything, playing anywhere on the court. I don’t think it’s a matter of where he’s playing but how he’s playing. If you’re saying his 7-ft frame is really useless and he may as well be 6′ 8”, then we fucked up drafting him.

    @Crank: I was in NY, sometimes one is forced to miss a game.

  12. Grumpy Fan said

    Can anyone explain to me why Sam had Kapono in the game for so long when all he was contributing was a big fat 0 with his porous D.

  13. jjdynomite said

    Couple points:

    1. Arsenalist, your criticisms are spot on, especially what Smitch should have said at half-time. Some of the posters, however, are negative to the point of stupidity. Seriously, PsychicSpy, what’s the point of writing that “you’ve emotionally distanced” yourself. Why even bother reading or posting at all then? Way to be a fairweather fan. What, if you were a Nets, Bulls or Heat fan (all three predicted to do better than the Raps), would you be burning your jersey right now? A real fan sticks with it (with educated critical commentary like what Arsenalist writes). Period.

    2. I’m also tired of the ragging on Bargs. He’s a 21-year-old from Italy, NOT a finished NCAA product with 3-4 years college time put in like Roy and Gay. Marvin Williams, with one year at UNC, was weak his first couple years. Bynum, a high schooler, was brutal his first couple of years. And we all know about Dirk. BC KNEW the Raps weren’t going to win it all in Year 2, that’s why Bargs, a project, was not an illogical pick. It’s Hoffaitis in a nutshell.

    3. In the NBA, anyone can win a game. All the predictions like, “the Raps were supposed to win”, are witless and useless. The Raps weren’t supposed to beat Dallas, and did. Weren’t supposed to beat San Antonio, and did. Weren’t supposed to beat New Orleans, and did. That’s the way it goes. The Wiz are a well-coached team and the Raps did not respond well. I hope the Raps (and Smitch) plan better tonight, because I’m going to the game, but I don’t plan on “emotionally distancing” myself.

  14. RapsFan said

    Disheartening loss against Washington, especially when Arenas and Butler are out. Guess that goes to say like the person above said, ‘anything could happen in the NBA’. You work hard, and you will be rewarded. And frankly, the Raptors didn’t. I must say, I sort of had a feeling that we were going to pull something in the end so I kept watching after that disgusting 3rd quarter, and sure enough we were saved by another de-javu 3 by Parker.

    It seems like the MOST serious issues are 2: #1 – The Raptors have a knack of having duds look like Studs, how many times have we seen scrubs destroying the Raptors on the boards? I could care less if the Raptors lose due to sheer talent, I can live with that; but when you get out manned and hustled, that’s unacceptable. DEFENSE needs to be addressed, either by bringing a big man that can defend or some sort of coach that can harden us up. Because that defense out there, is pathetic – from every one. Not one Raptor defended well, including Moon, and despite Bosh lighting it up on the other side. We will NOT win ANYTHING, not even a playoff series if this keeps up.

    You could see the tight choking defense that Washington had in the 3rd quarter like Boston’s, and as usual we could not break it or respond. If our shots not falling in a game, we are doomed.

    #2 A slasher/2nd option scorer. Will elaborate.

    Not going to go into Bargs, I pesonally thought he was Okay on the boards, scoring is still a struggle with the shot. Showed some flashes including an in-the-traffic putback dunk on the offensive end. He barely, or didn’t get to see the floor in the 2nd so it’s not fair to judge his performance on that.

    Bosh, great in the 1st half, disappeared in the 2nd half until the last seconds. I thought it was BOSH time in overtime, but he didn’t show up. ANYONE THINK THAT BOSH SHOULD’VE TOOK OUT BLATCHE AND JAMISON IN THE SECOND HALF? If that had happened… that would’ve been much easier on us.

    Delfino was probably one of the worst Raptor tonight. I’ve never seen such a bad night at chucking even for Delfino. Some driving to the rim, please. Don’t stay on the perimeter.

    I agree on Kapono, but the only reason why Kapono isn’t effective for us because we do NOT have a slasher. If we did, Kapono would be A LOT more open on the wing as the defense collapse on the slasher. THAT’S our second need. And we need it bad for Kapono to thrive.

    Have much much more to say, but I’ll leave it here.
    Must win tonight.

  15. PapiJulio said

    Did anyone notice early in the game when Bargnani was benched because of foul trouble our team fell apart. With Bargnani on the floor as a threat, and not a Pylon he really changes the look of the Raptors HUGE. He opens the post up for Bosh and slashers to operate when his shot is falling. He just shoots too quick without thinking. He has to Pre-meditated his play in his head instead of just reacting on the fly. When Bargnani jumps straight up, squares up and ready to shoot… he’s deadly. I thinks it was painfully obvious how much our success depends on his development right now.

    Bosh said it best…”Sometime a bear fights best when he’s wounded.” And the Wiz was bad hurt.

    Come On RAPTORS you have to keep the intensity up. Bosh & Calderon can’t be the only consistent players on a team with so much talent

  16. Johnn19 said

    One little stat that out does all the complaints and comments.

    Bosh/Calderon/Humphries shot 27/42 and the rest of the 8 players who played shot 10/45 combind. 3 more baskets and everyone is a winner.

    Jump shooting teams that are not making shots must concentrate on other things like rebounds and turnovers. Obviously Rap’s are still a work in progress.

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