I don’t know what was more embarrassing tonight; the road team’s effort or the home team’s crowd. The Raptors got spanked in every facet of basketball in front of 11 000 lifeless fans. If this recap was limited to 20 words or less, that would be it.
One thing we can say about this Raptors team is that they are very easy to read in the game’s opening minutes.
You can tell when they are going to come out and play balls to the wall, as they did in their Florida back-to-back on the weekend, and you can tell when they are going to play like a star-studded team that thinks they can coast. Tonight was the latter, and as Washington proved, the Raptors are as far away from being a star-studded team as Gilbert Arenas is to being a model citizen.
The Raps were down four after one quarter and trailed by just seven at the break, but if you watched the first 24 minutes, you knew it should have been much, much more. They settled for jump-shots, which they missed, they seemingly chose not to rebound or defend and they showed absolutely no emotion. For a young team lacking star-power, that’s a catastrophic combination, no matter the opponent.
At one point in the third quarter, after Reggie Evans converted a board and bucket, he appeared to yell “wake your asses up!” to the rest of his team as he ran down the floor. Thanks for vocalizing Canadian ball fans’ frustrations tonight, Reggie.
Aside from Reggie’s usual intensity, Weems brought some hustle, Kleiza showed a little life in his return to action, and Jarrett Jack showed some heart, but was ineffective overall. Other than that, the rest of the roster was, for the most part, abysmal.
You have to wonder what was going through Jay Triano and the coaching staff’s minds tonight. If they even began to believe for a minute that this team had gotten over the hump from a consistent effort standpoint, they were jolted back to reality tonight.
Tonight’s loss had nothing to do with coaching, so I don’t want to take shots at Jay. But there was a point in the third quarter where it was still only a 10-15 point game, and he trotted out a lineup of Calderon, Banks, Weems, Andersen and Evans. Really, Jay?
Tomorrow night the Raps are in Philly to take on a 2-9 Sixers team that might be without Andre Iguodala. They seem ripe for the taking, but you should never count on this Raptors team in ideal situations, like you should never count them out in adverse situations.
Raptors Player of the Game: Linas Kleiza – 20 Min, 15 Pts, 7-11 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 1-2 FT, 5 Reb
Wizards Player of the Game: Andray Blatche – 32 Min, 22 Pts, 9-13 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 3-4 FT, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl
Goat of the Game: Jose Calderon – 17 Min, 3 Pts, 1-8 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO