Originally Posted by Jay
Yes, broken dreams. Because for the Raptors to think that they were going to walk into the Palace of Auburn Hills and come out with a win against the Pistons after the Pistons lost to the Knicks the other night…well, that was just a dream.
The Raptors actually had a few chances to keep this close and have a shot down the stretch, but the Pistons did what good teams do, capitalizing on each Raptor turnover, turning them into points the other way. 14 turnovers for the Raptors and on almost every one, there was an open Piston heading down the court with nobody on him. Breakaway points.
The Raptors also had a lot of problems getting out on the perimeter, where the Pistons had good looks all night, resulting in 61.5% shooting from 3-point range. They were unable to break through screens, which left them two steps behind each shot, not being able to get a hand in the face of any Piston shooters. The Raptors looked tired all night, unable to keep up with the Pistons, especially Rip, who was able to run around the court, fighting for his opportunities. As I mentioned before, the only person who works as hard as Rip Hamilton does at getting open is Allen Iverson and the amazing thing is that they both still have the energy to get good shots and score. He could be the fittest athlete in the NBA and it shows night in and night out.
It was another terrible night for Bargnani, with no points, 0 for everything, with no trips to the line. The amazing thing is that he was able to pick up five rebounds and he actually started the game with a couple of nice feeds to Bosh, resulting in quick points via good looks. He started the game looking like he was going to be a contributing factor. Well, he contributed all right, for the wrong team. Off the start, after receiving a pass, he spotted up for a three, faked it, brought it down and dribbled in two steps, where he had a jumper clang out. I actually love this move, but for Bargnani to be more successful, he has to take a few more steps in and then let the shot go. There’s no difference between taking that 3 off the start or taking a step in for a 2. Take that 3 right off the start or take a few more steps in so that you’re essentially shooting a free throw. His D even started okay, but that quickly went downhill and Sam was forced to put him back on the bench.
Speaking of Sam, he gained a little bit of respect from me tonight when he went off regarding that absolute bogus phantom call when Maxiell missed what he wanted to be a monster dunk. There was no way that was a foul, nobody touched him and the call was embarrassingly late. Those are the kind of calls that the Raptors don’t get, because, well, in my opinion because they are the Raptors. They aren’t an elite team and they don’t get respect from any refs around the league (look at the abuse Bosh takes…although he is starting to get more calls as he goes to the net more frequently). I have no problem with Sam getting T’d up in that situation and for me, I think he should have kept going until he was thrown out. Great work on the mic as you could hear him trying to get the ref to admit that he blew the call (he got the T when he dropped a couple of F-bombs) and great camera work during the timeout showing the stare-down he was engaged in. I’m not really sure what the point of the stare down was (you might as well say something to get yourself thrown out and make sure you get your money’s worth on the way out the door), but at least Sam was standing up for the Raptors.
You really had to like what you saw from Delfino tonight. He created looks for himself, played pretty good D and brought some energy to the Raptors whenever they needed to get the game back into striking distance. I’ll say it again, I think the Raptors should give him some minutes at PG, because what we saw from D-Mart (how the hell did he miss that layup?) and Juan “Instant Offense Forced Shot” Dixon wasn’t pretty. If people complain about TJ forcing shots, take a look at what Juan Dixon is doing right now when he brings the ball up the court and then come and talk to me. You can understand where Juan is coming from, especially when Sam encourages him to shoot, but his shots are getting a little ridiculous. Guys aren’t even getting into position anymore because they know what is coming.
Anyway, not a great game, but it wasn’t like you couldn’t see this one coming. Tough night at the Palace.