U-G-L-Y Raptors got no alibi, THEY UGLY! Well, it ended up prettt much how we thought it was going to although apparently Matt Devlin was disillusioned enough to think that it was going to be different. At one point in the game, when the Raptors were down 18, did Matt Devlin really say, “Well, this isn’t shaping up like I thought it would.” What? After that display on Friday and having JO ridiculously inserted into the lineup (have to question the coaching staff AND the trainers on that one), there was no way the Raptors were going to walk in and do anything today.
But let’s start with JO. Kudos to him for fighting through pain and wanting to play in a game against a big time team, especially since he used to get a lot of flack for being soft when it came to his injuries in Indiana. But you have to wonder what the Raptors were thinking by actually inserting him in the lineup today. At best, he was going to be at about 50% on that knee. Knowing going into the game that there was no structural damage to the knee, but that there was a strain, JO should not have been playing today. You know going into a game with the Celtics, JO is going to have to bang with Perkins and KG, which is no easy feat when you are 100%. So when you are out there on a sore knee, you have had serious knee problems in the past, you are sporting a brace, and don’t have another game until Wednesday against the BOBCATS (who are undersized up front and are generally soft), you have to wonder what the point was in starting JO today. Weigh the options, take a long look at your season and you division and then tell me that it was a good decision to start JO today. I mean, if you don’t take part in the pre-game warmups and essentially stay in the locker room until it’s go-time, then it shouldn’t be go-time. Shut it down, come back stronger another day. Raptors, PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENTS.
Growing up, I was always told that actions speak louder than words. Cut to image: Sam on a timeout, talking to 4 out of 5 guys on the floor, with the team leader, Chris Bosh, not listening to a word Sam’s saying, away from the group. Leo summed it up saying that if they weren’t going to get him any touches, then why should he be in there listening to the play that was being drawn up, but to put it that way made it look childish on Bosh’s part. There may be some validity in that, but I think Bosh was making a very clear statement to anybody in a position of authority at that point. I read that as Bosh saying, “There’s no point in me listening to what you are drawing up, because you couldn’t draw lottery numbers out of a bag.” Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I don’t think Sam has a lot of support coming from his franchise player right now.
Seriously, what is going on with Jose on D? Maybe his hammy isn’t that strong right now, because he is getting continually exposed on D. Sure, Rajon Rondo’s quick, but he’s not quick enough that he should be making Jose look that bad with the same move every time down the court. Given, there should have been some support sliding in behind him after Rondo got the corner on him, but should Rondo be gaining the corner that easily? When I spent much of the past few years defending TJ Ford, I talked about his ability to defend from the PG position. I think we’re seeing a bit of what I was talking about now. Jose has a lot of positives and Raptor fans are always quick to highlight them, but right now, his D is terrible.
There were two plays today that made me really happy and it actually neither of them ended well for the Raptors. Both plays were by Bargs. In the first, he put the ball on the floor and got around KG, but when he tried to throw it down, Perkins stuffed it right back down his throat. I love the fact that with those two guys in front of him, Andrea didn’t hesitate to attack. He’s not as strong as either of those guys, but he tried to use some athleticism to get to the rim and at least draw the foul (there was some contact, but I think the refs got it right by calling a straight up block). The next time Andrea got the ball, he once again put it on the floor as on a switch, he had Rondo on him. He started to drive, but when Rondo planted his feet, Andrea stopped and popped a nice J that just fell short. What I liked about that play is that he recognized the opportunity and actually had Rondo backing up on him, but he also recognized when the lane was closing, support was coming in behind Rondo and he could use his height advantage to take the jumper. That’s significant progress from before, when if he actually put the ball on the floor, he would just charge right ahead and pick up the offensive foul.
So, after the past two games, one could say that the Raptors are stumbling. Actually, one could say that even before the past two games, but I think we have seen a lot of things exposed lately. You only have to wonder how long things go before some sort of change is made. I don’t know if the Raptors go into the New Year looking exactly as they do right now.