What's the excuse this time? After the blow out losses to the Warriors and Suns, we were understandably willing to cut the Raptors some slack considering the length of the road-trip they had been on. However, having not played since Sunday and facing a Hornets team on the second game of a back to back, I'm having a hard time coming up with a reasonable explanation for the terrible performance put up by the Raptors tonight.
The Hornets/Bobcats have had the Raptors' number for several years, but with no Al Jefferson to dominate the low post, the Raptors had one less headache to deal with. Unfortunately, Raptor-killers Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson did more than enough damage to compensate for Big Al's absence:
Combined 58 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists on 25-of-45 shooting for Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) January 9, 2015
While the Raptors defence was terrible in it's own right, Walker and Henderson were hitting jump shot after jump shot to keep the Raptors an arm-length away all game. The Hornets led this one almost from wire to wire, save a short spurt of brilliance from James Johnson in the second quarter to give the Raptors a 52-50 lead at half time. From that point on, it was the Kemba and Gerald show as the Hornets never looked back after holding the Raptors to 14 points in the third quarter.
For the Raptors, Kyle Lowry and Lou Williams combined to go 11-37 (RUDYYYYYY) for 39 points, and clanked one contested jumper after another. They shot below 40 percent from the field -- the result of an increasingly stagnant offence. Jonas Valanciunas was disappointing defensively once again; he simply HAS to learn to protect the rim better. Terrence Ross was his typical lackadaisical self. Amir Johnson's ankles just can't be trusted.
Seriously, DeMar DeRozan can't come back sooner. Masai, this team isn't ready as it stands. Four straight losses for the first time since five-gamer that led to the Rudy Gay trade.
Vent away, folks.