The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Nauseating home loss to the injury and suspension depleted Clippers

Posted by Arsenalist on February 9, 2008

LA Clippers 102, Toronto Raptors 98

What gives this team the right to take possessions off? What makes us think that we can flip switches whenever we want and come out on top? Confidence is a great thing to have but the Raptors team as a whole might be a little full of themselves and might be overvaluing just how good they are and where they stand talent-wise. A loss like this should sound alarm bells, we were flat-out lazy in the third quarter, didn’t bother to adjust to the Clippers and took the first shot that was presented to us simply because it was the easiest thing to do. We thought we had won this game at halftime and expected the Clippers to fold and look ahead to Philly, but Corey Maggette and Al Thornton had other plans, they shoved the ball right down our throats and all we could do was watch as the Clippers ended the game by dominating us for a quarter and a half.

For once, I completely agree with Sam’s post-game quote:

“They deserved to win and we didn’t deserve to win. We’re not good enough to just look at a team’s record and show up and play.”

Let’s give the Clippers credit, Mike Dunleavy made some great adjustments: he recognized that we don’t have anybody to guard Maggette and gave him free reigns, then he made a conscientious effort to allow Cuttino Mobley to create off the bounce against Parker, if that wasn’t enough he then posted up our PGs which created opportunities. Bosh was neutralized for the better part of the game by just allowing him space to shoot and showing a soft double team, it’s that easy to contain our best player in some stretches. Yes, he had 29/13 but they don’t carry the weight you might think they do. With Bosh ineffective in the crucial stretch because of the Clippers switching on our only play and a rusty TJ Ford inexplicably manning the point for a large part of that ridiculous 18-0 Clipper run, our offense was shot. All we could muster was contested jumpers on the perimeter and when you’re taking them late in the clock, the percentages will go down.

I wasn’t satisfied with our first half performance because our defense was bad, we weren’t adjusting to Maggette, were careless with the ball and our sets were too stagnant. We let them get too many clean outside looks and didn’t close-out, but somehow lady luck gave us an 8 point lead which was enough for our media to proclaim how great the Raptors were playing and select tick marks across all the keys to the game. ARE YOU PEOPLE FUCKING INSANE? Could you not tell that the Clippers were right where they wanted to be, in a game like this the goal is to just keep it close at halftime, sustain the third quarter and give yourself a chance in the fourth. The Clippers did all that and came out on top. Kudos to LA.

If you thought Jamario Moon taking more shots (13) than Calderon, Parker and Kapono is a warning sign, how about Corey Maggette dropping 35 on our defensive stopper who’s trying to make the spectacular play every time instead of playing sound defense. Again, it’s the Dunk Contest going to his head, Moon needs to come back to earth and realize what got him the starting job. Fuck making videos and having nickname contests, we need to get back to playing some basketball and become a good solid team before we can jump into the sea of self-promotion. For starters, if you’re open on the perimeter, realize that the other team is doing that on purpose and not because you eluded them – pretty please, pass the fucking ball.

How about Al Thornton taking it to Bosh deep in the fourth quarter? Thornton showed some ONIONS by going straight at our franchise player and not messing around with the jumper or any of that nonsense. Bosh was giving him way too much space and was probably better off just conceding the 18 footer. On the other end, CB4 was relying on the referee more than his ability. His 3-pt play which gave us some hope didn’t make up for three bad jumpers and a traveling call in the fourth quarter. Bosh’s thoughts on Thornton:

“I wish I could play it over again. I would have done a few things a little bit better, but I have to give him credit. He’s quick, he’s fast and he made plays.”

But these are little plays here and there that we’re talking about, the chief reason we lost was because the Clippers wanted it more, I can’t emphasize this point enough. Thornton took Maggette’s example and rallied behind him and met with success by doing what his teammate was doing – being aggressive. I would think Joey Graham at least deserved a shot at slowing down Maggette, I mean he’s good for something, right? Huh? Sam?

In contrast, the Raptors took jumpshot after jumpshot after jumpshot in the fourth quarter until Bargnani finally made one – that’s not a plan, it’s freestyling basketball. The Clippers were loving that because we weren’t moving the ball at all and all they had to do was play good man-defense on the perimeter to shut us down. Uncharacteristic turnovers on the part of Calderon also hurt us but pointing him out as a culprit would be severely wrong. What’s a post-game recap without touching on rebounding? 45-33 is favor of the Clippers, the Raptors managed to grab four offensive rebounds but I swear I don’t remember any of them. Bargnani managed to grab 6 which is a lot for him. I’m not complaining too much about him despite his below-average game, he’s still come a long way from two weeks ago when the Raptors were risking embarrassment every time he was on the floor. Jamario Moon got 3 boards which is just sad because two of them he took away from his own teammates. Kris Humphries had 0 because he played 0 minutes – anybody thought we could’ve used his hustle and energy out there tonight? Sam didn’t.

