They tipped off in Indiana, and the Raptors were instantaneously 8-13. Seriously, this one falls under the “over before it began” category.
Toronto has been pretty consistent in responding to a poor effort with a solid performance this season. That wasn’t the case tonight at Canseco Fieldhouse.
I’ll admit that I found myself on the road in a vehicle for the first quarter, but here’s what the game sounded like on the radio. “Raptors pull-up jumper no good, Pacers back the other way, three-ball falls. Raptors turnover, Pacers come back, count the bucket and the foul.”
By the time I got to a televsion for the second quarter, the Raps were down 13 and mentally checked out. The second q was even worse, as Indiana torched Toronto for 37 points and held a 24-point lead at the half.
The third quarter defence was decent, and provided Toronto a glimmer of hope that they could perhaps make it interesting, but their pathetic offence and constant jump-shooting negated that opportunity.
Two things stood out tonight. One, the Raptors looked like a YMCA team when defending the three-point line for the second straight game. And two, the entire roster, top to bottom, thought they could get by with ill-advised jump-shooting.
At one point in the third, Jerryd Bayless, Amir Johnson and Ed Davis (the same three guys who fuelled the Raptors run Jay Triano ruined on Sunday) defended and attacked their way to a 10-1 run, and the Raps cut a 28-point lead to just 15.
Out of a timeout, the Raps responded with a Leandro Barbosa jumper followed by a Sonny Weems jumper. In a matter of moments it was back to a 23-point deficit.
There’s nothing more to say about this disgraceful effort. You would have to hope the last two ball games are just part of the natural process when dealing with a young team. But the truth is, a couple more games like this, and most will consider the recent success a blip on the radar of a horrible team.
I’m definitely not expecting a win in New York on Wednesday, but we need to see a genuine effort from this team to believe they still “want it.” Tonight, no one could honestly mistake that performance for an “effort” of any sorts.
Raptors Player of the Game: Jose Calderon – 30 Min, 21 Pts, 8-12 FG, 2-2 3Pt, 3-4 FT, 1 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl
Pacers Player of the Game: Danny Granger – 31 Min, 21 Pts, 9-16 FG, 2-5 3Pt, 1-2 FT, 9 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk
Goat of the Game: Sonny Weems – 19 Min, 8 Pts, 3-10 FG, 2-2 FT, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 TO