The Toronto Raptors Blog with an Arsenal touch

Worst game of the season. Killed by heavily depleted Pacers at home

Posted by Arsenalist on February 29, 2008

Indiana Pacers 122, Toronto Raptors 111

I want to puke. I just want to hurl and get this sick nauseating feeling out of my stomach. A home loss to the Pacers missing Jermaine O’Neal, Jamal Tinsley and Danny Granger to end the “easy” month of February at 7-5. Why are we surprised? We really shouldn’t be, this is the most inconsistent team in the league, it fools people into thinking that they’re good (just ask John Hollinger) when they’re just a bad defensive team which exclusively relies on the jumper and has trouble maintaining effort across games. We’re used to the dependency on the jumper, but the non-existing defensive effort can never be excused.

We might as well have had a gimp playing defense on Travis Diener, Troy Murphy or Mike Dunleavy because God knows that Jamario Moon, Jose Calderon and Anthony Parker can’t guard them for shit. The perimeter defense was the worst that it has ever been. I don’t recall a game where it was as bad. It was embarrassing to watch Murphy and Dunleavy get 3-pt play after play after blowing by our perimeter 3’s (Parker/Moon/Graham) with ease. I can’t stress this enough, they pulled their pants down, used the shiniest of vaselines and let it rip. There’s really no other simpler way of putting this. They fucking killed us.

Let’s get to tonight’s key play and if you saw the game you know what it is. After Indiana was pummeling the Raptors by 16 midway through the third, the Raptors found some pride, played a little defense and went on a 15-0 run kick-started by Bargnani and Parker. We managed to cut the lead to one and got the ball back. That’s when Jamario Fucking Moon managed to use his arm to clear out Kareem Rush while the ball was still in the backcourt. Turnover. Momentum gone. Indiana goes on a 10-2 run. Back to square one. Fuck. Moon has been playing D-League level basketball over the past little while, yeah he had a good game against the T’Wolves but he’s not doing the job that he was hired to do. He doesn’t play defense, that play where Dunleavy almost tore his ankle at the top of the three point line epitomized just exactly how bad his defense is. The guy can’t keep his body-weight even and defenders are exploiting it. Plus, he’s it’s become super-easy for players to make him leave his feet. Horrible game by Moon. Just brutal.

For all the perceived depth on this squad, without Chris Bosh we’re a lottery team. It’s cool to shit on Bosh at times for not taking to the rim and finishing strong but take him out of the lineup and you get this. CB4 is our one and only shot blocking threat, once he’s out of there it’s open season for opposing 2/3’s. The only reason our shit perimeter defense has gotten us this far is because once you come inside Chris Bosh is simply awesome on help defense. Mind you that the rotation behind him still sucks ass but at least he’ll make the defender think twice before trying any funny shit.

After Bosh went down, we countered with Jose Calderon and TJ Ford playing a good chunk of the entire second quarter together. It’s good to have them there at the same time for brief stretches but to play them the entire quarter is defensive suicide. I lost count how many times in the second quarter Diener had open lanes to the rim after catching the Raptors defense in transition. It was as if though the Raptors were playing transition defense the entire game. Nobody was dug in on defense at any time, we kinda wandered around, aimlessly switched on screen ‘n rolls, tended to just pick up the player that was the most convenient for us and were three steps too slow. It made you nauseous.

Why Sam went with a lineup where Joey Graham is the 5 is unexplainable. The Pacers are playing small ball but that doesn’t mean you have to comply We have Rasho and Brezec warming the bench, why not throw them in the game to rebound our misses and try to control the boards. Did Sam honestly think our 2/3’s can outplay theirs? Dunleavy must’ve been licking his chops when he saw that we have absolutely no big man in there to even contest his shot once he waltzes past our perimeter D.

People wonder why the American media doesn’t talk about the Raptors and respect them as they should. It’s not because they’re biased or prejudiced, they just know that come playoff time when it counts, we have no ammunition to compete. This team has serious, serious holes starting on the defensive end which are just itching to get exposed in the playoffs. But tonight what pissed me off even more was our non-existent effort. It was pathetic. Ughhh.

What did you think of Bargnani’s performance? I liked it. He was 12-25 for 27 points and only 9 rebounds. I liked the way he played, he was aggressive, he was confident, he was driving, he was pulling up, unfortunately, he wasn’t hot enough early to keep us in the game. He needs to find his offensive rhythm so he can be a little more consistent, it’s games like these that might help him, with the playoffs coming and us being locked somewhere between the 4-6 seed, I say give him the green light so he can warm up and hopefully be a real contributor in the playoffs.

Anyway, to some up the night in two words. Fucking disgusting.

Sorry for the shit language.


* It’s hard to sweep even a bad team but Indiana was there to be had.

