And a new streak begins. Just to balance things out, how fitting would it be to see the Raptors finish the season on a 7-game losing streak? Trust me, I certainly don’t want to see it, but I think we would be fooling ourselves if we thought that it wasn’t a possibility.
A lot of the same problems that have been around all season made their appearances tonight. The Raptors were not able to box guys out, allowing some easy rebounds and there were too many good looks from beyond the arc. It doesn’t matter what kind of 3-point shooting team you are facing, if they get repeated wide open looks, then they are going to eventually start knocking them down.
The problem for the Raptors tonight was that a lot of those missed rebounds directly led to 3-point opportunities, as in their scurrying, the Raptors were not able to find the wide open man to at least get a hand in his face. One problem just led to another.
Now that Josh Smith is more of a team player, he is really showing how much he can benefit a team. With tonight’s performance, it was like there was a more grown up Josh Smith out there, a guy who had a good idea of what his role is on the team and what he has to do to make a difference every night. Josh was rebounding, scoring, even trying (and yes, let’s not call it more than that) to set some screens. As much as people tend to get on him about things, I think that over his career, we have seen a steady progression as far as becoming a mature athlete goes. His game is developing as his mindset does.
It was good to see that Jay went to his bench early for some extended minutes and they actually rewarded him with some pretty solid play. Those are the kinds of things that the Raptors brass will need to be checking out if they are going to make some serious decisions about next year.