Dwane Casey called it a "woodshed butt-kicking." Kyle Lowry was surprised by the franchise record-worst 1-for-19 first quarter. Tyler Hansbrough attempted to fight Festus Ezeli. And the Raptors lost 113-89 to the Warriors at the ACC. Nothing about this team makes sense anymore (OK, except maybe that Hansbrough bit).
From the opening tip, as the Warriors jumped out to a quick lead they never relinquished, the Raptors looked lost. The starters on the night -- Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas and the newly inserted Patrick Patterson (in there for his matchup with Draymond Green) -- represent the lineup the people have been clamouring for. (The Post's Eric Koreen refers to this group as the People's Lineup.) But, after a dismal first quarter that saw the team fall behind 27-11, shoot 5.3 percent, give the ball away six times, and manage zero assists, we're left with a slightly larger sample size that says this lineup isn't the answer. But this doesn't make sense either.
We can look at the stats for the game to shed some light. The Raptors as a team managed to shoot 40 percent, but only 18 percent from three. They managed 15 assists in total, which suggests the team's iso-ball tendencies still plague them. The new starting lineup was mostly ineffective with only Valanciunas staying true to from, grabbing 12 rebounds in lieu of any proper offensive production (seven points, four shots). DeRozan and Lowry continued their dismal play (18 points combined on 5-for-23 shooting). Everyone's favourite whipping boy Terrence Ross, tossed in 18 points. It was a garbage game, befitting Ross' sad slide on the depth chart. James Johnson and Patrick Patterson? Invisible. The loudest chant on the night came during the aforementioned Hansbrough-Ezeli fracas -- "Oh I love it," Casey said afterwards. "I don't want to see a guy get in a fight, but I was glad to see somebody ready to hit somebody." Well then.
The Warriors, for their part, were as crisp and dominant as you'd expect a league-leading team to be. They shot 48 percent from the field, 46 percent from three, had 31 assists on 42 made baskets against only 12 turnovers. Steph Curry in particular looked to not even break a sweat. He had 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting and casually dissected the Raps like a kid pulling the wings off an insect. That Curry still actually looks like a kid out there made the visual all the more disturbing. The Raptors simply had no answer for the ease at which the Warriors tore them apart. At least that part of the game made sense; Golden State is a great team.
The Raptors meanwhile continue to mystify. Over their last eight games, they've now gone into full WTF mode. This stretch, starting with the Clippers game and ending tonight, was to be a test. It was a run of quality opponents and tough road games. Many wondered how the team would do, given its relatively up-and-down play in 2015.
After the first four games, with wins over the Clips, defending champion Spurs, Wizards and East-leading Hawks, the Raptors looked poised to wage a war on the world. This was the team we loved. But then... then came the next four games: A loss to an Anthony Davis-less Pelicans team (for the second time in the season), an ugly beat down by the Houston Rockets, outgunned by the Mavericks and now this, mercy killed by the Warriors. Four steps forward, four steps right back. Despite the .500 play as of late, the Raptors are still 37-21 and second in the conference. We know they can't win a championship. We know this for sure.
Other than that, total mystification. Nothing else makes sense.