Another lackluster effort against a lower-tiered team and the Raptors have largely undone the good they've achieved by beating teams like the Thunder. Vicious D talks about how the Raptors will hopefully grow from this experience.
It's 1 AM and I haven't started writing.
I'm trying to think about what to say about the thrashing I just watched.
I mean, there were some bright spots from Jose Calderon and Amir Johnson. Both players came and gave some really nice efforts. Johnson even posterized a couple people over the course of the day.
There's some pretty bad officiating with some blown calls that would have tipped the balance if this was a close game.
I don't have a lot of words to say after that loss. It was uninspired, it was ugly, and if you watched the game, you probably were tempted to tune out. But heck, you probably stayed because you kept believing. You believed that the Raptors might make a run back at the Pacers. You believed that they just might put together a solid quarter and make it close.
You believed because it's happened so many times this year.
Perhaps that's the most surprising thing this season is that I feel compelled to watch every game. No matter how bad the Raptors are playing, you believe that they just might swing things around. This team has played hard for the majority of their first 21 games and as they pass the first quarter mark of the season, it's some thing that we expect.
We just didn't see it anywhere last night.
It was very shades of seasons past to be frank.
I mean, I can talk about how the Raptors didn't establish Bargnani inside nearly enough and were content to try and just get it to a guy who would hoist up a shot. I can talk about how Reggie Evans's absence is going to have a continued effect on the consistency of the product we see on the court. I can talk about their horrible "efforts" to defend the Pacers.
But that's just my opinion. The players all summed it up best. Whether it's been a struggling DeMar DeRozan who admitted that he's gotta start things on the defensive end, a Linas Kleiza who knows that they have to do something but isn't too happy about a possible practice today, or a Leandro Barbosa who acknowledged the failed execution of a game plan to close out on 3-point shooters, the players seemed to take on accountability.
Even hearing Andrea Bargnani talk about how it's time for action and that talk is cheap was a refreshing and interesting sight.
And so some personal accountability is now being added to this team. We all know that Jay Triano and his staff are going to rip our boys a new one for coming out flat two nights in a row. They now acknowledge that defense is the key to long-term success. The Raptors have to figure out how to do it themselves as a part of their maturing process.
After all, if even Bargnani says it, then it's time for the whole team to get in on it.
The time for talk is over.
It's time for action to show the way.