In their first game back since that disappointing blowout loss to the Detroit Pistons before the Christmas break, the Raptors fell flat against the Memphis Grizzlies, falling to 10-20 on the season. Toronto was shorthanded against the Grizz, missing Andrea Bargnani who was not with the team, dealing with a strained calf. They were also without the services of Sonny Weems for a fourth straight game as Weems is still dealing with the back spasms.

While they got off to a quick start and led by as many as 12 points in the first quarter, they trailed by four at the break and the Grizzlies went inside in the second to take over the game. Memphis dominated in the paint thanks to solid nights from Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph. Randolph scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half while Gay finished with 18 points, five rebounds, six assists and five steals, offsetting his five turnovers.

Joey Dorsey started in place of Bargnani and while he fouled out in just under 30 minutes of play, he gave what he had, finishing with 10 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and three assists. Dorsey was 0-for-5 from the free throw line as the Raptors made just 5-for-14 of their attempts at the line, compared to 23-for-28 of the Grizzlies’ attempts.  Linas Kleiza had 22 points to lead the Raptors, but again, continued to rack up the turnovers, giving the ball away five times as the Raptors finished with 25 turnovers as a team.

DeMar DeRozan finished with 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting, in another positive for the Raptors, but they just did not have enough in the tank (or on the bench) to help them when the Grizz got going on their homefloor. While the Raptors had five players reach double figures, the team shot 50 percent from the floor and had three more made field goals than Memphis, those awful free throw statistics stand out even more.

For the Raptors to win they have to play inspired and smart basketball. For the Raptors to win without Andrea Bargnani, that needs to be damn near perfect basketball. 25 turnovers and nine missed free throws is not going to cut it.

The Raptors will face Dallas tomorrow. The Mavs won against Oklahoma City 103-93 despite losing Dirk Nowitzki after 11 minutes with a knee sprain. Nowitzki will undergo an MRI tomorrow morning, but his status for the game tomorrow evening is not yet known. Both teams will be on the second night of a back-to-back, but this one could get ugly in a hurry.

Raptors Player of the Game: Joey Dorsey – 29 min, 10 pts, 13 rebs, 3 asts, 5-6 fgs, 0-5 fts, 1 stl, 1 blk (only starter with a + +/-)

Grizzlies Player of the Game: Rudy Gay – 40 min, 18 pts, 5 rebs, 6 asts, 6-13 fgs, 5-6 fts, 5 stls, 1 blk

Comments (5)

  1. “For the Raptors to win they have to play inspired and smart basketball. For the Raptors to win without Andrea Bargnani, that needs to be damn near perfect basketball. 25 turnovers and nine missed free throws is not going to cut it.”

    When did Andrea Bargnani become Peyton Manning?

  2. Dear fans,
    I mean the ones that bash Bargnani all the time,
    can you see and understand, right now, how this Raptors team is really garbage?
    Can you see how it’s NEVER EVER going to win a f…g game without Bargs, the very one that you keep teasing?
    You just look at the score sheet and read (25 turnovers apart):
    - Amir Johnson, 0 point, 4 rebounds (and not because of fouling out!)
    - Bayless, 1 assist in 17 minutes
    - Free throws team percentage 35%
    - Three points team percentage 21%
    - 85 stinking points in 48 minutes of game
    Can you guys deeply understand how much this team sucks,
    even more without the only player capable (not always, but sometimes) of switching on the lights on the ground?
    But you keep speaking about his flaws. Only that. The flaws of the only above average player you got in the squad.
    How stupid and masochistic?
    You guys just deserve the team you’ve got.

  3. shut up about bargnani. you sound like an idiot. this team is 10-20 and you’re telling me how great he is? sigh. do you watch basketball? bargnani is the italian version of mike dunleavy only not as consistent. you think mike dunleavy is an all star? sigh. idiot idiot idiot.

    i do agree with you that this team is complete crap. colangelo needs to be terminated and along with him the dolt of a coach that is triano. can we please pull off the rose coloured glasses finally on this guy? why on earth does it have to take three years!!!!!! to recognize how inept he is and what a charlatan BC is?

    this team is disgusting.

  4. Before Reggie went down, his flaws covered Andrea’s and vice versa.

    After Reggie went down, and before Andrea went down, Andrea had elevated his game to the place where Amir could cover his flaws enough to make it work. It wasn’t the two-headed rebounding scoring monster that Andrea/Reggie was, but it meant that if we were up against a merely mediocre frontcourt, we could win or lose based on the strength our wings and PG.

