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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Daily Raptor Dish - 08.12.10
Raptors in for an earful
Feschuk: You mean to tell me these guys are pros?
“Part of the development of this team is we have to adapt to different styles of play,” he said. “Oklahoma City was crush it in, keep everybody in, make sure (Russell) Westbrook saw bodies. These last two teams, it was get out at the three-point line and we are not doing it.”
You can almost see how something like this could happen. All season the Raptors have been drilled on the need to improve their help defence. It was deplorable last year. And against the Thunder in an upset, they did that extremely well. Westbrook would get by the first line of defence only to see the bigs sliding over and putting up a second wall.
Unfortunately the next team on the schedule, the next three in fact including Wednesday’s second game with the Knicks in four nights, required and requires a different tact, one that insists on defenders sticking with their guys and resisting the urge to leave and help a teammate on another guy.
Leave your man to help on another and as the Pacers proved, you open yourself up to a barrage of open three pointers. It was a death warrant against the Pacers on Monday night and will be again against the Knicks if the Raptors don’t start listening.
The problem for the Raptors is it’s a 180 degrees away from what they did so successfully on Friday night. It’s human nature to stick with what worked, but not if you realize the circumstances have changed.
Apparently, the Raptors did not or were just too stubborn to admit change was necessary.
Triano and his coaching staff certainly realized it. The players admitted as much after the game.
“They’re putting it point blank on the board and we’re just not executing it right now,” newcomer Jerryd Bayless said. “It’s something we have to get better at. We can’t use the excuse that we’re young, we just have to figure it out.”
Triano was asked after the game if he was considering re-thinking his plan for an off-day on Tuesday, after playing back-to-backs and scheduling a practice?
“I’m not sure if we have a facility right now,” Triano said.
Outside of maybe Los Angeles finding a practice facility on short notice on the road in New York — maybe the toughest in the league — it was no surprise the team did wind up getting the day off.
But rest assured, the Raptors will be hearing a familiar lesson one more time before they tip-off against the Knicks.
Maybe this time, they will actually learn it.
Raptors seek revenge on Stoudemire, Knicks
If Toronto’s all-round defence is among the worst in pro ball, its defence on the perimeter has been, in the past two games, downright sub-professional.
“We watch the other team play, and we don’t do anything,” was how Andrea Bargnani, the Raptors big man, summed up the recent work.
Never have the Roman’s powers of articulation so brilliantly illuminated a reality. And rarely, at least this season, have the Raptors had such an immediate opportunity at redemption. After Tuesday’s undeserved day off here, the Raptors will gather at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday morning to begin pondering how to stop the Knicks on Wednesday night.
If you were wondering, say, what happened to the Toronto squad that beat Oklahoma City on Friday, note that the defensive thrust against the Thunder was largely the opposite of what it should be against the Knicks and Pacers. Speedy Oklahoma point guard Russell Westbrook demands opponents clog the paint. So against the Thunder, Toronto’s perimeter players were encouraged to help on the interior, even if it was at the expense of giving up jump shots.
But helping on the interior against the Knicks and Pacers is bad strategy, since neither has a penetrator as menacing as Westbrook and both are stocked with capable gunners.
“Part of the development of this team is going to be to have to adapt to different styles of play,” Jay Triano, the Toronto coach, said. “These last two teams, we’ve got to get out on the three-point line, and we’re not doing it.”
'Raptors Game Day
The Raptors (8-13) are coming off their worst loss of the season, falling to Indiana 124-100 on Monday night.
After allowing 60 points over the first 24 minutes in their loss to the Knicks on Sunday, Toronto surrendered a season-high 68 in the first half versus the Pacers.
"We have to come with more energy," said Andrea Bargnani, held to 12 points. "We have to come more prepared, especially in the first and second quarters."
Bargnani was averaging 21.9 points through his first 15 games but has been limited to 16.2 over his last six. He's 1 for 18 from 3-point range in that span as Toronto has gone 2-4.
The seven-footer was held to two points on 1-of-9 shooting in his last visit to Madison Square Garden, but Toronto won 106-104 on Jan. 28 for its third straight road victory over the Knicks.
New York vs. Toronto
Toronto Raptors at New York Knicks 7:30 p.m., Madison Square Garden TV: Sportsnet One Radio: Fan 590
Who's hot? In the eight games since Jarrett Jack was traded, Jose Calderon is shooting 56% from the field. In the year's first 13 games, he shot just 39%.
Who's not? The Raptors want to move the ball; Linas Kleiza has three assists in his last 13 games. He might not fit in.
Who's hot? Shawne Williams has taken 12 three-pointers over his last three games. He has hit 10.
Who's not? Danilo Gallinari is shooting 40% from the field and 37% from three-point range. Both are career worsts.
TIME: 07:30 P.M. EST
VENUE: Madison Square Garden
With Amare Stoudemire playing his best basketball of the season, the New York Knicks continue to cruise.
Looking to become the second player in team history with six straight 30-point games, Stoudemire can help the Knicks record their longest winning streak in nearly five years as they host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
New York has won 10 of 11, currently riding its second five-game win streak in three weeks. The Knicks (13-9) last won six consecutive games between Jan. 2-13, 2006.
After scoring 31 points during Sunday's 116-99 victory over Toronto, Stoudemire had 34 on 15-of-23 shooting in Monday night's 121-114 win over Minnesota.
"I don't know if you can play any better than he has the last couple of weeks," said coach Mike D'Antoni, who also coached Stoudemire in Phoenix.
"His power, strength, now his outside shooting, his choices that he's making, just seems like it's easy."
Stoudemire is averaging 34.2 points and 11.0 rebounds over New York's five-game run, becoming the first Knick to record five consecutive 30-point performances since Stephon Marbury from Feb. 4-11, 2005. The only Knicks player to record a longer such streak was Willie Naulls' franchise-record run of seven straight from Feb. 22-March 4, 1962.
"This was the plan," Stoudemire said. "The plan was to have success."
Raymond Felton, whose signing with New York in the offseason was overshadowed by Stoudemire's five-year contract worth nearly $100 million, connected on 5 of 8 from 3-point range en route to 18 points versus the Timberwolves. He also had 11 assists to post his fourth double-double in five games and ninth of the season.
The fifth overall pick from the 2005 draft is averaging 20.9 points, 9.7 assists and 2.8 steals in his last 10 contests.