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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Daily Raptor Dish - 20.03.10
Raps a dispassionate lot
It’s one thing to lose a game when an opponent is superior, super athletic and presents matchups that are so one-sided that they can’t be masked.
It’s one thing to lose a game when a team plays hard and with passion and competes.
It’s quite another when a team’s will gets completely taken away, its collective psyche crushed and is rendered soulless.
That’s what happened to the Raptors Friday night when Thunder descended on the Air Canada Centre and where lightning struck as often as the boos rained down from the stands.
Oklahoma City is good, featuring greatness in Kevin Durant and a potential that has no boundary, save for the restrictions that accompany a cap system and the inevitable clash of ego.
What the Thunder did was run the Raptors completely off their home court, creating an atmosphere that had the home crowd turn on its team.
If ever a blueprint was drawn up on how to play on the road, it was manufactured by the Thunder, who revelled in the setting.
It was clinical as it was decisive and devastating.
It was simply awe-inspiring.
The Thunder didn’t even shoot the ball well in the opening half, a 24-minute sequence that produced 71 points.
Thunder was matched only by blunder as the Raptors turned the ball over often, were vulnerable to second-chance points because of their unwillingness to box out and were completely guilty of not communicating on defence.
“We pretty much got kicked in the ass,’’ Chris Bosh said in the aftermath of an ugly 115-89 loss. “We didn’t respond. We didn’t impose our will. There was no resistance.”
Raptors booed during crushing 115-89 defeat
“Everyone was healthy, (Chris Bosh) was playing very good,” Triano said.
“Then, after the all-star break, first game he gets hurt. Other guys try to do more than they’re capable, Calderon misses a few games, Turkoglu is not 100%.”
But Bosh, Calderon and Turkoglu are back. Yet, after the first quarter the heroes were down 39-25 and, as DeMar DeRozan had his bucket waved off at the buzzer he rolled his eyes skyward. Perhaps a hint that what has dropped Toronto into the proverbial outhouse is more than injuries.
“The athleticism is probably as high as the average NBA team,” Triano said of the Raptors’ skill level. “As far as ability to shoot the basketball and take care of the basketball, I would say slightly above average. As far as individual one- on-one play, slightly below.”
So, if they are equally talented and the injuries are healing, it comes down to who wants to win most. They have just 15 games to prove they have less heart than the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. You don’t prove that by getting booed off the court at half time.
You want intensity? Flip channels and watch the NCAA tournament.
Not the same, Turkoglu says: “Those guys wait a week for one game. Of course they’ve got more energy, passion. We play tonight, fly out, then play tomorrow so it’s difficult to get that high every game.”
Maybe. But explain that to someone who dished out $2,000 for a courtside seat.
“In the NBA,” said Triano, “the measurement of heart and passion is more predicated on professionalism and being able to do it 82 times. College kids do it 30 times and play the way they are in the tournament because if they lose they’re done. You’ll see that passion in the NBA when you’re in the playoffs.”
That is, assuming you get there. In the Raptors’ case that assumption is starting to require one huge leap of faith
Raptors Blog by Doug Smith
“We don’t have any resistance,” Chris Bosh said after Toronto lost for the ninth time in its last 11 games. “We let guys walk down into the post, we let guys go by us with no resistance.
“There’s no resistance. It’s just too easy.”
And too troubling if you’re a Raptors fan because they have been down this road so many times before.
The Thunder, an extremely good, athletic, young team, did to Toronto what so many others have – they turned 20 offensive rebounds in 27 second chance points; turned 19 Toronto turnovers into 24 points and won a laugher.
“They pretty much just kicked our ass, there’s really no nice way of putting it,” said Bosh, who had 22 points and 10 rebounds. “They came and they did what they do and we didn’t respond, we didn’t impose our will. We didn’t resist them at all.”
There are all kinds of technical reasons when the Thunder were able to operate with such ease at both ends of the floor.
Instead of boxing out after missed field goals by putting a body on someone, the Raptors tried to be as quick and as strong as the Thunder is and they don’t have the quickness and length to do it.
“You have to be physical against a team like this,” said coach Jay Triano. “I think we get to the point where the ball goes up and we think we can go get it and with this team, they’re more athletic than us and they’re quicker to the ball and if you don’t get a piece of a body … they’re going to win those battles half the time and that’s exactly what happened in that first half.”
But it’s also simple effort and that the Raptors didn’t have enough is troubling.
Thunder roll over Raptors
The anthem story.
