Lacing Them Up –
Dec 1 – Washington 101 to 97
Dec 19 – Portland 101 to 96
Dec 21 – Seattle 123 to 115
Dec 29 – Houston 91 to 79
Jan 6 – Cleveland 93 to 90
Jan 19 – Philly 99 to 95
Feb 8 – LA Clippers 102 to 98
Feb 22 – New York 103 to 99
Feb 29 – Indiana 122 to 111
March 2 – Charlotte 110 to 98
April 2 – Atlanta 127 to 120
April 4 – Charlotte 105 to 100
With the way Toronto played last night, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if by next week we had added a few more games to this list.
The Raptors lost another easily winnable match last night and there now must be some big concerns going on heading to Jersey to face the Nets this evening.
And frankly I’m at a loss as to what to write that we haven’t already written or said in some format on the site.
-Toronto lacked energy and passion to start yet another match, giving up 51 points in the first half
-The Raptors’ defensive rotations were consistently slow or non-existent
-The bench for Toronto was outscored 29 to 18 by the Charlotte reserves
-Carlos Delfino and Jason Kapono failed to score a single point
-After getting to the free-throw line 37 times against the Bobcats last time these clubs met, Toronto made a measly 16 appearances compared to 25 by Charlotte last night
-The Raptors allowed Charlotte to shoot 40 per cent from beyond the arc
-And in a close game, Toronto made costly errors at key points
It’s been the same old story for the Dinos really all season but in particular, through the month of March. I mean, is there really any point of getting into 3 keys for tonight? They’re getting to be the same ones each night and the bottom line is that even with a playoff spot guaranteed, Toronto needs to start turning things around.
Otherwise the fact that they are currently sitting in seventh (thanks to wins last night by Washington and Philadelphia) is hardly going to matter. This team at present isn’t going to win a game no matter WHO they face.
And it’s really a shame that with six games left in the season it’s come down to this. The crowd at the ACC last night almost felt like a playoff one even with Charlotte in town, and fans certainly seem to be ready for playoff action.
Yet this Toronto team is so far removed from being ready for the playoffs, it’s not even funny.
Jack Armstrong last night stated that "in the playoffs, it’s all about match-up and moving those chess pieces." He’s bang on and that’s what’s so scary about the Raptors right now. Offensively they have been ok, but on the defensive side of the ball, opposing teams are just tearing them to shreds. In particular, Toronto is having difficulty containing on the perimeter and guarding individually, and it’s these individual match-ups that are causing havoc. Last night it was Charlotte’s point guards at times, or players like Jason Richardson at others and you just can’t allow double digit scoring games from guys like Nazr Mohammed.
Perhaps some zone defence would help? Or juggling the bench up a bit? Sam Mitchell and his staff need to figure out some way to get this team juiced up. Charlotte came out last night looking like the playoff bound club while Toronto looked like the one headed back to Seacacus.
And TJ – as well as he played through most of the game, especially in terms of not forcing the issue and dishing out 14 assists, wandered at times again on defense and allowed an inexcusable turnover that essentially put the nail in Toronto’s coffin with about a minute left. That makes two straight games where Ford has incurred the wrath of fans and media with questionable decisions at key moments. Wednesday night’s was his lack of defence on Mike Bibby allowing the game-tying 3 and last night, a lackadaisical handle allowing an Earl Boykins steal. And to make matters worse, Ford fouled Boykins on the drive turning the situation into an and 1 basket.
So for tonight’s game I’m not going to make any predictions. This Nets team can be a dangerous one offensively and I’m already having nightmares of Vince Carter getting into the paint with ease, something the Bobcats did all night.
The entire team needs to pick things up, and I’m looking for Chris Bosh to lead the charge. This is his CB4’s club and Rasho Nesterovic, who was brilliant again last night, can’t keep playing the "dominant force" role. Rasho’s play however should be opening things up for Chris and he needs to take advantage until the rest of his team-mates start helping him out.
This team isn’t ready for the playoffs right now and has six games to get it together.
Let’s hope that starts with New Jersey tonight.