The Toronto Raptors started the game looking sharp and jumped out to a 15-4 lead less than 5 minutes into the game. The Raps then started playing sloppy basketball with careless turnovers and forced shots while the Charlotte Bobcats battled back behind Kemba Walker's speed and relentless attacks in transition, often after Raptor turnovers. In the second quarter both teams finally seemed interested in the game, and it produced some not-totally-awful basketball. The 3rd and 4th quarters were entertaining, but quite sloppy. The Bobcats had better execution down the stretch, and the end result was a very Raptors-esque loss.
As a Raptors fan who would like to be optimistic about next season, I would love to chalk this loss up to a lack of effort for a meaningless road game...but besides a rough stretch early in the game I did not notice a lack of energy on either side tonight. The Bobcats were simply the better team tonight.
The 4 best players on the floor tonight belonged to the Bobcats. Gerald Henderson was solid on both ends of the floor and got the better of DeMar DeRozan. Kemba Walker was a pest on defense and demonstrated John-Wall-esque speed in transition. Byron Mullens single-handedly outscored the Raptors bench 25-13. And even though Josh McRoberts has been tossed around the league like a ...(fighting off the urge to make an inappropriate reference on my first post)... like a *friendly* girl, tonight he looked like a player that will be in the NBA for a long time.
LVP of the game: Dwane Casey
The Raptors are far too careless with the basketball, and do not play organized defense, both of which fall on Casey. While both can be partly attributed to the many new or inexperienced players the Raptors are trying to integrate, I hope to see serious improvement in these areas as the season comes to a close. Also, calling Casey's rotation tonight puzzling would be an understatement. Why did Pietrus randomly play in the 1st half while Landry Fields was glued to the bench? Why did John Lucas get the backup PG minutes in the 1st half, while Telfair got the call in the 2nd half? While this frustrates me, I can only imagine how the players feel.
Random Raptors Thoughts:
- While this was a fairly negative post (and deservingly so), I will give a modest thumbs up to Jonas and DeMar, who played half-decent games. Lowry also had decent stretches but was inconsistent.
- The Raptors had 3 turnovers on inbound passes after made baskets (Jonas once, Gay 2x). It doesn't get much more careless than that.
- The Raptors out-executed the Bobcats on the free throw line, going a perfect 20/20 from the line, while the Bobcats missed 9 of their 32 attempts.
- Landry was left wide open for a 3, and he didn't even look at the rim. I still believe Landry can be a productive role player for this team, but I really hope he can get his 3-point confidence back over the summer.
- Telfair's technicals per minute as a Raptor would make Rasheed Wallace jealous.
- I planned on the title of this Rapid Recap being "At least we're not Bobcats fans!"...but tonight that wouldn't seem so bad. Kemba looked like the best player on the floor, and the Bobcats own their own draft pick this year and have a relatively clean cap sheet. The Raptors?...if they pick up Amir, Ross, and Jonas' team option they will be at $62.8MM in 2014/15, and that does not include a Lowry extension. And they don't own their 1st round pick. EEEEK.