Momma told me there would be games like this.
Playing great defense in their first three games, one had to wonder when the shoe would drop and we would see the dreaded regression to the previous years in the Raptors’ D. Coming into this game, I had a lot of personal questions about the matchup between these two teams. For one, Milwaukee is a team with a few strong forwards, and a lot of good shooters. They also have some 7-footers who could rebound and shoot from the outside. Oh, and just for kicks, three assistant coaches that were Raptors coaches at one point.
So how did the Raptors get utterly destroyed? Well, for one thing, the Bucks played “Raptors’ Ball” extremely efficiently. Passing the ball from man-to-man, getting movement across the lanes, the Bucks showed the Raptors what their active style does to opponents. Of course, “Bucks’ ball” is a little different. There’s a lot more emphasis on cutting down the heart of the defense, and with some strong wing presence from both Simmons and Mason, the Raptors looked as vulnerable as predicted by the American media.
At the end of the day though, the Raptors played without the hustle or energy that was clearly needed to take on a resurgent Bucks team in their building. Kris Humphries, looking every much worth the three million a year contract he signed, was the real big bright spot on a team that struggled to get loose balls and deflections. While Kris played loose, with free-flowing energy, others played tight. CB4 tried to force the issue too many times, and TJ Ford couldn’t coral any of the deflections he managed to muster. It was uncharacteristically bad for this Raptors team to have been beaten so thoroughly in the fast break points category, and yet, when I think back to the game, it wasn’t all that surprising. The Raptors normally were able to pick up steals and get rebounds to make the quick outlet pass, but instead, looked tentative as sloppy turnovers mounted.
There’s a big question I have: How did Jamario Moon get in the game before Jorge Garbajosa? I’m sure Sam tried to inject some athleticism into the Raptors, but Moon proved just how raw of a talent he is, refusing to go to the net during his debut action, and instead, settling for outside shots. On the defensive side, he was overpowered on many occasions, which just further causes me to question the lack of Garbajosa until the game was decided. It’s been suggested in some circles that the Raptors are being cautious, but Jorge’s the smart, strong forward that we need to combat players like Mason. I just hope that Jorge rediscovers the respect that he deserves.
Next up: Magic @ Raptors