The Clippers had more than half their starting lineup out and even then we couldn’t defend them. All Sam had to do was draw up something which would slow down Maggette, after all, Bosh can handle Kaman which meant that the only coaching needed to be done today was to figure out a way to slow down Maggette, maybe a double here, a trap there, something other than straight-up man-defense. Maggette was licking his chops every time down the floor because he couldn’t believe how easy the Raptors were making it for him, he just did what a good NBA player does, he took advantage.

So much for the easy month of February. I have a headache.


* A part of me died today.

* This loss is similar to the Philly and Washington ones where we were in cruise-control for unknown reasons for the first three quarters before going into panic-mode in the fourth. We are just not mature enough and experienced enough to take these gimme games seriously.

* When Chris Kaman picked up his 5th foul with 5:11 left in the 4th quarter and we only attacked him once after that! That’s it, and that too on a lateral Bargnani drive which was easy to defend.

* How many threes does Maggette have to hit before we close him down on the perimeter? In fairness, even if we did play him for his jumper, he’d easily drive by any of our 3’s. We have nobody who can guard him, Moon/Delfino are too small and Bosh/Humphries are too slow, maybe Graham but he was glued to the bench.

* Did anybody catch Chuck get the trivia question wrong? The question was who the all-time leader in games played was and he said, “We’ll see him in February” referring to Vince Carter. The answer: Morris Peterson.

* Chuck calling this game in favor of the Raptors pre-game on RaptorsTV because of Brand, Cassell and Livingston being deserves a kick in the nuts.

* Joey Graham and Kris Humphries should’ve at least got some run tonight, the former because of his potential defense on Maggette and the latter because of his hustle and energy which we were severely lacking.

* I really don’t like how the media is pumping the Raps up, we have big defensive issues that need to be addressed and nobody talks about them.

* I would’ve bet my house on Calderon making that jumper coming off the screen with 17 seconds left. I thought it was a decent enough move by Calderon, probably should’ve passed it off to to Bosh who was rolling but I can live with him taking that jumper.

* Nobody criticize TJ. He played well, he just shouldn’t have been there in the third/fourth quarter for so long. Not his fault.


16 Responses to “Nauseating home loss to the injury and suspension depleted Clippers”

  1. Lopez said

    Im so sick of this bullshit!! Are they gonna become a contender or not?!?! This good win followed by a bad loss crap is getting way to old!! Bosh had a good game, Bargs was ok(judging by his play for most of the season), Jose was good not great but what the hell is the leading 3pt percentage leader in NBA history doing taking 4 shots(none of them 3pt shots)?? Sam needs to give Kapono a little more burn than Delfino in my opinion!

  2. cuzzy said

    Al Thornton was the dude killing us other than the obvious.

    I agree with all of what you said and feel your pain. I did not even want to go to my computer.

    I was hoping BC would not let Maggette leave and just make a deal in the hallway.


    The optimist in me is nowhere to be found tonight.

  3. Smoke said

    Your post encapsulates my mood entirely.

    Whats with the self-assuredness? Whats with the audacity?

    I dig confidence, but Jamario is starting to fall off the deep end here. He’s not in Corey Maggette’s league, and that was made quite clear tonight. (made obvious by the fact that Maggette, you know… knocked down a jumper)

  4. Wham said

    “Could you not tell that the Clippers were right where they wanted to be, in a game like this the goal is to just keep it close at halftime, sustain the third quarter and give yourself a chance in the fourth. The Clippers did all that and came out on top.”

    Truer words have not been spoken. Sam should’ve been throwing tables at halftime. This is exactly like the Philly and Washington losses, no effort for large parts of the game.

  5. disgusted. i lost my voice again. i wanted to do a video podcast because i can’t verbalise the disgusted look i have on my face.

    i was having a discussion with my buddy the other day about the raptors. he was contending that we go to the second round this year. i had so much to say, when i opened my mouth, nothing came out. after a minute of hyper-ventilating, i tried to explain to him how the raptors cant score in the paint, their defense sucks, and they can’t rebound. three crucial components of winning (in the regular season and especially in the playoffs). he had nothing to say, and i asked him to take swirsky’s cock out of his mouth and sleep on it for a night.

    needless to say, this team wont win a round in the playoff. as it stands now, we get cleveland in the 1st round, and i don’t even have to tell you what that means.

    smitch’s ineffective oaching when the chips are down sucks. moon/delfino couldn’t do anything with maggette, so instead of trying graham, he let maggette roam free. bad decision. raptors couldn’t grab a rebound with the team on the floo, so instead of letting hump try to grab a couple, he stayed status quo. bad decision.

    i’m right there with you arsenalist, really bad night for me too.

