NBA labour talks continue and so does the HQ's look at Basketball Prospectus' "Sim Season," which saw the Raps drop a game at home to the LA Clippers.
I still think we get a shortened season that starts after Christmas, but who knows. In the meantime, we'll continue on reviewing Basketball Prospectus' "Sim Season," which saw the Toronto Raptors take on the LA Clippers in the friendly confines of the fake ACC last night.
The result was a loss, which means Toronto sits at 1 and 4 so far in BP's Sim Season, beating only the Cavs.
CLIPPERS 114, RAPTORS 104: One night after getting embarrassed in Chicago, the Clippers got 31 points from Eric Gordonand a 29-point, 18-rebound line from Blake Griffin to steal the road win in Toronto. The Bulls dominated the Clippers on the boards in Tuesday's rout, outscoring L.A. 20-1 on second-chance points. Vinny Del Negro's charges turned that around against the soft Raptors, holding a 19-4 edge in the second-chance category. Andrea Bargnani scored 28 for Toronto.
Yikes, 19 to 4 in terms of second-chance points?
Sounds like some classic Dino D there.
Leading the charge for Toronto again was Mr. Bargnani with 28 points on 11 for 24 shooting however he struggled against LA's bigs to no surprise, grabbing only 5 rebounds while guys like Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were able to create havoc down low.
As usual, our take on the outcome:
Three reasons this outcome makes sense:
1. Starting with the "on-paper analysis" as usual, LA, again, a more talented team than Toronto. However last year they split the season series with LA, winning at home and losing on the road so this is by no means a lock of a game for the Clips. However it's hard not to think that another year of seasoning for guys like Griffin, Gordon, Jordan and Bledsoe wouldn't have this club another good step ahead of Toronto, possibly even challenging for a playoff spot in the West.
2. The Kaman effect. Toronto's win against LA came while Chris Kaman was sidelined with an injury. Back in the line-up his 17 points and 12 rebounds on March 26 were too much for the Raps to handle and combined with Blake Griffin, LA's twin towers simply overpowered the Raps and it's not very hard to imagine this scenario repeating itself had last night's game taken place for real.
3. Overall Team Stats. The sim stats in this game jive pretty well with those from the two matches these clubs played against each other last year, as well as their overall regular season metrics. Even the second half scoring story rings true to last year's team. The Raptors held a slight lead going into the half, but LA blew it wide open scoring 40 in the third quarter.
Main reason this outcome seems questionable:
1. Um...how about the fact that Vinny Del Negro is the head coach of the Clippers?
No, seriously, there's not much else here if you compare this simulated box score to Toronto's matches last year against LA. From individual player results to overall team stats, things line up pretty well although both teams in this game shot the ball from 3 better than they did during their two games last year.
How do I feel about this outcome in the end?
I think Toronto steals the next game against Memphis on Saturday night but to me this result works pretty well. I think a healthy Clips team can challenge for a playoff spot in the West barring any major roster changes and it's scary to think how good this team could be if Bledsoe develops into a starting-calibre PG, and Aminu develops some sort of offensive game.
As an aside though, if this season is cancelled, how frustrating is it for Blake Griffin?
A player who has the chance to be one of the most exciting NBA players ever now will have missed two full NBA seasons for various reasons.
For this reason alone both sides should make sure they come to an agreement today.