After a great fight against the Lakers the night before, the Raptors experienced a let down of epic proportions in a 97 to 84 loss. The only solace? A late 3 to keep their streak alive.
So how do you judge the Toronto Raptors road trip?
They went 0 and 4, but did show some fleeting glimpses of promise, something coach Jay Triano alluded to post-game.
The problem is, these glimpses have nor been consistent, nor have they been indicative that the team is moving in the right direction. One night the team puts on a scoring clinic, the next, like last night, they barely top 80 points. One night DeMar DeRozan looks like a block the team can build around for the future, the next, again like last night, he looks like Chris Jeffries.
Yes, consistency I would say is the overall theme for the 2010-11 Raptors so far, or rather, inconsistency. From player performance to team strengths and weaknesses, it seems that they each change day by day, game by game.
And unfortunately I expect that to continue for quite some time.
Jay Triano after the match spoke of "margin of error," and he's right. Until this team plays at a near perfect level consistently through 48 minutes, wins are going to be very hard to come by. The talent simply isn't there, not talent anyways that stands out and can take over a game at this NBA level.
Toronto has no answer for these types and while Andrea Bargnani valiantly tried to play this part yesterday evening, he came up quite short.
DeRozan (who seems to be falling in love with that spin move in the paint), Barbosa (slash Mike James), Kleiza (again far too invisible)...none could come to Toronto's rescue and really the lone stand-outs last night for me were Jose Calderon and Julian Wright. Wright's no offensive wizard, but he gets after it at both ends and looked by far like the freshest Raptor in the match.
So maybe last night was simply a product of fatigue?
After all, the team was playing a back-to-back and was on game four of this West Coast swing.
To me that might explain the lack of lift on jumps shots and the atrocious 38% shooting percentage on the night. But there were too many other familiar gaffes that fans probably can't chalk up to a worn down club.
Poor box-outs, suspect decision-making with the ball, and a multitude of unnecessary turnovers once again.
In fact, if we looked at yesterday's "3 key," you would have to say Toronto whiffed on all trois.
The only thing they hit, much to fans chagrin hopefully, is a late game 3-point shot, their first in 17 tries on the night that meant their spot in the NBA record books was secure for now. Yes, 940-some straight games with a 3 made.
It's indeed a farce as if you look at Toronto's record during that span, I hazard a guess that it's not even .500 level basketball.
Yes, consistently inconsistent.
However on this season, it's indeed still very early so perhaps this consistency will come.
Right now it admittedly seems to be a long ways away however.