Toronto and Minnesota came into Saturday night's game with the guarantee that oneof their respective losing streaks would end. The HQ's Sasha Kalra attempts to make sense of the embarrassment that ensued...
After 11 losses in a row many fans are asking the question: have the Toronto Raptors hit rock bottom? The 2010-11 version surely has.
What about as a franchise? Does this moment rank as the all-time low of the Toronto Raptors as an organization? If one were to base this on the comments on the game chat by HQ readers, that claim might be true.
The writing was on the wall from from the get-go in Toronto's 103 to 87 loss to Minnesota last night as TSN opened their coverage with a video montage about rebounding that included Dennis Rodman, Kevin Love and...wait for it...Amir Johnson!
In moving back towards the game I don't even know where to start. Whether it was Kevin Love showing Bargnani how to rebound, Darko owning the paint, or Martell Webster throwing it down, last night was just ugly.
Sonny Weems was deemed healthy enough to replace Julian Wright in the starting lineup after playing over 40 minutes in Friday's overtime loss to the Bucks. The result? A team-high minus 26 on the night.
The team shot 34% from the field and the club's two go-to-guys on offense had nights to forget. DeMar DeRozan was 2 of 11 and Andrea Bargnani was 5 for 24. Games have the potential to get ugly quickly for this year's version of the Raptors because if they aren't scoring well offensively they surely won't be making up for it on the defensive side of the ball. With Bargs and DeRozan firing up bricks, that was certainly the case.
Toronto was dominated by a Timberwolves team that simply wanted it more. Kevin Love had an efficient 21 points and 12 boards in only 24 minutes. I had doubts about his athleticism and NBA-readyness coming out of UCLA but he has done more than prove people wrong with his ability to rebound the basketball.
His positioning and knowledge of the game is off the charts and one wonders why Triano and Co haven't given Bargnani a video montage of Love's game. Bargnani is taller, faster and arguably more athletic than Love. While we're on the topic, I can't talk about his game tonight without bringing up Andrea's 3 rebounds in over 30 minutes, the lowest of any Toronto starter.
To further rub salt into our wounds, Darko Milicic actually looked like half of a lottery pick out on the court. He was challenging Bargnani to shoot contested shots, took it to Andrea on almost every occasion, and even managed to pick up 3 blocks. He was even commanding double teams late in the 3rd.
The only positive from tonight's game was the play of rookie forward Ed Davis. In 25 minutes off the bench he shot 7-10 to finish with 15 points and 11 rebounds. His free throw shooting is still a work in progress but one can't help but feel for the guy. When he plays minutes he produces and it remains a puzzle to many a Raptor fan why he doesn't see more game time, especially en lieu of many other players' struggles.
When Franchise and I attended Wednesday's game against the 76ers, we asked Triano (in a politically correct manner of course) why he stuck with Bargnani for most of the game even though he was offering nothing in terms of scoring and being manhandled by Speights. During the back and forth, the subject of Ed Davis came up and his one word answers carried the faintest hint of dismissiveness.
Speaking of Triano, his post game remarks leave me wondering whether he even considers defence a part of the game. He thought the Raps did some great things defensively and articulated the fact that they had held the Timberwolves to 44% shooting. In case you were wondering, they average 44.4% from the field on the season, and if allowing a team to shoot their average percentage equates as doing great things defensively then this losing streak has just a bit of potential to snowball.
Instead, he focused on the fact that no one was in a rhythm and that the club missed 67 shots. He thought Bargnani was out of sync and had simply lost his offensive rhythm. Oh, and he also thinks that the team battled hard out on the court.
It is often said that some individuals need to hit rock bottom before they realize that things need to change. If this was based on last night's evidence, I wouldn't bank on change happening anytime soon.
- When was the last time Triano brought out the garbage time unit with 7 minutes remaining?
- Even Sota's cheerleaders are better looking than our dance pack
- We are all waiting for the day Bargnani realizes his Pierce-esque attempts to get his man committed in the air and subsequently jump into him to force a call are in vain. You would think never getting that call would be a lesson in itself.
- With 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter the Raptors switched to their much feared zone defence. You can probably guess how that one turned out...