Oh, where to start.
Three quarters of good, yet not quite great basketball, followed by an implosion on their home court. At this stage, how are people supposed to analyze this? The Raptors had ample opportunities to put the game well out of reach, except their execution on both ends of floor began to give. First, they started to lose their defensive intensity before finally falling apart due to shot selection in the fourth. Yes, it’s great to keep looking at the positives, but there’s a disturbing trend that wasn’t there last year, where the Raptors have had very hard times closing out quarters. No matter how well Jamario Moon played this game by going inside and doing some athletic moves, nor how well Anthony Parker played by nearly netting his first double double, it just doesn’t cut it to hold a lead for three quarters only to lose it in the fourth. That just never happened last year, and more importantly, it was often the Raptors who actually managed to upset teams.
I’ve talked about it a lot as well, but is it shocking to people that this team has managed to shoot over 50% in many games, but hasn’t cracked the 100 point barrier all that often this year? Again, the Raptors shot about 49% yet still could barely crack the 90 point barrier. Poor shooting from 3-point land, and horrible free throw shooting really did in the Raptors. It’s just inexcusable for Chris Humphries to go 0-4 from the line. He makes half, and the Raptors are looking at almost winning this game. Then, there’s the other statistic that’s just shocking to me. After managing to get the Cavs to turn the ball over a horrible nine times in the first half, the Raptors only managed to get three more turnovers for the second half.
In the end, this may very well be the turning point for these Raptors, and not in a good way. Bargnani caught a cold or flu like he did last year, the bench isn’t really producing because some people, like Kapono, aren’t getting enough touches, and TJ Ford still doesn’t have an ETA on his return. The terrible thing is, we’re still at .500, in a very compact and tight conference, and we’ve now gotten blown out by Detroit at home, and gave up this game against a Cavs team that we should be fighting for third or fourth place with. Sam might not want to let it out on his players, but it just might be time for some of that abrasiveness to get rubbed off on his players. This just cannot continue. Scoring only 90 points over the course of a game where you’re shooting .500 is going to insure that we lose even more games for the rest of this month that we’re supposed to use to build a cushion. Worse of all, no lead is safe and it makes sure that we will be playing tense and loose and without confidence no matter what the situation in future games. It’s just a recipe for disaster.
Next Game: Philadelphia @ Toronto