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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 19.11.09
Raptors running on empty
”I probably played our starters a lot more early in the game to get back into the game,'' head coach Jay Triano said. "Late in the game, we had nothing left. We had seven wide-open shots in the fourth quarter and we didn't make one of them."
In fact, the Raptors went 6:30 minutes in the final period without scoring, which points to the fatigue factor of playing the back end of a back-to-back and three games in four nights.
The Raps went 1-3 on their trip and return home to play three in a row at the Air Canada Centre, where they're 3-1.
Utah, which was wel l rested, scored the game's first eight points and jumped out to a 33-17 lead after the first period.
Take nothing away from the Jazz, but some of their baskets bordered on the miraculous, whether it was off-balanced, late in the shot clock or off glass.
"Our energy wasn't very high at the beginning," Triano acknowledged. "And every time they missed, they got the offensive rebound. No excuse for the slow start."
Terrible start stymies Raptors rally
Antoine Wright is playing through a sore ankle, a wonky knee and a tender elbow.
But it's the team's Achilles heel that is most bothersome.
Defending the perimeter and getting the ball out of the hands of a star player are no easy tasks. The Raptors, at least in the past few seasons, have been soft, susceptible and easily exploited.
Wright was acquired to provide some toughness and to help defend the perimeter.
What Wright has noticed in his brief stay as a Raptor is that something definitely is wrong.
Manu Ginobili torched the Raptors during a recent trip.
Two nights ago, Carmelo Anthony toyed with the Raptors.
The rule of thumb in the NBA is to contain an all-star because he simply can't be stopped when he's playing at a high level.
In the wake of Toronto's 130-112 loss in Denver on Tuesday night, Wright is concerned at how the Raptors are scheming to stop the opposition.
"We got to get better schemes,'' Wright said. "We got to buy into the schemes.
"We got to figure out a way to not let a guy beat us just by isolating him and getting other people shots. If that's the case, we're going to struggle with all the teams that have all-stars."
Wright wasn't around for last year's disappointing season, in which the Raptors missed the playoffs. Virtually every team with a perimeter presence, and in today's NBA there are plenty, feasted on Toronto's porous defence.
Now, about that house
When the Raptors needed their legs and their energy the most, they were gone; lost trying to overcome another dreadful start that put them in another hole too deep to climb out of.
They had somehow managed to turn a rout into a nailbiter, carving an 18-point deficit to one early in the fourth quarter when just one shot or two may have turned the game completely.
But that's when the tank hit empty, the shots went awry and the problems caused by a terrible start ended in a 104-91 loss to the Utah Jazz on
Raptors' tailspin continues
The theory sounds great: Protect the paint, shrink the court, make teams beat you with contested jump shots.
In reality: It’s the one glaring and consistent weakness of this team right now.
One play comes quickly to mind from last night.
Think it was in the second quarter – or maybe the first – but a Jazz shot goes up and Andrei Kirilenko goes from the left elbow to the right side of the rim to tip in the miss.
Not a single, solitary Raptor even shot him a passing glance, let alone put a body on him and it’s a perfect example of them not protecting the paint.
Now, it was one play that stood out but the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming that they have to work harder at doing what the coaches want them to do.
Jazz hand Raptors another loss
Rookie Eric Maynor is getting some playing time for the short-handed Utah Jazz because of injuries.
The way he’s playing, Maynor can expect to still be on the court even when the rest of the Jazz get healthy.
Maynor scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and helped the Utah Jazz stop a late surge by the Toronto Raptors and hold for a 104-91 victory Wednesday night.
Maynor and Deron Williams ran Utah’s backcourt for the fourth quarter and the combination of point guards was too much for the Raptors to overcome.
“He continues to impress me,” said Williams, who finished with 20 points and nine assists. “He’s playing great. He’s composed, he’s making plays. He takes a lot of pressure off a lot of people.”
Maynor had started the last two games as Williams left the team last week during a road trip to be with his young daughter as she went through medical tests for an undisclosed condition.
The Jazz were 1-1 under Maynor. He teamed with Williams for the fourth quarter after Toronto cut an 18-point lead to three.
The Raptors got within one point early in the fourth before the Jazz blew it open with their 17-2 run.
“You want to win at all times, but you also want to be a part of what’s going on out there,” said Maynor, who is averaging 17 points and seven assists in his last three games. “For me to get out there and get the minutes and be a part of what’s going on, I think it’s great.”
Utah Jazz start and finish strong
The Raptors cut Utah's lead to nine at halftime, then Toronto took advantage of Utah's poor shooting as the Jazz went 4 for 14 in the third period.
Amir Johnson started a late rally with a block on Maynor to start a break for the Raptors, which Bosh finished with a two-handed dunk off a no-look pass from Belinelli to cut Utah's lead to 76-72. Maynor scored on a layup for the Jazz, but the Raptors pushed for the final shot of the period and Belinelli hit a 3-pointer that made it 78-75 Utah entering the fourth quarter.
Belinelli added a layup to start the fourth and get the Raptors to 78-77, then the Jazz took over the game with a 17-2 run.
Maynor went 1 for 2 from the line, then Kirilenko and Boozer each added layups to give the Jazz more of a cushion at 83-77.
Kirilenko and Millsap battled each other for a defensive rebound that ended up going out of bounds, but Kirilenko made up for it after the inbounds when he ripped the ball out of Turkoglu's hands as he tried to drive the lane. Kirilenko's steal started a fast break which Maynor finished with a layup to put Utah up 89-79.
Maynor had eight points during a 12-0 run as the Jazz held the Raptors scoreless from Turkoglu's foul shots with 9:20 left until Jose Calderon hit a 3-pointer to cut Utah's lead to 95-82 with four minutes left.
But the shorthanded Jazz — playing without ill center Mehmet Okur, and with just nine healthy players for a third straight game — survived behind Carlos Boozer's eighth double-double of the season, 20 points apiece from Williams and Andrei Kirilenko and another 15 from rookie point Maynor.
"The bottom line is we got stops in the fourth quarter," said Boozer, who finished with a team-high 22 points and season-high 18 rebounds.
"You know, that's the NBA, man: a game of runs," Maynor added. "Like Coach Sloan told us, they were gonna make a run. But it's our home; we've got to withstand that run. And then we came back at 'em."
The 5-6 Jazz buried the Raptors with a 17-2 run following Belinelli's bucket, a stretch that included Hedo Turkoglu's turnover trying to drive on Paul Millsap and Kirilenko's tie-up of center Andrea Bargnani.
"That's what it's gonna take to win," said Maynor, who played all 12 fourth-quarter minutes at the point with Williams next to him at shooting guard.
"If we keep defending like that, offense is gonna take care of itself," he said. "You defend so good, and then you get out in transition and you get easy points — and I think that's what we did."
Sunshine Girl - 19.11.09