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Join Date: Dec 2007
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Daily Raptor Dish - 30.01.11
Raptors dreadful in Minny
DeRozan steps into go-to-guy role for Raptors
Sometimes win-loss records paint an unfair picture of a team, but the Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves looked every bit of their combined 24-71 overall record in a dreadful contest in Minneapolis on Saturday night.
Playing a team with three fewer wins coming in (a rare thing this season and against a franchise the Raptors had bested on 12-straight occasions — and with the best chance to end a 10-game losing streak they will get in a while), the Raptors could not find their offensive game and fell 103-87.
The shooting was horrendous — “I’ve never been in a game where you miss 67 shots,” said head coach Jay Triano when it mercifully was over — and Kevin Love notched his 33rd double-double in a row as the 13-32 Raptors dropped their 11th in a row and 17th in 20 games.
The Wolves finished 10% better from the field than Toronto and hit 11 threes to Toronto’s three.
This is the worst stretch for the Raptors, since they lost 12-straight Dec. 18, 2002-Jan. 10, 2003 and even back then, losing by nearly 20 points to a team that had dropped 12-of-13 coming in wasn’t part of the equation.
Frustration is mounting, but the young Raptors appear to be battling through it.
“It’s tough, but in life you deal with adversity, you roll with it, so I’m just taking it as a learning experience,” said rookie Ed Davis, the only Raptor to play a good game — according to Andrea Bargnani — with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
It might not have been the worst game of either DeMar DeRozan or Bargnani’s career, but collectively, it certainly was. The team’s two top scorers combined for 21 points, missing 28-of-35 attempts.
“It just seems like we can’t get nothing to go our way,” DeRozan said of the Raptors, who were coming off an overtime loss to Milwaukee on Friday night.
“But you’ve got to go through the tough times to get to the good times.”
Love's game impresses Triano
A combination of excellent play and tight coverage on Andrea Bargnani appears to have moved sophomore DeMar DeRozan up in the Raptors’ pecking order.
“I think (DeRozan’s) developed extremely well, he’s really started to take off,” head coach Jay Triano responded to a query from a Minnesota reporter.
The Wolves had two high picks in the 2009 draft and showed considerable interest in DeRozan, before opting for point guards Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn.
“He’s become our go-to-guy, the guy we put a lot of faith, a lot of trust in with the basketball,” Triano continued.
“It started last year in the summer league and it’s been accelerated because of the injuries we’ve had.
“He’s getting to the hole and getting more consistent with his jump shot.”
DeRozan has averaged 22.2 points per game over his past five games and 19.9 in January.
Triano said part of DeRozan’s improvement has been all the extra work he puts in honing the basics.
“Every single day after practice, we have (him) dribble full court with the basketball and try to finish ... you forget sometimes DeMar only had one year at Southern Cal,” he said.
“We need to make sure that the fundamentals are with (the young Raptors), because a lot of the guys don’t have that base.”
Raptors have no answers in ugly loss to Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love has caught the league’s attention, including Raptors head coach Jay Triano, thanks to some incredible performances this season.
In November, Love became the first player since Moses Malone in 1982 and 19th player ever to record a 30-point, 30-rebound game (31 and 31), has also turned in a 43-and-17 gem and has run off 33 straight double-doubles. Four more and he ties ex-Wolves superstar Kevin Garnett for the all-time record.
It is not easy for a player on a squad more than 25 games under .500 to make an all-star team, but Triano believes Love is deserving and also isn’t surprised at his level of play in 2010-11.
“Not at all,” Triano said of the player he has coached as part of the American national team.
“He’s got a great heart, a great understanding of the game (and) is as hungry going after it as anybody I’ve seen in the game in quite some time.”
Love is averaging 21.6 points and 15.7 rebounds per game and nobody has put up a 20-and-15 line since Malone did it in that 1982-83 season.
The UCLA product who is one of the best outlet passers in the league, has also added a new wrinkle to his game — dead-eye outside shooting.
He is connecting on 44.7% of his long-range attempts (sixth in the NBA) and leads the league in efficiency ranking (29.5).
Triano said he would vote for Love for the all-star game if he was allowed (he’s not, Eastern coaches can vote only for players in their conference) even though the Wolves have been horrific and “there’s a difference between getting stats and helping teams win.”
Triano said coaches can — and should — weigh a team’s record heavily in determining all-stars, but sometimes, eye-popping totals just can’t be denied.
“I just think when you put up numbers like 30 rebounds in a game, you’re doing something spectacular and all-star worthy,” Triano said.