* Jason Kapono is useless to us. He’s about as useless as an asshole on your elbow. It doesn’t matter if he plays with TJ Ford, Jose Calderon or fucking Bob Cousy, he can’t help this team because he’s too easy to cover and our coaching staff is too dumb to utilize him.

* Chuck, I don’t believe your lying ass when you say you have that much trouble telling part Joey and Stephen Graham that you make the same mistake like 5 times. Here’s a little hint that might help: THEY WEAR DIFFERENT UNIFORMS!! Also, did he just blame the lack of energy in the arena on the fucking weather?

* I’d even excuse the Raptors for allowing the Pacers to blow by them so easily on the perimeter if they at least took away the outside shot, but they didn’t even do that. The Pacers made 12 three and countless 18 foot jumpers. I’m telling you this was the worst I’ve seen them play. Ever.

* We managed to crawl only 2 games over .500 in the softest part of the schedule by playing 7-5 ball. I don’t even want to know what March will bring.

* Why am I shocked? I saw this coming. It’s just that when it actually happens you can’t believe it.

37 Responses to “Worst game of the season. Killed by heavily depleted Pacers at home”

  1. SAMisCOY said

    “The Pacers are playing small ball but that doesn’t mean you have to comply We have Rasho and Brezec warming the bench, why not throw them in the game to rebound our misses and try to control the boards.”

    ~How many other teams would have played a weak depleted lineup, by changing their own team/game–and why?

    “What did you think of Bargnani’s performance?”

    ~It was good, but it showed, that even against a “small ball” team, he doesn’t play “big” (ie, as a PF, FC, or C)

    “Jason Kapono is useless to us”

    ~Having Kapono with AP and Delfino (and even Jose) already here is redundant. Should be good trade bait come summer though. One of the teams in the West is going to blame their short comings on shooting, and we could get something out of it.

  2. Dinosty said

    So…I just got home from dinner and was about to snuggle up with a tall mug of camomile and an emery board and watch the game, when my eye caught the score on I had to come here and get the word, cause I know you stop time and make a post seconds after the buzzer goes.

    Here’s the question: Knowing how bad it ends up, is it worth it to watch the game? Or is it going to make me want to get drunk on the liquor I don’t have? Am I goign to wake up my neighbors with the flood of my man tears? How BAD is it?

    Almost happy I haven’t seen it. Like hearing your gf cheating without having the mental image to carry with you. Please, tell me to erase my PVR and move on.

    ps. Dinner was delicious.

  3. SAMisCOY said

    Dinosty > Erase. Now. Please. :)

  4. arsenalist said

    Don’t watch this game unless you want to see start seething with hate for all our perimeter players. Aside from Bargnani being a little aggressive, there was nothing good happening. Fast forward to the third quarter and just watch that.

  5. PapiJulio said

    Blaaaaaaaaa…….puuuuuuuukkkkkkeeeeee….#$#@@^#*&@^&*! I hear ya*!

    Sam Mitchel was exploited HUGE!

    El Mago FIRE is ~~ignigting~~

    The Raptors ‘Shit The Bed’

  6. SAMisCOY said

    “According to a team spokesman, Bosh tweaked his knee in Monday’s victory at Indianapolis and felt sore again following Wednesday’s home win over Minnesota. With the pain persisting, Bosh left Friday’s game to prevent further injury.”

    CB4 played 41 min. vs Minn.

    PapiJulio > LoL, be sure not to hit anything/anyone :)

    Dinosty > Camomile? No green tea-peach-ginger?

  7. cuzzy said

    I gave up at the half, I could tell there was no run in them

    what a joke.

    just like I said on my post today, they can’t win on friday night.

    there have been some stinkers this year but that may of been the clincher.

    I agree, use the bigs, don’t adjust to other teams, they have to adjust to Toronto.

    All in all a bad night, maybe a road trip will snap em back to reality.

    I feel your pain Arsenalist……I really, really do.

    Dinosity…..pass the booze.

  8. arsenalist said

    Man, I was thinking about those 41 minutes after the Minny game too. That was a blowout, why the hell was he out there for so long? That was pretty much the only taking point after that snorefest.

    I gotta say man, I’m down after this one. This loss says a lot about this team. Once again we play down to the level of our competition and once again we play horrible defense. IMHO, Jamario Moon PT should be slashed in half. I know Joey’s not even good but at least make him fight for the PT, right now Moon’s playing like he expects to play through mistakes. WTF is up with that? Lest we forget this guy’s a D-League player, not a proven veteran which is how he’s being treated and acting of late.

