Daily Raptor Dish - 17.01.2012
Old 01-17-2012, 11:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Daily Raptor Dish - 17.01.2012

Raptors' struggles continue against Hawks

Head coach Dwane Casey even said post-game that he feels like a broken record.

"I thought our guys competed and played hard. We are missing a few of our key players, but our other guys came in and did a good job," he said, sounding an awful lot like he did on Saturday night.

Ed Davis said he didn't have a problem playing centre, even though in a perfect world, he and Casey would like to see him playing power forward.

"It's cool, I played a lot of five (centre) last year. I know I can play the five so I'm ready for it," Davis said. " I'm naturally a four, but whatever I have to do to help the team win and stay on the floor (I'll) do it. If they need me to play the one (point guard), I'm ready to play," he joked. Davis, like all of the Raptors, struggled to contain Smith early, but actually played a solid game. Davis had ll points, four emphatic blocks and three steals to go with his seven points. The Raptors tried to establish Davis early and Casey said they are trying to bring along his offensive game. The Toronto staff was constantly teaching Davis during timeouts and TV breaks throughout the afternoon.

DeRozan's demeanour and decision-making on the court can at times be quite puzzling. Early on, he lacked aggression and seemed to disappear after not getting a couple of foul calls. Casey said DeRozan needs to "fight through" the no-calls, continue to attack and not look for bailouts from the referees.

While not directly addressing his early struggles, DeRozan said he and his teammates' problems of late are based not on what opponents are doing, but what they themselves are not.

"We break down, commit turnovers and miss easy shots. Nobody forces us into anything," DeRozan said.

"It's all on us. We just have to be able to execute better. We end up taking difficult shots late in the shot clock and that's one thing that kills us too. We have to do a better job taking care of the ball in the fourth quarter."

Toronto Raptors lose fifth straight to Atlanta Hawks

AndreaThere were two plays in the Raptors’ 93-84 loss to the Atlanta Hawks here Monday that DeMar DeRozan will watch and he will wince when he sees them and he will hear his coach in his ear saying, “Yeah, that’s what I mean.”

They were, in the school vernacular of the day, “learning opportunities” and the Raptors can only hope the young shooting guard emerges better off from the roughest patch of his NBA career.

The first came as DeRozan found himself with the ball and almost a clear path to the basket in transition. But instead of going hard to the rim, knowing that a pursuing Hawk was likely to catch him and hit him, DeRozan made a passive move, had the ball stripped, saw it bounce off his foot out of bounds and an easy basket was lost.

The second came late in the game, with the Raptors desperately trying to pull off a miracle. With the ball at the top of three-point circle, the athletically gifted young man launched arguably the worst three-pointer of his life. It missed the rim and almost the backboard, finishing low and left — definitely not one for the highlight reels.

Those are moments that can’t happen if DeRozan is to realize his potential and if the Raptors are going to snap out of the five-game losing streak they find themselves in heading to Boston for a Wednesday finale to this three-game road trip.

“I knew going into this year with him being one of our top players that teams were going to hone in and lock in and it wasn’t going to be easy,” coach Dwane Casey said after DeRozan went 5-for-17 from the field and finished with just 10 points. “He’s got to make more of an (effort) to get open. Don’t give in to a guy (getting) into him. Leandro (Barbosa), they do him the same way but he works until he gets open and that’s something DeMar is going to have to learn to do, and he will.”

The first pressing

We know that Dwane likes to show all kinds of different defensive looks, man-to-man, a couple of different zone defences and he always seems to be changing things a little bit.

Last night we saw a full court trap on a couple of occasions and, in the second quarter at least, it was pretty effective.

What it does is speed up the game a bit, kind of junk it up to disrupt the other team’s flow and the one thing the Raptors did well – and the most important – was get back quickly into their zone to make sure once the trap wasn’t successful that they didn’t give up an easy basket.

The trap, and the zone, got the game at a much quicker pace and was part of the reason Toronto got back in it after getting behind big, early.

Raptors fall to Hawks for fifth consecutive loss

The Raptors twice cut the lead to one late in the third quarter when Barbosa hit a pair of free throws and a runner, but Atlanta went on an 18-9 run that Jeff Teague ended with a free throw to make it 81-71 with 7:55 remaining.

Toronto never got closer than five after Ed Davis scored inside over Smith to make it 85-80 with 2:12 left.

Smith responded on the next possession by jumping from the right baseline and tipping in Johnson's missed runner to give the Hawks an 87-80 lead.

Atlanta improved to 10-4 overall, 6-1 at home.

Jose Calderon had 13 points and 11 assists and Amir Johnson added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who have lost seven of eight overall and dropped to 2-6 on the road.

Teague gave Atlanta its biggest lead at 13 when his short, floating jumper made it 43-30 at the 3:55 mark of the second.

The Hawks never trailed after Smith's layup made it 13-11 at the 6:35 mark of the first.

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