Last night the Toronto Raptors competed in what might have been the craziest NBA game that I personally have ever seen - the result of which may be the absolute lowest point - rock bottom - for the Raptors this season.
For starters, after already missing Linas Klieza, the team saw both Andrea Bargnani - who, it should be noted, was off to a solid start - and Kyle Lowry leave the game with injuries on a night where the team was looking to take advantage of a Trail Blazers club that was also missing two key starters in Nicolas Batum and Wesley Mathews.
As if that was not bad enough, early on in the second half, Amir Johnson provided us with with the lasting image of this recent road trip for the Raptors when he was ejected from the game for attempting to wrestle the ball away from the referee David Jones in between a pair of Trail Blazer free throws. Amir followed that up with an impressively accurate toss of his mouthguard that hit the referee right between the numbers on the back of his jersey. Needless to say, Johnson will likely face some sort of sanction from the league office for that one.
The Raptors did manage to hang tough for the first three quarters of the game, but ultimately gave way again in the fourth which is certainly nothing new for the Dinos this season.
The game itself was ugly and bordered on unwatchable for a good stretch.
The Raptors, though, did get some solid effort out of Jonas Valanciunas - 8 points and 10 rebounds - and Ed Davis - 14 points and 9 rebounds - as well as the one player who has played consistently well on this road trip, DeMar DeRozan.
DeRozan finished with a team-high 20 points and has been the one guy that this team has been able to lean on - sort of - this season. His effort was there again tonight, although as the evening wore on fatigue clearly set in for the 4th year guard.
But, ultimately, the brightspots were few and far between for the Dinos and as the tension continues to mount and these blow-out losses continue to pile up, it's tough to see how this team turns things around. It's obvious that things need to change, but how exactly does the organization go about making a change? that is anyone's guess.
On the Blazers' side of things, their frontcourt led the way. J.J Hickson dropped 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds while LaMarcus Aldridge once again showed the Raptors what they could have had if they drafted him instead of Bargnani all those years ago. Aldridge lead all scorers with 30 points and also had 12 rebounds. These two players were a big reason why the Blazers outscored the Raptors 54-26 in the paint.
But, the stat of the night had to be the following: The Portland Trail Blazers set an NBA record for most three-point attempts without a make (20) and they won the game by a margine of 18 points.
That tells you just about everything you needed to know about this contest.