  9. Raps Fan said

    man am i glad i missed the first half. i don’t think i could have stomached watching the raptors attempt small-ball. you can’t play that game, unless your head coach is nelson, and your pg is a baron.

    i’m usually more pissed off at performances like this, but i knew that hollinger article, with what was happening on the spread, couple with the pacers desire not to get swept would have added up to a tough game.

    from what i saw, i think if bosh was healthy, its a raptor win, and i agree, this team is a lottery team without him.

    my buddy works at the baton rouge by the skydome, and jamario moon and joey graham just walked in there at 1136pm. fyi yall!

    there’s a reason he was a d-league player. to be in the nba, you have play high quality ball for the whole season, not 50 some-odd ones. moon needs to remember what got him the starting role, and go back to that. he really has played himself out of a few million on his next contract.

  10. SAMisCOY said

    cuzzy > I wish I changed it as well. It did look promising at the start of the 2nd 1/2 … then the Moon shone :)

    arsenalist > I agree dude. This Moon has just waned … start Rasho, or Primo. We did small ball, when not big ball? If we’re gonna lose — lose “big”.

  11. AltRaps said

    Jamario should be in the second unit along with Kapono, TJ, Carlos. Period.

    I advocated on our blog that Rasho/Bosh/Bargs/Parker/Jose should be our starters. I no longer care about perimeter guys blowing by Kapono or Bargs since they are doing it anyway. If Bosh/Rasho play half decent D, if someone blows by Andrea or Anthony, our 2 bigs should be able to collapse down to fill the lane.

    We have to take advantage of Bargs’ momentum. Sure, he fouled out, but he logged some good, quality minutes.

    I guess all the Primoz boosters are now back to the dark corner where they are hugging the Bryan Colangelo bobbleheads close to their bosom as they rock back and forth.

    Please, Mr. Embry…save us. (again)

  12. arsenalist said

    RealGM man, anytime you point out anything negative about Jose or TJ, some bastard always comes along accusing you of being biased. Deiner’s getting abused by TJ and somebody points it out only to receive this response:

    While I agree with your assessment of Jose’s defence, it doens’t amaze me that you conveniently left out how TJ got abused by Diener and Daniels tonight. Ofcourse, you would overlook that considering you have been a TJ advocate all along. But I’d like you to be more impartial and point out TJ’s defence (or the lack thereof) in tonight’s game..

    Everything is a pissing contest.

  13. mark said

    fukin pisses me off how Raptors TV commentators keep giving the viewers the idea that we are a good team…we fukin suck… i have watched every game so far this season… but i hope we lose more games so that we make some changes… especially the coaching…. damn i hate chuck swirsky…fukin idiot

  14. […] If you want a full recap and breakdown of the game, head over to The Arsenalist. […]

  15. PsychicSpy said

    This is why “I detached myself emotionally” from the Raptors about 6-8 weeks ago. Because I realized that this team is SOFTEST TEAM IN THE NBA… #30… and that Bryan has absolutely no plans to do anything about it… except go on radio and explain how EVERY move he’s made is “the right move”.

    I also “switched sides” from admiring BC to supporting Sam 100%. Mitchell is the anti-thesis of the what you saw last night. Mitchell played hard and smart every night… and even harder and smarter after the game… in fluent French.

    Also, blaming last night’s loss on ONE FOUL called on Moon (my favorite player) is insane. Repeat insane :) After the game Smith and Jones repeatedly emphasized it was a questionable call. They also explained that Maurizio eats 16 hot dogs/game… because his REAL JOB is food taster for the Don.

    You know… Andrea did look good last night… but I KNEW if I checked his +/- in the boxscore it would suck. Well, there it is -16… worst on the team. And Moon was -1 at only 22 minutes… but the rook is to blame.

    There is only ONE solution. Take the softest 3-4 Raptors and trade them. Kapono and Bargs will always be 1A and 1B. Moon is soft. AP is soft. Jose is soft. We need to swing a MULTI-PLAYER TRADE to remake this team, focus on the next draft, and realize that we are still 2-3 years from contending… meaning Conference Finals.

    Oh… and Roko does not play defence. Bryan will love him. Sam will get a few more gray hairs.

  16. Raps Fan said

    lol @ altraps

    psychicspy: i think you can blame moon for putting himself into a situation where he got called for a questionable foul. dude doesn’t post up all year, then in the midst of a run, he decides to aggressively post up? what the ass is that? he has impersonating a jump shooter all year, and all of a sudden he wants to do his rasheed impersonation? regardless of if he committed a foul or not, he was in a questionable position that killed a 15-0 run, but sparked a 10-2 pacers run. that has to count for something.

    i agree with bargnanis +/-, but he also put up 27/9. calderon was a -10, with your thinking, calderon is also more to blame that moon. you also have to figure that a bad +/- is inevitable playing 40+ minutes.

    i’m in for your solution though…give me ron artest or chris wilcox!

