While this year's Raptor team - like any other - has strengths and weaknesses, there is one thing they completely suck at. And that is playing with, and holding a double digit lead. There have been less than a handful of games this season where the Raps have dominated wire to wire, holding a large lead the entire time.
While many times the Raps' offence clicks to save themselves from lackadaisical and sloppy basketball, tonight was one of the nights where the defence of the opposing squad was up to the challenge. Ultimately, the Raps handed away another game.
Following a productive first half in which the ball was moving well between both the starters and the second unit (a Chuck Hayes pass even led to a Terrence Ross three ball!) the Dallas defence took a stranglehold in the second half and seemed to be a step ahead of the Raps on most possessions. Without the ball moving, the offence once again fell into hero ball mode and with DeRozan and Lowry shooting a combined 11-for-36. The Raps were completely outmatched and only managed a measly 15 points in the 4th quarter.
With the offence floundering, the defence soon followed in its own failure. The Raps couldn't avoid some stupid fouls, as well as letting ball handlers drive and kick as they pleased. Jonas Valanciunas was on the floor for at least a few minutes during the fourth, but when the Raps were trying to muster a comeback within the last three minutes and Tyson Chandler was gobbling up offensive rebounds and tap-outs as he pleased, there was Jonas, parked on the bench.
I would usually go on to suggest some solutions or give my opinion on what this team needs to do to hold leads and pull out games late. But that's been overdone by everyone at this point in the year. These same issues have plagued this year's team since game one, so barring drastic changes somehow, they'll continue to be a major detriment.
Here's hoping the Raptors can ratchet up the intensity for Golden State on Friday night.
What did you guys think of the game?