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Yup, that's Sonny taking another jump-shot

Friday night, lively crowd, great ball game, overtime, ten losses in a row. Hey, at least you got your money’s worth.

The Raptors faced another winnable game at home (if you can call any game on the schedule ‘winnable’ anymore) on Friday night, and though their performance was somewhat acceptable, the end result was loss no. 34 on the season.

The Raps came out with good energy in the first quarter, but were undone by absolutely brutal interior defence, particularly from Andrea Bargnani, leading to a 10-point deficit after one.

The second quarter was by far the Raptors’ best of the night, as they jumped out to a 10-0 run to start the quarter, and even started to stretch out a lead of their own as the quarter wore on. Alexis Ajinca was surprisingly good in that second frame. He made jump-shot after jump-shot from the top of the key, was solid defensively and even had a big block on little Earl Boykins. Leading the way though, for the Raps, was Jerryd Bayless, whose aggression and pesky play sparked Toronto to a 57-55 lead at halftime.

The third quarter was the Ersan Ilyasova and Corey Maggette show, as the Bucks began to assert their will on the court. The only thing keeping Toronto in it was the stellar effort being turned in by Amir Johnson.

The Bucks led by as many as 10 in the final quarter, and looked like they could run away with it, when Andrea Bargnani finally came alive. Bargs got hot at the right time for the Raps, and hit a jumper to tie the game with under a minute to play. Amir Johnson stepped to the free throw line with 18 seconds left to tie the game again, and the Bucks, like the Grizzlies on Monday, had 18 seconds to break the Raptors’ hearts.

Unfortunately for Milwaukee, Carlos Delfino could not channel his inner Rudy Gay, and he stumbled out of bounds, leaving Toronto with the ball and 2.8 seconds to do something with it. After calling back-to-back timeouts, the play the Raptors settled for was Andrea Bargnani shooting a turnaround jumper from the right corner. It never came close, and overtime was on the horizon.

Despite Bargnani’s obvious inability to guard Andrew Bogut throughout the ball game, it was Andrea trying to handle Bogut in the first minute of OT, and I think you can guess what happened. Bogut scored the first six points of the extra frame before the Raptors realized something wasn’t working. Amir switched over to guarding Bogut, and though the Raptors came back to tie it again, they ultimately came up six points short.

Onto some notes from the game now. I mentioned above that Ajinca was hot in the second quarter. The truth is his jumper was falling, but over the course of just 13 minutes, it became pretty clear that he has no offensive game; just a nice stroke. If defenders close in on him, don’t expect much.

Sonny Weems had a decent game on Friday night, finishing with 10 points and showing some nice passing ability with six assists. However, Sonny continued to settle for jump shots and finished 4-of-13 from the field, which included missing a wide open put-back. He certainly was not good enough to blow anybody away or steal minutes from a guy who’s been busting his butt for the last month.

Oh, I guess he was. Weems replaced Julian Wright as a starter to begin the second half, as Wright was having a bit of a rough game. Sonny finished with 43 minutes, Wright had 12. We appreciate all your hard work Julian, but you were always just one bad quarter away from losing your spot to an undeserving player. Wait until Kleiza comes back and chucks his way past you in the rotation.

The highlight of the night was definitely Matt Devlin and Jack Armstrong grabbing the mic and leading the crowd in a sing-along to “Living On A Prayer.” No joke, the crowd was ten times louder for that than they were for Rob Base’s halftime performance.

As I wrote up top, fans certainly got their money’s worth on this night, but that shouldn’t fool people into thinking the effort was acceptable. Yes, the Raptors fought back from another late deficit, had their chance to win it and forced overtime. Their effort on offence was commendable.

But there is another side to the story. The Raptors let the worst offensive team in the league (Milwaukee averages 91.2 points per game on 42.3 per cent shooting) score 104 points in regulation and shoot 55 per cent from the field. If someone thinks that a great effort went into that just because the game was exciting, they’re dreaming.

Raptors Player of the Game: Amir Johnson -34 Min, 24 Pts, 8-11 FG, 8-9 FT, 12 Reb, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Bucks Player of the Game: Ersan Ilyasova – 34 Min, 25 Pts, 9-10 FG, 2-2 3Pt, 5-5 FT, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk (Bogut and Maggette could take this place too)

Comments (8)

  1. It was so awesome to see the Bogut go at Bargnani in OT.

    Keep it rolling, tank nation!

  2. I’m all for bargs bashing, but how about Amir and Ed getting lit up by Illyasova??

  3. I don’t recall the Bucks going at Amir or Ed on consecutive possessions with the game on the line but whatever makes you happy, dude.

  4. Agreed, PBI. I made a similar comment on another forum.

    The Bucks didnt even try to hide it, It was a solo ISO vs Bargs. At least other teams screen, roll knowing they will have Bargs as the last man back at the end of it.

    Soft doesnt describe it. Non existent is closer.

  5. @PBI Like I said, my comments were not in defense of Bargnani’s uh, defense…

  6. I dont understand how people can still stick up for Julian Wright. He is a horrible basketball player. Just cause he hustles doest mean he should see the floor. His defence really isnt that good he gambles alot.

    The refs were pretty horrible in this game also. Its just hard to watch Bargs right now. His rotation on defence is pretty much no existant. He pauses about 2 seconds before he actually makes his move to recover. Hey if the refs had called that obvious foul in the final minute of regulation when Derozan stole the ball and passed to Sonny. Delfino hacks him and no call. Could have been the game right there. The refs knew they blew the call cause they call the bucks for the offensive foul at the other end but you dont get your 2 free throws for that.

  7. To be honest, I don’t recall a point in the game where I thought Ilyasova was going off on a specific player or two. He was great, but he was hitting some tough shots that were usually contested. As for Bogut, he had a clear view and/or path to the basket when Andrea guarded, and wasn’t forced to work for his scoring until Amir was switched onto him.

    David, yes, the refs made some horrible calls, yet again. And I do recall the specific late-game foul you are talking about. I even remember seeing the offensive foul you mention as a clear “make up call.” As for your opinion of Wright, I don’t think he’s a great player or that his hustle alone should earn him minutes. But on this young, 13-34 team, he should be a starter, as he is the team’s best defender and hardest worker, and usually plays within himself on offence. My point was, how can you limit him to 12 minutes when a guy who usually tries to shoot his team out of the game (Weems) and seems to have a low basketball IQ gets 40-plus minutes?

    I also realize that I failed to mention Jay Triano’s horrendous timeout call near the end of regulation, with his team running a 5-on-4 fast break. It was one of the worst, most thoughtless timeout calls I’ve ever seen.

  8. Was I the only one who thought Barg’s defense on Bogut wasn’t that bad (at least in OT, I didn’t catch the early part of the game)? Bogut made 2 hook shots, the last one from pretty deep. There’s no defending that shot.

    And I love Amir, he played great last night, and really battled with his sore back. But if we’re going to critique defense he jumped at every pump fake Ilyasova threw at him, including one leading to 3 FT’s at the end of the half.

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