Hungry T-Wolves devour Raptors
The Raptors shot a season-worst 33.7 per cent from the field. Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan were especially ineffective, and despite not playing terribly on defence, the team never had a chance to win.
And as the Raptors dragged themselves out of the Target Center locker room, headed to Indianapolis and a Monday night date with the Pacers, the frustration and anger were palpable.
Players sat with heads down, staring at the floor, and there was practically a funeral-like feeling to the room as they wallowed once again in defeat.
“Of course, it’s a bad atmosphere, that’s obvious,” said Bargnani, who was 5-for-24 from the floor and had just 15 points. “Nobody likes to lose so many games, everybody’s upset.
“We shot the ball terrible, everybody. Ed (Davis) played a good game and at the end he was the only one that did something but the game was long gone.
“Offensively we were terrible; you can’t win like this, obviously.”
But answers? There are none.
“That’s the only way, you have to keep working. What can you do?” wondered Bargnani.
Raptors' descent continues in Minnesota
Minnesota ended a six-game losing streak, holding Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan to a combined 7 for 35. With 20-plus points in five of his previous seven games, DeRozan had his lowest output since Dec. 10, thanks much to Corey Brewer's harassment and help from the big men underneath.
“It's the NBA. Everybody gets scouted. They play you different ways, and that's what happened,” DeRozan said.
Love had 11 points in the first quarter and followed Jonny Flynn's consecutive 3-pointers with a swish from behind the arc of his own to stretch Minnesota's lead to 45-32 late in the second quarter. The Wolves wound up with their second-biggest margin of victory this season.
“Bottom line: You've got to end up making shots at some point,” Triano said. “We had nobody who could get going. Nobody who could get any rhythm at all.”
Well, maybe Ed Davis, who finished with 15 points on 7 for 10 shooting with a late flurry.
“He was the only one that did something. But the game was long gone,” Bargnani said. “Offensively, we were terrible. We can't win like this.”
Rout is a good tonic for ailing Wolves
Kevin Love had his NBA-leading 42nd double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat Toronto 103-87 on Saturday night to send the Raptors to their 11th straight loss.
The Timberwolves, last in the NBA in defence, held Toronto to 33.7% shooting — the lowest this season for both sides. This is the fifth-longest losing streak in franchise history for the Raptors.
Minnesota ended a six-game losing streak, holding Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan to a combined 7-for-35 shooting. Bargnani had 15 points and DeRozan finished with just six points while going 2 for 11. After scoring 20-plus points in five of his previous seven games, DeRozan had his lowest output since Dec. 10.
This was only win No. 11 for the Wolves, but 10 of them have come by nine points or more. This was the second-biggest.
Both teams got to town late the night before, with the Raptors coming from Canada after an overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks and the Wolves returning home after a one-game trip to Utah where they lost to the Jazz - their 19th consecutive defeat to a Northwest Division opponent.
DeRozan, ignored by Wolves, developing nicely
NBA rules required a victor Saturday night at Target Center, so the Timberwolves obliged, winning for the second time in January with a 103-87 victory over a Toronto team that now has lost its past 11 games.
The Wolves ended a six-game losing streak themselves and did so on a night when they led by as many as 28 points.
That kind of cushion -- a 10-point halftime lead, a 21-point lead after three quarters -- enabled Wolves coach Kurt Rambis to play his first five reserves as much or more than he did his starters.
One player -- and position -- Kahn bypassed in that draft: Southern California shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who arrived at Target Center on Saturday with Toronto.
Rubio remains in Spain, and his arrival someday in Minnesota -- despite Kahn's assurances -- is not nearly guaranteed. Flynn is struggling mightily through a second NBA season that started six weeks late because of July hip surgery. Meanwhile, the Wolves continue to search for a true shooting guard.
DeRozan entered Saturday averaging 23.1 points in his previous seven games, but he made only two of 11 shots and scored six points in the Wolves' 103-87 victory.
"He's really starting to take off," Toronto coach Jay Triano said before the game. "He's become our go-to guy. He's become the guy we've put a lot of faith and trust in and given the basketball. It has been accelerated by the injuries we've had. He's a guy who has had to play a lot."
The Raptors took DeRozan ninth overall in that draft after Rubio and Flynn went fifth and sixth, Golden State took Steph Curry seventh and New York took Jordan Hill eighth. Like Curry, DeRozan did not work out for the Wolves in the days leading up to the draft.
"They had interest, but I think I was sick and I couldn't make the workout," DeRozan said. "I think if I had worked out for them, there was a possibility I'd be here."