  17. arsenalist said

    Obviously the Raps didn’t lose because of one offensive foul but if I had to point to a key play in this game which killed our momentum and allowed Indiana to breathe again, that was it. Now, if we had scored on that possession it doesn’t mean Indiana wouldn’t score the next 10 points but a score there means Indiana probably calls timeout, the crowed gets into the game, maybe the soft Euros decide to play some defense, who knows?

    It’s crystal clear Kapono’s useless, I’m not sure why he’s even on this team. When was his last 3FG attempt? Was it even in February? Totally agree with the last two paragraphs Psychic. But once again the +/- stat rears its ugly head, if it weren’t for Andrea we get blown out by 35 and if Moon decided to play a lick of defense, we have a better shot in this game. The reason Moon’s +/- is good because he played with Andrea the better part of the third and fourth quarter.

    It’s the stretch in the first and second quarter where Andrea was cold where his +/- suffered. Plus, Bargnani played more minutes thus making him susceptible to the bad +/- which wasn’t being helped by any of our porous 2/3s. Not making excuses for Andrea, just trying to say he wasn’t bad tonight.

  18. SAMisCOY said

    arsenalist > You’d think they’d move away from “this PG-that PG sucks” already. :)

  19. PapiJulio said

    Every team gets blown out by depleted teams once in a while. No reason to push the eject button yet. I think we seen our hopes of advancing past the 2nd round go up in flames last night after that REALLY, REALLY bad loss

    Sam is still juggling the team around the VERY weak SF spot…. cough…cough…moon….cough…

    Sam needs to be a better coach in times of desperation. He just lets the team go on auto pilot….come on Sam…. where is the IRON FIST?

    Jamario must be giving Sam ‘Fellatio’ to not be benched…. but who can we put in? Kapono to start? We need Garbajosa to start here.

    A Positive—> Click the ‘Garbo’ link

    Is anybody going to mention our 7’er played 40 minutes and showed no signs of being tired? I’m saying it…. Bargs is a BIG time player. He wants the balls Sooooo bad in crunch time. He’s got the hunger! The learning ‘Bell’ curve is flatten out.

    Kapono & Moon’s stocks are crashing worse then ‘Black Monday’.

    Coach Papi’s Line-up:
    TJ, Parker, Strawberry Short Cake, Bosh, Barganai
    Calderon, Delfino, Moon/Kapono, Hump/Graham, Rasho

    If only we could get Strawberry Short Cake. She’d wouldn’t pretend she can shoot!! Hurry GARBO….!

    Moon Kapono Hump Graham–> are expendable… I’d trade all 4 for 1 good SF at this point!

    PsychicSpy–> “SOFTEST TEAM IN THE NBA… #30… and that Bryan has absolutely no plans to do anything about it”

    I know you hurt inside after the game like Paris Hilton after taken on the entire team but come on. BC probably knew no trade package could help this season, so lets just ride the wave…. errrrrr.. wake…. into next year when more options are available.

    I’m going under a rock now… get me next season…..

  20. PsychicSpy said

    Arsenalist: “The reason Moon’s +/- is good because he played with Andrea the better part of the third and fourth quarter.”

    I checked the GameFlow… and though I’m not a great believer in ONE GAME +/- stats for obvious reasons… in good fun… I will proceed to destroy your assertion.

    Except for the final 1:42 Moon played which was dead flat… Bargs was ALWAYS on the floor when Moon was on the floor. So while on the floor together for 20:08… they were both -1. That means when Bargs was on the floor WITHOUT Moon… he was -15.

    Now why was Andrea -15 against the UNDERMANNED PACERS without Moon in 20 minutes. Because he is SOFT. Players routinely finish on him with no threat of physicality whatsoever. Bargs just jumps 4″ and love taps them for a free “and one”. I have never seen a hard foul from Bargs. He could play his “game” while carrying a tray full of beer bottles… and not spill a drop.

  21. arsenalist said

    Psychic, look at it this way: What would Moon’s +/- be if Bargnani wasn’t on the floor? It’s a stupid stat and I can’t be bothered to analyze that game flow anymore than I have to. But if you have some time….

  22. AltRaps said

    Come on guys…. + / – ?? Really? This has to be the worst stat ever introduced to this glorious game. Anybody who puts any value in that stat needs a headcheck. An allstar on a losing team who plays 35-40min a game may pour in 40pts and still have a -20. So he sucks? Wonder what Damon Stoudamires +/- was when he was here.

    Speaking of ridiculous…RealGM?? Really? It is shocking that there is an immature pissing contest happening there, seen as most of the posters are 14 and live for whatever Cluck Jerksky tells them to do. Shocking indeed.