    After Reggie *and* Andrea went down, we had the relatively young, inexperienced, and unproven combination of Amir, Joey, Ed, and some Kleiza at the four to work with. That’s starting to look pretty ugly, but it’s not the sort of rotation that will lose you you every game immediately thanks to Kleiza proving to be a capable scorer/rebounder at the four (though even mediocre frontcourts will still find a way to take advantage of this.)

    Now with Amir gimped, we’re going into every game with a severe disadvantage until one of our three top-four frontcourt people get healthy. When healthy, this team is not necessarily historically bad; with a decimated frontcourt, it could be.

    As for PBI’s “when did Andrea become Peyton Manning?” I don’t think even those who praise him unceasingly would use that sort of mixed metaphor. A Peyton Manning would be the person throwing the passes, not the person receiving them. Peyton Manning = Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo (or perhaps Jerryd Bayless to the starry-eyed fanboys). Andrea=Chad Ochocinco: not going to win the game on his own, but certainly a dangerous weapon in the right system with the right personnel.

    The reason we miss Andrea so desperately right now is because we can get good frontcourt play out of Andrea/Reggie, Andrea/Amir, and probably even Andrea/Kleiza-at-the-four, now that he’s healthy. And we can get good-enough frontcourt play out of Andrea/Ed or even Andrea/Joey. It’s how the team is currently constructed, though the maturation of Amir and Ed should probably bring more balance to the team’s construction over the long term. Take Andrea out, especially with Reggie gone, and we struggle to put out even a good-enough frontcourt out there without Amir and Kleiza both out there, and they can’t both play the whole game. And Andrea is enough of a scorer that he opens up the offense by drawing double teams (which he has done some pretty decent passing out of recently).

    Exacerbating the whole situation right now are the problems we’ve had with the rotation at the wings lately, with Sonny playing away from his skillset on offence (before getting hurt) and Demar battling sophomore inconsistency, giving us no margin of error when dealing with our frontcourt problems (not to mention trying to get Jerryd to the place where he plays a little more like 1 and a little less like a second 2.)

    The short version: it’s not about how Bargnani is awesome and elevates us to awesome, it’s about how much of what he has is needed merely to elevate us to mediocre.

    Oh well. Tank nation will be very happy over the next couple of weeks.

  5. CB: Losing Bosh under the circumstances we did (and I’m of the opnion that, given the wade/james/bosh behavior from as far back as 3-4 years ago seems in retrospect to be pointing to what happened) has pretty much decimated the team, in a way that any team trying to retain their star under the illusion they might actually succed in keepiong him could never be compeltely prepared for.

    Under the circumstances – a nearly complete rebuild, whether we like it or not – we’re in a reasonably decent position. We have two first-round draft picks this year, we have a lot of young prospects, some of which have intriguing upside (Amir, and Ed, though and if Sonny can ever learn to play within his offensive game for more than 5 games at a stretch, I’d say he qualifies here too.) We have Andrea and Kleiza signed at very reasonable rates, and we are in a good position to pick up quality pieces at the trade deadline with Peja’s expiring and the remainder of Bosh’s trade exception, assuming anyone’s selling (and someone is bound to be).

    The big unanswered question, however, is this: where are we going to get our all-star level take-it-to-the-next-level player? We drafted Vince, who was very good, but he never reached his potential. We drafted Bosh, who did reach his potential, but is still the third best player on a team that may still not be quite good enough to get past the Celtics, and who Garnett has historically owned; he may not be getting a ring until Garnett retires if the celts continue to succeed at loading their team for bear. We did bring in a player who would eventually be a pivotal member of a championship team (Chauncey Billups), but we let him go. How do we get our next take-it-to-the-next-level player? Draft him? Maybe; we do have two first rouders as well as other assets we could use to trade up for a higher, even if we fail to get a top 5 lottery position. We have assets we could use to trade for picks in the 8-20 range if we want to increase our chances of picking up a Rondo-esque mid-to-late-first-round steal, especially if we feel this year’s draft is deep enough ti have a few of those.

    It’s not hopeless for us at this point; it just hurst to be clearly crappy for at least this year and most likely the next one or two, when we’ve had the luxury of at least being consistently mediocre.

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