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Five Daily Thoughts: Where’s the D?

A tough loss in Portland spotlighted some concerning issues for the Raptors

Toronto Raptors v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Well that was a disappointing outcome if you stayed up late to watch the game, wasn’t it? The Toronto Raptors once again couldn’t close the deal and came up short, this time against the Portland Trailblazers

1. 122.5

That’s how many points per game the Raptors have given up in the last two, after only giving up only 102.5 through their first 13 games. And the Portland Trailblazers and Detroit Pistons only averaged 108.6 and 94.9 points per game, respectively, coming in to their matchups with Toronto.

What’s happened?

Part of it might be fatigue; the Raptors play at a hectic pace on D. Part of it might be chemistry, as they try to re-integrate Pascal Siakam.

One thing is very clear — the Raptors are not disrupting the perimeter or closing out on shooters as well as they were earlier in the year. The Pistons shot 54% and the Blazers, 56%. This is all too reminiscent of last season, when the Raptors didn’t have the personnel to play Nick Nurse’s collapse-and-recover scheme and teams lit them up from downtown.

Something’s got to change, because the Raptors aren’t good enough on offense to outscore anyone if they're not playing defense!

2. Mistakes were made

One might try to pin this loss on Scottie Barnes but I’m not having that. Yep, the rookie made some big mistakes in the fourth, most notably taking his eyes off the ball and starting his next move before he’d caught the rock — twice. but you live with those mistakes this early in a rookie season; you want him to make them and learn from them.

3. Unsustainable

This might be a problem:

I know Nick Nurse trusts Fred VanVleet more than just about anyone, but he’s got to allow Goran Dragic or Malachi Flynn to eat a few of those minutes. Running Fred into the ground is not gonna be good for anyone in either the short- or long-term.

4. DeMar, on one

Y’all know how much I love DeMar DeRozan so seeing his early success with the Chicago Bulls has been a treat. He went back home to LA this week and roasted the Los Angeles Clippers with 35/5/7, and then took down the Lakers with 38 points and six assists.

Chances are, playing in his hometown with the memory of his father’s passing still so near, was an inspiration to him. Marc Spears has a nice write up of DeMar and his relationship with his dad at The Undefeated.

5. This is some BS

Normally I’d be the first to take advantage and laugh heartily at an embarrassing Los Angeles Lakers lowlight, but this is some bullshit right here:

Officials almost always have the decency to allow a player to tie his shoe before putting the ball back in play. That Scott Wall, the official in this case, didn’t, and then T’ed Anthony Davis up when Davis complained, and tossed him too? Nah. That’s not right. That looks like a man on a power trip and he needs to be taken down a peg. I assume the league will rescind that T in short order.