  6. mark said

    I hate sam mitchell…call a frekking time out …it was too late by the time they had an 18-run!!!!

    Sam has no idea how to make proper subsititions and time outs at the correct time… should not have left TJ ford in that long during the run.

    Fuk pisses me off…damn i hate sam mitchell…he should not have won coach of the year…its a joke

  7. Eddy said

    Yeah, it was Thornton you’re mentioning who literally manhandled Bosh down the stretch, effectively giving him his 5th foul and leading him to eventually foul out. this was a tough loss… damnit i waited long and hard since monday for a raps game. i agree that you can’t let the visiting team stick around that long as it’s just a loss waiting to happen. looking at those old raps clips they were showing, encapsulating our 1000 games of existence, further reminds me how soft a team we are and how much we need a tough dude to keep our young guys on our toes. no days off!

  8. arsenalist said

    ^^ Thanks for pointing out the mistake. Thornton had a hell of a game, kinda like Dominic McGuire did in Washington against us. McGuire dominated us on the boards, Thornton did it on the offensive end. An unexpected player stepping up to beat the Raps, has happened throughout the course of our 1000 games.

  9. PsychicSpy said

    Please… the Raptors are NOT A CONTENDER. Not even close. So let’s just all relax.

    There’s this little thing called the MLSE Propaganda Machine that envelopes all things Raptors: TV and radio broadcasts, Raptors TV, endless promotions. ** All bought and paid for by MLSE.** That’s why I watch the games on mute… or listen on the radio. And read blogs.

    Every time the Raps win they’re an unrecognized Championship Team… every time they lose it’s some kind of tragic mistake and “somebody’s fault”. You get really, really sick of it.

    I actually enjoy reading MORE after they LOSE… because it’s the ONLY time the bullshit stops… and intelligent people can propose constructive ways to improve a 0.500 team.

    The truth is that the Raps are easy to scout and coach against. They do not have the talent or coaching to provide serious matchup problems. Until they get a stud slasher like Magette to take the heat off Bosh… the Raps will just spin their wheels.

    Even a ROOKIE like Al Thorton… beating Bosh 1-on-1 TO THE RIM 3 or 4 times in a row at crunch time. In reply, we got Jose, Moon, Bargs bricking jump shots. That’s what decided the game.

    And I think Arse to waaay too hard on Moon. He’s a minimum salary rook. And you DEMAND that he SHUT DOWN down Magette… a guy who will probably get a close to max contract… just because? Just because? Moon is actually a valuable second string and role player on a good team… but forced to start, because his best friend Joey needs a brain.

    “A part of me died today”. That’s why I learned to love the Raptor losses… because it’s the only way we avoid the Leaf quagmire by FORCING Bryan to gamble. The same Bryan that has not made a move since last summer.

  10. AltRaps said

    Remember the good old days? Remember when the Raptors were young and hungry and played like the Clippers did last night? Those were the days, huh?

    We are young at our core, but where is that hunger? Sure, you can say all the right things about “we are a playoff team” and “as long as we defend home court, people will be afraid to play us”. Whatever. Come out and play every game as if it was game 7. That shouldn’t have been hard to do this week with all the time off.

    Unlike most here, I’m not blaming Sam. Do I think he drilled Moon on how to play D on his guy? Absolutely. I think Moon is a short term thinker. He gets beats once or twice and it all goes away. I would have loved to seen Maggette doubled, but have you seen us when we double? It’s like watching synchronized swimming at the special olympics. The other 3 guys look like a cat following a red laser pen…no idea where to go.

    The will win another big game and the fanboys will be happy again. Yippie. How you can be happy with a Division Champion team being mere games over .500 in the East is beyond me.


  11. Birdman said

    Arsenalist, you’re the only reason I look forward to seeing the Raps lose. Your columns are bang on.

    About Moon – does anybody else think he’s probably the worst starting 3 in the league? You’ve gotta respect him for coming out of nowhere… but c’mon, he’s not a starting SF. You put him in when your team needs an injection of energy and shot-blocking, like Tyrus Thomas in Chicago (in fact, I think they’re clones).

    Smitch’s lineup rotations make no sense. Hump is one of our most consistent performers and one of our only available bigs who can rebound, yet he’s glued to the bench. And what’s up with TJ manning the point during that 18-0 run? Talk about hanging a dude out to dry. That’s just not fair to TJ.

