History felt like it was about to repeat, but some days, you just don’t deserve to win. In what can be called a great last minute effort, the Raptors came up with too little in the second half and overtime. And that was with a lot of calls going their way.
With the Raptors shooting high percentages in their past two games, it was not surprising to see them fall back to Earth for this one. A three day break can give a team a lot of time to recover, but it’ll also mean that any momentum or feeling of consistency will disappear. Carlos Delfino, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, and Andrea Bargnani all had horrible shooting nights coupled with poor decision making. From this game alone, it shows how vulnerable the Raptors can be when they rely solely on hot outside shooting. There just isn’t anyone on the team willing to consistently take it to the basket on this team, with the exception of Kris Humphries, who was the lone fighter in the post.
That’s not to say a guy like Andrea Bargnani didn’t do some work in the game too. Bargnani, even though he was plagued with foul trouble, attempted to rebound in this game, giving the team a solid effort for the first half. However, as the shots started bouncing off the rim, Toronto couldn’t buy a rebound in the second half. Being out rebounded by 13 against another Eastern Conference team is simply inexcusable, especially with the Raptors shooting around 30% in the third. The combination of Blatche and McGuire completely out hustled and outplayed a Raptors team that had a full compliment of players.
With Caron Butler being a scratch and the Raptors having a few days off leading up to this game a second half let down was just that much more puzzling. By shying away from the foul line and jacking up outside shots, the Raptors allowed the Wizards to run up the lead after being unable to score for almost five minutes. It was here Bosh needed to take control of the team by going to the line and showing his teammates what to do. Yes, the Wizards made large adjustments on Bosh after the first half, but that just meant that he has to try that much harder to keep a consistent effort. Frankly, it should be a slap in the face that Joey Graham was the most active player going to the basket in that quarter, and despite last second heroics by Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker, the game should have never come down to those final shots.
However, there has to be a lot of respect given to this Wizards squad for not folding. With a bunch of backups, a thin bench, and without two of their top players, they managed to come out with a win despite the Raptors’ final second comeback. There is no greater proof of this Wizards team than their display of mental toughness in the overtime period. Theoretically, Toronto should have had all the momentum thanks to their repeat performance of the improbable shot made by Mo Pete last year. Instead, the Wizards took the game to the Raptors and pulled down rebounds, attacked the interior, and made some timely three pointers as well. It’s no surprise then, that Washington beat a team like Boston twice in a row, and if the Raptors aren’t careful, the same fate could await them.
Nevertheless, the Raptors are on their way back to the ACC today. Toronto should be pretty riled up about their poor performance and hopefully, they will take the fight to the Wizards physically. It’s the tail end of the back to back, and there’s just no excuse for at least splitting these two games with Washington.
Next Game: Washington @ Toronto