Don’t know if how many of you heard them but little 9-year-old Morgan Hilliker, a good Niagara Falls lass by the way, did a bang up job.
So much so that I saw Jarrett Jack singing along to O Canada.
But, quite aside from that, young Morgan’s got quite the connection with the Raptors.
Not only does she hail from Jay’s hometown but she’s a grand-daughter of a former teaching colleague of Jay’s dad, Howie, who is fighting a good fight against the ravages of a stroke.
And while she sung for all of you last night, I understand she’s also done some private crooning to help Jay’s dad relax and for that she and her family need to be commended.
So there was one nice story out of that game.
Raptors coming undone
Kevin Durant led the way with 31 points for Oklahoma City (42-25), which has won six of its last seven games, on top of sweeping the season series with Toronto.
Fans at the Air Canada Centre stood and booed as the clock expired in the fourth quarter.
Toronto players and coaches slinked from the court at halftime under a hail of jeers from what had become an increasingly agitated home crowd. Not only were the Raptors behind by more than 25 points, they were also being out-rebounded, out-worked and out-played in every meaningful facet of the game.
Oklahoma City seemed to hit at the heart of Toronto's greatest weaknesses. The Thunder held a 14-point lead after the first quarter thanks in no small part to a dozen points gained from 13 free-throw attempts.
Raptors guard Jose Calderon committed a trio of turnovers in the first quarter. Maligned forward Hedo Turkoglu missed his first two field goal attempts and was recalled to the bench for a long stretch of the second quarter.
Toronto fans erupted in revolt at the end of the half, after Thunder centre Nenad Krstic capped a fast break with an easy dunk. It gave the visitors a 71-44 lead, led by 23 points from Durant, who had not exactly been allowed to slip into the city unnoticed before the game.
Raptors suffer humiliating loss to Thunder
Toronto begins to look like an NBA first round sweep waiting to happen after 26 point spanking by Oklahoma City
It really matters naught whether Andrea Bargnani or Hedo Turkoglu “face the music” with the local media because they don't have any answers, anyhow. That's apparent to anybody who has seen them stare into a camera.
I mean, there just isn't a great deal happening there, you know? Sometimes you can't make up the stuff – like walking into the Toronto Raptors' locker room last night after an embarrassing, 115-89 face-washing administered by the Oklahoma City Thunder and hearing Turkoglu riding the clubhouse guy because “I can't find my underwear.”
Here's a hint, Hedo: Kevin Durant probably has it, because he took everything else from you and your teammates in front of a braying announced crowd at the Air Canada Centre. He took much, much more than 31 points and six rebounds.
Thunder rolls in Canada
And just like that, back to the farce. The Toronto Raptors had halted their season-closing skid with an admirable win against Atlanta on Wednesday, accomplished with defence and rebounding and resilience. Emboldened, some Raptors claimed they had changed their mentality, and even wondered aloud if it was a turning point.
Well, it wasn't. Last night the Raptors were simply humiliated - again - by an Oklahoma City team that all but toyed with its prey. Toronto allowed 39 points in the first quarter, 71 in the first half, and sank without a trace, 115-89. The crowd wasn't happy, but at least the team gave out complimentary boos with every ticket.
"They pretty much just kicked our ass today," said Chris Bosh, bristling with frustration but seemingly sapped of fury, after delivering a lonely 22 points and 10 rebounds. "There's really no nice way to put it ... we didn't resist them. At all."
That was our best game of the year,” assured Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
The 26-point margin of victory trails only the Thunder’s 28-point home blowout of Orlando six games into the season. But much more significant than the final score was the way the Thunder handled business after blowing its big lead against the Bobcats and coming to Canada on the heels of a 100-92 loss that ended its five-game winning streak.
Oklahoma City never trailed after taking a 19-17 lead with 4:46 remaining in the first period. The Thunder ended the quarter on 24-8 surge that turned it into a blowout early.
By halftime, the Thunder had built a 71-44 lead, effectively slamming the door shut on any hope the Raptors or their fans had at a comeback. And by the time Eric Maynor dribbled out the clock from high above the left wing, the boo birds in Toronto made their voices heard for the seventh time on the night.
Well, to be fair, one chorus of boos was directed at the officials, not the home team.
Sunshine Girl – 20.03.10
RF Girl of the Day – Gemma Atkinson
SUNshine Girl Carmen is 22 years old and works as a bartender while she studies hotel and restaurant management. Our girl hopes one day to run her own restaurant. She spent the winter learning how to snowboard. In her free time, she likes to hang out with friends or take a nap.