  23. Crank said

    PapiJulio – Kapono’s stock is not falling. Everybody knows he’s a great shooter and in the wrong situation with Sam as coach. He’s going to be easy to trade in the summer despite his ridiculous salary.

    Psychic’s saying that Sam is the wrong coach for the Euro situation, I kinda agree because he preaches effort and defense which are both missing every other night. Either the players don’t listen to him or they don’t know how to maintain effort.

    One word to sum up the game for the Raptors: Soft.

    Raps have trouble focusing, they play better when they’re on the road and facing a challenge which is weird.

  24. Crank said

    Also the only other games that were this bad were the Seattle and Milwaukee games, take your pick.

  25. PapiJulio said

    Crank–> I agree Kapono is an AWESOME shooter. I point to Sam for the drop in stock. Why don’t we set some picks to free-up Kapono. He only needs a quick pick and 1sec to shoot from anywhere. I know our PG rotation is still out-of-sync and Kapono relied on the PG to set him up. But…The problem is you can almost predict the plays the Sam is going to run. I’m just a regular ‘Joe’. Could you imagine how obvious it is to a NBA player or Coach? Maybe Jay Triano should bench Sam when he’s not preforming.

  26. jjdynomite said

    RapsFan, mea culpa, I’m joining you on the Moon-hate-on. Beyond his risk-taking D, just seeing him wait…wait…wait… beyond the 3 point line before deciding what to do (and whatever it is, it ain’t going strong to the basket) is beyond irritating.

    Bargs has been 9 million times more aggressive than Moon of late; however, it PsychicSpy’s Bizarroworld, Moon (“his favourite player”) is not to blame while Bargs is “soft”. What is more soft than a SF who is selected ***for the dunk contest, for fuck’s sake*** who never initiates a drive to the basket, to, uh, dunk?

    And last I checked, it was the SG/SFs that went off last night (Dunleavy, Rush), as per usual. Murphy was decent but Foster was nothing special. But so is Bargs is supposed to defend the post AND rush out and guard the 3-point line AND be the primary scoring option with Bosh out? My girlfriend, who rates players based on looks more than anything (hey, it’s a way to get her to come to the games with me), numerous times has pointed out how glaringly clueless Moon looks out there on both O and D.

    As PapiJulio says, Garbo is really missing in games like these, especially with Bosh out. But since Garbo is a Euro I guess it won’t matter to PsychicSpy, any black dude from Jane & Finch would play more aggressive D, right?

  27. arsenalist said

    I like Garbo but we got to be a little realistic about what he brings to us. People have a tendency to overrate the guy for some reason. He’s a 42% shooter and grabs less than five rebounds a game. He’s a good team defender but his lateral quicks are not good.

    He’s a gritty player who plays hard but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the answer to our defensive troubles. If you put Garbo on say Dunleavy or Murphy, he’s not going to do any better than what Moon or Delfino would (well, maybe a little better than Moon). Although a good player, he’s not nearly the defensive stopper that some think he is. He’d be a great piece to an already good defensive team but if the onus is on him to provide the motivation to play D, we’re in trouble.

  28. PapiJulio said

    I ain’t hangin’ my hat on Garbo. I just sayin’ he’s something we have that could help without pulling a move… if he comes back ok. I never felt the urge to yell at Garbo when he played, but Moon changes my language to an ‘R’ rating almost every game lately. Garbo is smart & savvy. Something needed in times of desperation.

    Does anyone know what happened to ‘’….I think it went down with the Raptors last night…..?

  29. PsychicSpy said

    “Moon’s +/- be if Bargnani wasn’t on the floor? It’s a stupid stat and I can’t be bothered to analyze that game flow anymore than I have to.”

    Arsenalist, thanks for your Concession Speech.

    And jjdynomite deserves ONLY to be put on ignore for his juvenile racial slurs.

    We would toughen up INSTANTLY if we went with Rasho/Brezec at C. Jack interviewed the Bobcats play-by-play man last week on radio. The guy said Brezec was a legit 12/7 because he had an “unstoppable” pick and pop thing going with Brevin Knight for 2 years. Primoz’ 10-12 foot jumper is money. He can also legitimately guard bigs. He used Shaq as an example… said Shaq could not get his hook shot off over Brezec.

  30. khandor said

    Well … where to start?

    Later on today, there should be a Critical Possession breakdown of last night’s game on my blog …

    but, in the meantime,

    thought I should (at least) share a few of the (gory?) details I saw which haven’t yet been mentioned here, or have been referred to, in error, by others who seem not to understand the specific reasons at the heart of yesterday’s dis-heartening loss.

    So …. in no particular order

    * The over-riding sentiment of the broadcast crew (Jack, Chuck, Leo, Sherm, Paul, Eric & Jonesy) was that, “… our (the Raps) inability to contain opponents off the bounce was exposed tonight.”

