The Golden State Warriors emphatically beat 9 guys in Raptors uniforms last night. The HQ's Sasha Kalra tries to make sense of what happened and looks forward to tonight...
While the majority of Raptors' fans and beat writers were watching the dramatic finish that saw Kentucky upset Ohio State, I opted to watch the Toronto Raptors play a Friday night game in Golden State.
The game got off to a quick start as the Raptors led by James Johnson were matching the Warriors point for point early on. That offensive spark would soon dry up though, and when you couple that with the club's worst defensive game of the season, things soon began to get ugly.
The Warriors were gifted countless open looks to get their juices going and by the time that the Raptors started to give a damn, G State had already gotten into their shooting groove. This was illustrated by the 84-58 lead that the Warriors carried into the half and it didn't get any better in the 3rd. Matt and Leo were forced to talk about Jays spring training and Dell Curry's private life, as they ran out of things to keep viewers on board.
In the end, the Raptors lost by nearly 40 in a 138 to 100 laugh-fest that sparked tweets like these:
@KNelsonDX: In NBA news, James Johnson and Andrea Bargnani posted +/-'s of -41 and -40 respectively. Is this a record? Does anybody know?
@thekidcanada: Their game is over, but VCU somehow just scored 12 quick points on the Toronto Raptors.
@Tortacular Indeed. The end of this season might just be uglier than a lockout.
Looking back over the past few games, the Denver loss was bad, but somewhat understandable I suppose.
The Suns loss?
Less so, although again as Franchise noted in his recap of the game, the same issues that plagued the Raptors all season were the team's undoing.
It was bad meets worse, as the Raps looked like a team that wouldn't have stood a chance against either Ohio State or Kentucky.
But let's pile on the "worse" some more.
Speaking of Ohio State, star forward Jared Sullinger, a player who looked to be a lock as a top five pick and a nice fit skill-wise for the Raps, swore that he was returning to school for his sophomore season.
Translation, a weak draft could get even weaker.
Then there was Jose Calderon, who injured his hamstring midway through the 2nd quarter and sat for the rest of the game. Again, not great news, especially if this turns out to be the same troublesome hammy.
And finally, post-game, when asked why Julian Wright failed to see any action, Jay Triano disclosed that he had in fact asked Wright to go into the game, and Wright had refused.
Now Triano also noted that Wright was in the bathroom right before the request, so perhaps he was ill. (A chunk of the team is currently under the weather.) But until someone on the Raptors' beat currently on the road trip gets to the bottom of this, it's an ominous sign of what could be a coach losing a team - something I'd add that the past few games would back up.
But maybe these issues are good long-term considering the team's need to get as high a draft pick as possible.
I'd like to say that I'm all for tanking under the right circumstances.
I would love for the Raptors to lose every game from here on out, so long as they compete, play hard and can hold their heads high afterwards. That wasn't the case last night and the Raptors play the 2nd part of a back-to-back against the LA Clippers tonight.
Tonight the team will try and bounce back from that debacle and get a win against the Los Angeles Clippers. Ed Davis was the standout performer last time these teams met as he got the better of Blake Griffin over 4 quarters.
The Clippers are also playing in the latter part of a back to back as they had a "road" game last night against the Lakers. Forget getting a win, here are our three keys to a much better performance...
1. Blake Griffin. It's no secret that Blakezilla is the Clippers' best player and talisman. When he shows up to play, the Clippers are a tough match-up and if the Raptors are to escape the Staples Center they will need to contain him. It looks like Ed Davis will get the start and he needs to stay out of foul trouble and remain on the floor because if Griffin is matched up against Ajinca, things might get ugly. Or...even uglier.
2. Defence. Last night's Raptors D was the worst that I have seen in years. The Warriors' offensive game is great, but there is no way they should have scored 84 points in the first half. The team needs to show some pride and be accountable on D. They can't revert back to more lazy closeouts and semi-lethargic rebounds.
3. Pride. And finally not to sound so much like a broken record but the Dinos need to show some pride. This young team has had their fair share of blowout losses over the course of this long and arduous season but last night's debacle at Oracle Arena was a new low. It's time for them to get their act together, stand up and be counted.