    PsychicSpy, enough about the MLSE propaganda and telling us to relax. We’re harcore fans. We’re supposed to question everything when they lose. We’re supposed to get excited when they win. Nobody here is saying the Raps are a championship team. It’s absolutely true that losses like this and the ones against the Wiz and Sixers are the reasons we aren’t a top-tier team. But then again, no one claims that we are. But then again, look how far we’ve come in less than 2 seasons.

  12. […] – Arsenalist […]

  13. PsychicSpy said

    “Nobody here is saying the Raps are a championship team. It’s absolutely true that losses like this and the ones against the Wiz and Sixers are the reasons we aren’t a top-tier team.”

    Actually, many fans on RealGM are discussing second round playoff matchups… at which point I tune out.

    The reason we aren’t a top-tier team is NOT losing to the Clippers/Wiz/Sixers occasionally… it’s because the Raptors are still 5-13 against the Top 10 NBA teams. We get TOTALLY EXPOSED by top coaches and teams… unless we shoot 60% to win.

    This is why Kerr blew up the Suns… they are 5-8 against Top 10 teams… and Kerr knew it was hopeless.
    The Shaq trade has all the experts on the fence. It’s
    fascinating. No one wants to bet against teaming Shaq’s toughness and BB IQ and winning history with the D’Antoni/Nash/Amare/Barbosa/Bell/Hill.

    And Moon is a rookie 8/6 player with above average D. Smith and Jones emphasized last night how Smitch is RELENTLESSLY coaching Moon to drive to the rim. Moon knows he is frail and wants to live. But if Jamario can add 2 or 3 drives per game, finish better and draw more fouls… you got a valuable 12/6 player.

    Everybody talks of Maggette like he was born a star. Drafted 13th, traded twice. Pretty much like Joey. Did not blossom until 3rd or 4th or 5th season. Instead of stockpiling Euro shooters… Bryan should be gambling on young slashers.

    Yeah… maybe TJ was hung out to dry. But this game was meaningless. There was a telling moment when TJ was on a fast break for a contested layup… but PULLED UP just like freaking Jose. Sam is testing TJ. If TJ cannot play hard and with a certain recklessness… TJ will never be an Elite Player.

  14. Crank said

    When we weren’t able to blow them out at halftime I knew we were in trouble. The Philly game is a good comparison, marginal effort at best in the first half followed by a stink bomb of a third quarter.

    Psychic you better not be comparing Graham to Maggette. Maggette actually has driving skill and is a good shooter, Graham has a good body, the comparison ends there. I’m also not agreeing with the theory that Sam is testing TJ, testing him for what? Whether he’s going to be scared for the rest of his career? TJ’s been through worse injuries before and came out aggressive, this is nothing. He’ll be back to engine speed in a couple weeks.

    Somebody define “contender”, what does that word mean? We’re not going to contend for the title but if we sure up our rebounding and defense, we can win the first round and be competitive in the second. I want a slasher on this team too but somebody explain how we’re going to do get one instead of just dreaming one up.

    Arse is harsh on Moon but I was also yelling at the TV when he kept jacking up shots when another pass a better option. He needs to play within himself and not cheat on D, everytime he cheats he gets burned. Hump/Graham not playing a minute is retarded. The fucked up part is that nobody in our media has the balls/insight to ask the question why they didn’t play.

  15. Gagan said

    I still don’t understand how Bosh allowed Thornton to beat him 3 straight trips down the floor, I mean this shouldn’t happen at all. Dude needs to play off him and put him on his weak side.

  16. PapiJulio said

    I totally agree with the Moon bashing. I Was screaming out his names at games because I loved his play. But now? About a month ago he took it to the rim hard and got knocked on his ass by a REAL NBA player, not a D-Leaguer OR a Washington Generals. I think he got scared & saw his StoryBook career flash before his eyes. He saw how quickly it could all end. But guess what… people don’t make it in the NBA by playing reserved. The ones who make it put it all on the line, and don’t worry about stuff. Now Moon has to decide if he wants to play with GlobleTrotters (No Contact) or in the NBA where people knock you on you ass if you dunk or block them.

    ***To: Jamario Moon***
    Your loosing Fans faster then ‘The Plague’. Stop trying to establish your’D-League’ shot. Your NOT on this team to score!!!
    Your on this team for defense, hustle and the occacional high percentage bucket. If Moon thinks he has a better chance scocring then Bosh, Calderon, Barganai or Parker he needs a serious head shake. Your a !!ROOKIE!! act like one and respect the seniority on the team. You think at 28 you’d know. PLAY YOUR ROLL!!! I think your awesome Moon but quit playing for the cameras and highlights your killing yourself. Moon would be a amazing bench player…

    Come on BC find us a starting SF. I think it would give us the chance to make it to the the third round if we did.

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