    When the fact is … this was not the case, at all.

    There were specific Raptors who struggled last with their individual defensive assignments, unable to contain their Pacer checks (when necessary) ‘off the bounce’ … not the whole team.

    Any idea who these few Raptors were?

    [Hint: The identity of one might surprise some of you.]

    * THE key possession of the game, which contributed to the loss, occurred in the 3rd Quarter, at the 03:37 mark, when Jamario Moon was cited for an offensive foul, trying to post up his defender in the lane, after the Raptors had just scored 15 consecutive points, cutting the Pacers’ 16-pt lead (07:49 … TOR 58, Ind 74) to only 1 pt (TOR 73, Ind 74).

    When the fact is … this was not the case, at all.

    There were other crucial possessions in this game that had ‘more’ effect on the outcome than that specific play by Moon.

    Which ones were they and when (specifically) did they occur?

    [Hint: Take a closer look at each possession yourself …

    … they’re right there for you to see in black & white.]

    * The major ‘strategic’ mistake Sam Mitchell made was trying to ‘match-up’ with the Pacers when they went with their ‘small’ line-up.

    When the fact is … this was not the case, at all.

    There was another strategic problem that killed the Raptors last night … other than going ‘small’ against a team in Indiana’s situation with their type of personnel.

    [Hint: The ‘Heart & Soul’ of this year’s Raptors team is Chris Bosh … and, “What things does CB4 do better than any other Raptor?”]

    In general, I do not enjoy getting into lengthy exchanges with others who frequent certain message boards & blogs, related to the Raptors, seemingly with the need for lengthy treatises to prove a simple point about how the ‘NBA game’ actually works (or not) … so, here’s the condensed version for you, instead.

    The Raptors loss last night because:

    * Chris Bosh was injured and unavailable after the 02:37 mark of the 1s Quarter
    * Andrea Bargnani and TJ Ford were horrid defensively and were attacked relentlessly by the Pacers (in ‘Pick & Roll/Pops’ & ‘1-on-1 iso’s’)
    * Bosh is the best ‘help’ defender on the roster: the only ‘Shot Blocker’; and, the best Big defender vs ‘Pick & Roll/Pops’
    * The ‘Pick & Roll/Pop’ defensive strategy they used (Hedge & Recovers and Switches) was totally ineffective and led directly to a ridiculously high percentage of the team’s ‘dribble penetration allowed’ … which, in turn, resulted in a high percentage of the Pacers’ scores
    * The ‘Match-up Zone Defense’ used to start the 3rd Quarter was horrid (costing them 8-10 pts)
    * The substitution Jim O’Brien made at the 03:37 mark of the 3rd Quarter … effected the remainder of the game, in conjunction with the beautiful set play the Pacers ran (on their next possession) for Travis Diener … who then made the critical shot of the game (03:24), that stopped Toronto’s 15-0 run (thud!) [Ind 76, TOR 73]
    * In response, on the next possession, Bargnani missed the wide open 3FGA he HAD to make, on a well run ‘Pick & Pop’ with Jose Calderon (03:09)
    * The 0-5 stretch that Ford had in the 4th Quarter (10:20-06:36), killed the Raptors, in conjunction with the 2 key ‘dribble penetration allowed’ baskets he gave up (09:38 & 02:40)
    * Andrea Bargnani played 40+ minutes, scored 27 pts, AND attempted zero (“0”) FT’s
    * Ford was 5-17

    In the NBA game … it’s all about the match-ups.

    Discuss at your leisure.

    (… and, if you’re interested in knowing a little more about my game analysis, feel free to hit me back, here, in bite-sized portions only, so that we can carry-on a civilised dialogue without insults or senseless, meandering red-herrings.)

    PS. For more lengthy exchanges … sorry, but, you will need to visit my blog. :-)

    PPS. Good hunting to all!

  31. arsenalist said

    Concession speech? I’ll give you that once you tell me what Moons adjusted +/- is once you take Bargnani out of the equation.

    khandor, after reading your rebuttal of every logical reason why we lost, I was expecting you to drop some serious knowledge on me. But instead your also pointing to individual plays such as Bargnani missing a wide open three – it doesn’t make any sense.

    Also, why single out TJ and Bargnani as the defensive culprits. Did you even see Moon’s perimeter D on Dunleavy? I don’t buy how “specific Raptors” were guilty of playing bad defense. The majority of them sucked. It seems in the Calderon/TJ debate you’re a bit of a TJ backer because both PGs were awful defensively. Also, pointing to a 0-5 stretch as the reason for a loss is as bad as pointing to one play. Also, the introduction of Diener in the third is a key substitution?

