Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
It was pretty hard to write a recap after last night's affair but here it is...finally.
I'm not sure we've missed a game recap in the eight years we've been doing this.
But I was severely tempted to miss this one.
Where to start.
Well I guess it would have to be the second quarter, the one where the Jazz dropped 38 points on the Raptors and received only 24 in return.
It blew the game wide open not only on the scoreboard, but also in terms of style of play. In the first quarter the Raps' bigs were having their way and the club actually had a 29 to 25 lead.
But in the second Q, the Jazz went small and the Toronto D completely caved. Utah broke down the Dinos' perimeter leading to some beautiful ball movement, and lots of open looks.
Suddenly this one was over before half.
The tough part for me was that as I sat at the bar and watched this mess unfold, I had no confidence that the team would turn things around. The body language, the shot attempts, the effort on D...none of it was there. It's something a number of friends of mine commented on too as we watched the Utah lead go from 10, to 20, to 30.
The other comment we made was how much the game unfortunately reminded us of that brutal loss in Denver to the Nuggets a few years back, the one that ended up being the straw that broke the camel's back in terms of Sam Mitchell's coaching career in Toronto. I'm not suggesting Dwane Casey is on the way out the door after last night's debacle, but suddenly there are a lot of fans expressing their uneasiness regarding his coaching future in TO.
Here's what Casey said post-game regarding the loss:
"Tonight is the first time I've seen us give into whatever it was and that's what we talked about in the team meeting. Hopefully that's the start of togetherness; again, talk is cheap. We have got to get back to the fundamentals of basketball, whether it's guarding the ball, rebounding, transition. Everything was exposed tonight from a team level."
However to me this isn't a Dwane Casey issue. If losses like this continue then the worry is obviously that he's losing the team but more than anything, this match to me was again a reiteration of something I've been harping on for weeks; the pieces on the team just don't fit, and until this is addressed, we're probably going to continue to see the losses pile up.
Casey kept the team for an extra-long "closed-doors chat" post game, something DeMar DeRozan explained as a bit of an open venting session:
"Everybody said what they had to say and we have to realize this is time to step up -- everybody from myself to the last guy on the team."
"Everyone has to step up and play with pride because it's getting out of hand right now."
Which is great.
However again, it's not getting to the crux of the problem here.
And until that happens, I'm afraid there will be many more close losses, and another more of results like last night's to come.