What a wasted effort.
Look, I’m not on Chuck or Jack much for anything, but they were wrong. The Raptors were wrong. Finally, Chris Bosh was wrong. If you have Andrea Bargnani playing out of his mind for three quarters, showing you everything Nowitzki can do and more, heading inside and outside, you give him the ball. Heck, he was even making behind-the-back passes. What I mean is that he’s smart enough to figure it out, and Sam Mitchell took a chance that in the fourth, the Raptors should put it in Bosh’s hands, a guy that was ice cold for most of the game. Bargnani was largely undefendable and if you can get the ball into Bosh’s hands all the time, why couldn’t you get it into Bargnani’s hands? His optimal position was everywhere and he was willing to make a pass too. Detroit might have made adjustments, but just getting the ball into his hands would have shifted the defense some, maybe opening the floor up for a guy like Bosh to get into the lane.
Of course, we can’t really talk about this loss at all without looking at the bench scoring. What used to be a huge asset of the Raptors has dropped off to nothing lately. Carlos Delfino’s not hitting his shots and Jason Kapono isn’t getting any open chances. Part of the reason is Juan Dixon’s inability to run the offense and get his guys the ball in the proper area. Although he’s been doing a serviceable job as a defender, it’s a big drop off from having Calderon on the floor with those guys. Not being able to play your bench at the start of the fourth really killed the Raptors momentum and any chance they had for the rest of the game.
Before we take a look at the Pistons, there one more part of last night’s game that we should really look at, and that’s Chris Bosh. Look, he finished the game 9/21 from the floor, which is pretty bad considering Bargs was shooting 10/16 from the floor. However, Bosh’s inability to keep Maxiell and McDyess off the glass really undid us. For all the good Parker and Moon did for the game, they often didn’t coral in missed rebounds during the game, which left me wondering why when Parker went down, Kris Humphries wasn’t considered to enter the game. Look, I know it causes some matchup problems for us if we have Bosh, Bargs, Hump, Calderon and Moon on the floor, but it’s the kind of lineup that you get the feeling might have worked, especially since Detroit out rebounded us by 11.
I have to say though, Detroit is looking very refined this year. They’ve got a spark and a kind of bully attitude, and the Raptors just took it. Not to mention that Flip Saunders finally figured out how to use his bench in Detroit, and you’ve got a team that really looks to contend. My only question is whether McDyess can last the year, and if there’s anyone to back him up. Get him into foul trouble, and Detroit is just soft up the middle and undersized. Throw Garnett at them, and it might be too much. Then again, Detroit has most people beat on positions 1-4 for most of the game, especially if guys like Maxiell and Stuckey continue to contribute.
One thing’s for sure though. The Raptors are far away from competing against those elite teams, and if they continue to make lackluster decisions about who gets the ball, we will continue to run into problems in the future. It’s going to be up to same to get the right decisions out to his troops, especially in these kinds of games, and it’s going to be up to the players to execute those orders correctly.
Next Game: Cleveland @ Toronto