  32. PapiJulio said

    khondors–> You are the ‘All-Knowing’ basketball god. I will always refer to your blog that’s 100% right. We must all be crazy here…..wake up and come off your pedestal.

    You mention ‘civilised dialogue’ yet you pick apart eveyones comments like we don’t know anything. That’s not civilised dialogue. It’s being a hippocrate. Arsenalist doesn’t hide behind his stats sheet to make a point. You can tell he’s been a long time fan that understands the NBA game & ‘team chemistry’ very well. He goes out on a limb with little or NO stats. Just a gut feeling of what he thinks affects the game, I’m assumming. People know he’s being REAL and not just looking to bash people opinions that could be built on….not totally ripping.

    I don’t search all over but this is one of the best blogs going for the Raptors. Don’t puke all over the post, I already did. I’ve never blogged before this blog because people just bash each other like a bunch of kids with NO respect.

    You’ll probably get your feathers all ruffled after reading this, but what do you expect with the bashing you do, even if it is suttle.

    I wasted enough time and space here on the issue…

  33. khandor said


    khandor, after reading your rebuttal of every logical reason why we lost, I was expecting you to drop some serious knowledge on me. But instead your also pointing to individual plays such as Bargnani missing a wide open three – it doesn’t make any sense.
    Specific plays are what win and lose NBA games. You are not incorrect when you assert this elsewhere. What you are incorrect about … is your identification of the wrong specific plays. That’s all.

    NBA games are decided by the outcome of specific possessions … and do not let anyone convince you of otherwise.

    But the key is being able to pick out the correct ones to focus your attention on.

    NBA coaches who excel at doing this (a minority) succeed; those who are poor at doing this (the majority) do not succeed.

    Also, why single out TJ and Bargnani as the defensive culprits.

    Because when I thoroughly reviewed each possession of this game – from the 09:54 mark of the 2nd Quarter to the end – on videotape and cross-referenced with the Full Play-By-Play transcript it quickly became apparent that Bargnani and Ford were the two main points of attack for the Pacers in this game.

    Do you know how many times the Pacers chose to run a ‘High, Wing or Elbow Pick & Roll/Pop’?

    20 times.

    Do you know how many of those 20 engaged either Bargnani or Ford or both in the defensive action?

    Bargnani – 19
    Ford – 9
    Bargnani & Ford – 9
    Calderon – 5
    Bargnani & Calderon – 5

    Do you know what the Pacers success rate was with these plays?

    vs Bargnani – 12/20 (60.0%)
    vs Ford – 5/9 (55.5%)
    vs Bargnani & Ford – 5/9 (55.5%)
    vs Calderon – 2/5 (40.0%)
    vs Bargnani & Calderon – 2/5 (40.0%)

    Do you know how many minutes Bargnani, Ford & Calderon played?

    Ford – 27+
    Calderon – 40+
    Bargnani – 40+

    Did you even see Moon’s perimeter D on Dunleavy?

    Yes, I did.

    2 occurred at the start of the 3rd Quarter … when the Raptors were playing Match-up Zone … and Moon was expecting ‘help’ to arrive on Dunleavy’s drive against the Zone which, unfortunately, never came.

    1 happened at the 01:11 mark when Moon was cleanly beaten off the dribble by a Dunleavy ‘shot fake & drive to the basket’ … as Andrea Bargnani came too late to block a shot and, instead, committed an And1 foul, which Dunleavy converted.

    That’s all there were.

    I don’t buy how “specific Raptors” were guilty of playing bad defense. The majority of them sucked.

    They all made Defensive Miscues at one time or another … but they were not all EQUALLY bad, nor did they each give up the same number of Scores Allowed, i.e. a few … like Bargnani and Ford were much, much worse than others, like Moon, for instance.

    It seems in the Calderon/TJ debate you’re a bit of a TJ backer because both PGs were awful defensively.

    Not according to those ‘Pick & Roll/Pop’ numbers I just showed you (above) … nor according to the number of times Pacer players chose to run simple isolation plays vs TJ Ford and the number of times they scored from these attempts

    Iso’s vs Ford – 2/4
    Iso’s vs Calderon – 0/0

    and how many times the Pacers simply went by Ford or Calderon on the dribble

    vs Ford – 2
    vs Calderon – 1

    Also, pointing to a 0-5 stretch as the reason for a loss is as bad as pointing to one play.

    Not when the 0-5 (00.0%) occurred at a critical juncture in the 4th Quarter:

    10:20-06:35 … TOR 83, Ind 92

    when it was still a winnable game for Toronto … and the Raptors only scored on 3 of their 10 possessions (30.0%), while the Pacers maintained their 9 pt lead, by scoring on 3 of their 9 possessions (33.3%).

    Also, the introduction of Diener in the third is a key substitution?

    Yes, indeed.

