Chris Bosh dropped in a career-high 44 points but he got precious little help as the Toronto Raptors dropped a 113 to 107 decision to the Milwaukee Bucks. Franchise breaks down one frustrating loss for the Dinos...
"It's a little frustrating," "You try as hard as you can, but you still come up short. It seems to be happening a lot this year, but I don't know what else to do. I'm just going to keep playing."
Those words were spoken post-game by none other than the Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh, ye of franchise player ilk who had just finished dropping a career-high 44 points on the Milwaukee Bucks along with 12 rebounds and 4 assists.
If you're a Raptors fan, they aren't exactly the type of words you want to hear from a player many are speculating will seek greener pastures this summer, south of the border.
Unfortunately with each loss like last night's to Milwaukee, it's getting harder and harder to blame CB4 for making statements like this.
The simple fact is that in yesterday evening's 113 to 107 loss, none of Toronto's big names showed up besides Mr. Bosh.
Not Andrea Bargnani, whose 10th point came on a meaningless 3-pointer with the game already out of reach.
Not Hedo Turkoglu, who despite hitting some key shots in the 4th quarter was again, an ugly 5 of 14 from the field.
Not Jarrett Jack, who had a measly 6 points.
And while he's not exactly a "big name," Toronto's other starter, DeMar DeRozan, had but 2 points himself.
No surprise then that despite solid contributions from Amir Johnson, Jose Calderon and even Antoine Wright, Bosh's 44 and 12 wasn't enough to get the W. The Raptors kept things close in the second half, after leading for a good chunk of the first, but they couldn't get stops when needed, or get enough offence from their vaunted gunslingers.
To make matters worse, this loss wasn't simply on the players not performing. Jay Triano also has a lot of explaining to do for inexplicably going back to Andrea Bargnani late in the game despite his shooting woes on the night, sacrificing the rebounding and hustle that Amir Johnson was providing.
The result was immediately apparent:
|Andrea Bargnani enters the game for Amir Johnson||101-103|
|2:33||101-103||Ersan Ilyasova enters the game for Francisco Elson|
|2:33||Chris Bosh makes free throw 1 of 1||102-103|
|2:17||102-103||Carlos Delfino misses layup|
|2:16||102-103||Ersan Ilyasova offensive rebound|
|2:15||102-103||Ersan Ilyasova misses layup|
|2:15||102-105||Luc Richard Mbah a Moute makes tip shot|
|2:15||102-105||Luc Richard Mbah a Moute offensive rebound|
|2:02||Luc Richard Mbah a Moute blocks Hedo Turkoglu's layup||102-105|
|2:02||Toronto defensive rebound||102-105|
|1:50||102-105||Ersan Ilyasova misses 16-foot jumper|
|1:49||Hedo Turkoglu defensive rebound||102-105|
|1:40||Antoine Wright misses 24-foot three point jumper||102-105|
|1:39||102-105||Brandon Jennings defensive rebound|
|1:28||102-105||Brandon Jennings misses layup|
|1:28||102-107||Ersan Ilyasova makes tip shot|
|1:28||102-107||Ersan Ilyasova offensive rebound|
|1:28||Hedo Turkoglu shooting foul (Ersan Ilyasova draws the foul)||102-107|
|1:28||102-108||Ersan Ilyasova makes free throw 1 of 1|
|1:28||Toronto 20 Sec. timeout|
And that was all she wrote.
The 7-0 run that Milwaukee immediately went on when Andrea entered was made even more egregious by the fact that as you can see above, not one play was run for Chris Bosh during that entire time.
Not that he was having a career night or anything.
And Andrew Bogut, who man-handled the Raps down low all night, had just picked up his sixth foul, leaving the likes of Francisco Elson and Ersan Ilyasova to contain CB4 for the remaining four minutes. I'm not saying that Toronto was definitely on the way to a W, but with Bogut out, Hedo hitting some shots, and Bosh having the night he was having, things were at the very least setting up for a very close finish.
Only Andrea promptly allows two offensive rebounds and the Bucks were off and running, never to look back.
As a viewer, it was incredibly infuriating to watch.
Toronto had used Amir Johnson's energy, along with Bosh's scoring, to get within 2 points. The team simply didn't need Andrea, especially because Hedo Turkoglu finally worked off the pizza he had been scarfing pre-game, and dropped in some clutch baskets. All Triano's substitution did was weaken the Dinos on D, and throw off the rhythm on O. The ball should have been dropped into Bosh's lap every time down the court and so to witness the likes of Antoine Wright shooting 24 footers down the strech instead was just nauseating.
Therefore, instead of a hard-fought, grind-it-out-win, which this one promised to be from the tip, the Raps now find themselves in 7th in the East, a game under .500, and suddenly searching for some answers. The whole "winning 10 of their last 13" thing was nice, the reality is the team has suddenly lost four of its last six.
More importantly, if you're a fan of Toronto keeping Chris Bosh this summer, this is yet another loss that doesn't bode well for your dream scenario. Matt Devlin can laud Andrea Bargnani all he wants but I'm sorry, the consistency still isn't there. He's probably never going to be a dominant rebounder or major defensive presence so he has to be an overwhelming factor on offense, especially on nights where Bosh badly needs help. Until Bargs performs consistently at a high level even just on offense, then it's hard to say the grass isn't necessarily greener on the Miami or Chicago side.
This goes double of course for Hedo Turkoglu.
Prior to the start of the season I commented that really, Toronto should have just kept Carlos Delfino, someone I referred to as Turk 1.0 yet at a fraction of the price.
Last night only echoed my point as Delfino dropped in 22 points to go with 8 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.
Aren't these the numbers that fans expected from Turk when he was acquired?
Sure, that's not a regular night for Delfino, but comparing his season averages and PER with that of Turkoglu, unfortunately there just isn't a huge difference; not big enough to justify their salary differential in any event. Hedo's shooting 34 per cent in January so far, and if you take out his 6 of 12 performance against the Magic it gets REALLY ugly.
So there you have it.
Last night was another high for Bosh, but another low for a team that's talking about being a solid 5th or 6th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. As losses like this keep piling up, it certainly is going to make the trade deadline very interesting. Bryan Colangelo is going to have to decide if he's willing to check his ego, admit that Hedo ain't working, that Andrea still isn't there yet, and try to get CB4 some more help.
Because as we saw tonight, Bosh, a player who until this season I never felt was quite deserving of a max contract., is giving 110 per cent. This season he's left little doubt as to his value to this team, and last night was yet another example as he nearly willed his club to victory with his performance alone.
However basketball is a team game, and until Bosh's teammates start consistently giving him a hand, unfortunately more losses like this are likely to follow, and who knows if one of them ends up being the final nail in the "it's time for me to play somewhere else" coffin.