    The substitution of Diener (PG) back into the game, replacing Kareem Rush (G):

    i) Fundamentally changed the remainder of the 3rd Quarter (and the rest of the game) … when the Pacers executed a beautifully designed ‘set play’ for their Starting PG, designed to free him up for a mid-range ‘catch & shoot’ (uncontested?) Jump Shot, which he Made … to HALT the Raptors’ 15-0 run; and,

    ii) Shifting Carlos Delfino over to defend against Marquis Daniels, instead of Rush, which led directly to the Offensive Rebound Daniels collected (02:49); and the Foul Delfino committed on Daniels; and the extra possession Indiana gained on this sequence; and, the Dunleavy 3-pt Shot|Made, which occurred as a result, and extended the Pacers lead to 6 pts, from which the Raptors recovered.

    After Bargnani and Ford, the next worst Raptors defensively were:

    Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Joey Graham, Carlos Delfino, Jason Kapono.

  34. arsenalist said

    I suppose it’s a matter of perception. I happen to see the game differently than you. I haven’t cross-referenced the video with the play by play but I don’t think you need to do that to understand what went wrong. We can split hairs till kingdom come but I don’t see a difference between Jamario Moon’s turnover which is deemed irrelevant but somehow the very next play where Diener hits a jumper becomes crucial.

    I’m sure not all the Raptors were “equally bad” but the fact that they were all bad is enough to lose the game. Going deeper than that becomes an exercise in diminishing returns.

    The other problem is that you’re simply considering the last stretch of bad play to be the “critical juncture”. But I ask you if Indiana led by a comfortable margin through the game, why does the last of stretch hold any more significance than the first 2 1/2 quarters where we were miserable. You’d have a point if this was a close game and we screwed up in a tight game but that wasn’t the case.

    I notice you analyze things to death to find reasoning which is good I guess but if your premise isn’t accurate, any conclusions you draw from it aren’t reliable either. Again, everything we all write in this space is opinion more than fact.

  35. khandor said


    My earlier comments were not directed “at” Arsenalist.

    And, as far as I can see … I have no ‘disagreement’ with him (although we may not share the same belief about which specific plays actually caused the Raptors to lose yesterday’s game).

    IMO … when certain ‘NBA analysts’ like Jack (& Chuck) Leo, Paul, Sherm, Eric & Jonesy, broadcast a game … they frequently make observations (as so-called experts?) which can influence how others perceive what’s happening in the game … even though those same observations are so far off base, when you break it down, possession-by-possession, that it’s just hilarious.

    e.g. in yesterday’s game, not once did any of these experts identify the problems the Raptors were having with their ‘Pick & Roll/Pop’ defense … and the way the Pacers were attacking Bargnani & Ford relentlessly, when they were in the game … but what they did say, repeatedly, was that the Raptors, as a team, were “getting exposed defensively, in terms of not being able to defend against dribble-penetration” … when, in fact, this was not the team’s major problem.

  36. khandor said


    It was a 1-pt game … TOR 73, Ind 74 … when Diener hit his critical Jump Shot, off that ‘set play’ – which Bargnani botched the coverage on – that put the Pacers up by 3 pts (TOR 73, Ind 76), after which they were never again headed by the Raptors.

    If the Raps get a stop, right there, on that defensive possession, Moon’s offensive foul is then rendered irrelevant.

    Instead, after blowing that defensive assignment … and, with that thought still fresh in his mind … it was Bargnani, as well, who then missed that crucial 3-pt shot on the next posssesion, where the Raps failed to respond with a score after the Pacers successful ‘set play’.

    When momentum changes like that … yes, after Moon’s turnover, but also more importantly, after Jim O’Brien realized what was happening to his team without Diener on the floor … it was only then that he made the critical coaching decision in the game, i.e. to replace Kareem Rush with his Starting PG, after sitting out only 01:12.… that’s when (and how) NBA games are Won & Lost.

  37. PapiJulio said

    Khandor–> it’s a healthy thing to disagree. It brings out more issues to discuss in the world of Raptors. I’d much rather come here that listen to ‘NBA analysts’ then listen to Chuck, Leo, Paul, Sherm, Eric & Jonesy take on a game without completely sugar coating everything. But come on…I know Jack Armstrong got an old raspy voice but he’d got good points compared to the rest of the bunch.

    The weakness of the Raptors is getting out of control. It’s becoming too easy to attack them from any angel now. I was starting to get use to ‘not’ being laughed at for being a Raptors Fan…. now I have to justify losses to Leaf Fans and tell them we aren’t that bad….. right? I know were not that bad but the ship is sailing in the wrong direction.

    I’m at work now….but I’m going back under my rock. It’s going to be a bad close on a promising season. OOOhhh… the pain… how do the Bobcats whip us…..

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