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Coming off of one of their most impressive efforts of the season in a win against the Bulls, and with 19 000 people jamming into the Air Canada Centre for an affair with Steve Nash and Vince Carter, the Raptors responded with a completely listless, embarrassing performance.

Andrea Bargnani appeared to be the only Raptor ready to play in the first quarter, as Nash and Carter put on a clinic. Kid Canada had seven assists in the first quarter alone, and Vince poured in 11 points, as the Suns jumped out to a 21-7 lead, and eventually a 35-14 lead after one.

DeMar DeRozan came alive in the second quarter, and the Raptors finally started showing some fight. To give you an idea of how ugly this game was, fans were excited to “only” be down 18 at the half.

The Raptors continued to build momentum in the third quarter, and actually had the deficit cut to 12 midway through the quarter. But as quickly as they had fallen out of the game in the first quarter, the Raps did again in the third. A couple of Vince Carter buckets here, a couple of Nash dimes there, and the Suns’ lead had ballooned to 24 heading into the fourth.

By then, there was nothing left to settle. The Raptors had no chance of even sniffing a comeback, the fans had no chance of even sniffing free pizza, and everyone came to the realization that the highlight of the night had been a halftime performance by Toronto legend, Maestro Fresh Wes.

Aside from the Raptors’ 50 per cent shooting night, there were no bright spots. Bargnani shot an incredible 12-of-15, but looked lost in every other aspect of the game, as usual. DeRozan provided a spark when in the game, but he struggled through foul trouble and played just 24 minutes.

The Suns out-worked the Raptors from the opening tip. They got to every loose ball, ripped rebounds out of Raptors’ hands and silenced a solid crowd early on.

The game was over midway through the first quarter. I don’t care how bad your team is, how good the opposition is or how well you played last game. When you’re out of a home game six or seven minutes into it, that’s unacceptable.

Finally, before we put this game out of our memories forever, I wanted to mention something regarding Jay Triano. For the record, I don’t think Jay is at fault for what happened tonight. We’ll never know if games like this are a product of poor coaching or the result of trotting out a gutless team.

But I will say this. There are those that randomly jump to Jay’s defence after a great effort, like when the Raptors beat the Bulls on Wednesday night. Those fans point to efforts like that as the proof that Triano is doing a great job with this young team. My question to those fans is this: If you believe it is coaching behind a young team giving a full effort and playing above themselves, then wouldn’t you also believe it is coaching behind a young team coming out flat and unprepared?

Just some food for thought.

Raptors Player of the Game: Andrea Bargnani -35 Min, 26 Pts, 12-15 FG, 2-5 FT, 4 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

Suns Player of the Game: Vince Carter – 30 Min, 17 Pts, 7-12 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 1-1 FT, 7 Reb, 6 Stl, 1 Blk (I get the feeling the boos don’t bother him)

Goat of the Game: Sonny Weems – 12 Min, 1 Pts, 0-5 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 1-2 FT, 2 Reb, 1 Ast

Comments (10)

  1. The only interesting subplot (other than Barbosa fathering Nash’s 3rd child) is the body language of players on the roster vs. Bayless. t suspect that everyone hates the guy but it doesn’t really make any sense (other than the fact that he’s a shoot-first point guard). Still, some real animosity brewing. Nobody called out a blind-side pick on, and they just left him there on the ground. Also – players seem to almost avoid high-fives with him.

    After the trade D. Smith let fly a rare criticism of Colangelo. The point being that he wasn’t in touch with players reputations after they are drafted. So what, exactly is Bayless’s rep?

    And it begs the question: on a team with so many targets, why is this guy the goat?

  2. At this point, Toronto fans booing VC is like Myrna Loy insulting William Powell in The Thin Man — more cute than angry.

  3. Bayless is a bit of a chucker and seems like he’s often “lookin for his” when he’s out on the court. Doesn’t matter much though, both our point guards are just ballast until we can find something better.

    Also, I feel coaching is overrated. How can you be critical of Triano when this team has so little talent. All that wrath should be directed towards Colangelo. You bring in Popovich or Phil Jackson and how much better do you think we’re gonna do?? A couple more wins maybe. It’s not hard to be a great coach when MJ and Kobe got your back.

  4. Part of me wants to root for Bayless because of the talent, but he has the most obnoxious body language of any player I can remember, apart from maybe Eddie House. He acts like an arrogant teenage prick out there. I also don’t think he’s cut out to be a PG at all.

  5. I don’t think anyone blames triano for the record. Its the effort.

    I was at the game. I can’t remember a more boring experience.

    Obviously this mess of a team is BC’s fault, but I do believe a stronger coach could get a more inspired performance out of these overpaid scrubs. Jay is just not that guy, and again, BC has door a poor job of team building. In this case, finding a suitable coach.

    Last night, I truly became less of a Raptor fan.

  6. Here is a link to a great interview (40 mins) with Pete Vecsey, quite the prickly dude, but entertaining especially is Isaiah bashing. Use this link and scroll down to the Feb 23rd interview:

    http://podcastrss.play.it/steve-somers_mp3_128.xml

  7. Oh, and Wake Forest teammates James Johnson and Jeff Teague both wear 0 with their respective NBA teams. No more Hawk games for Raps to see this reunion this year.

  8. I got trashed on Raptors Republic for claiming that no one on the Raptors played well, including Bargnani. I was shocked when people said that he had actually played good defense in that game. Apparently my definition of good defense is vastly different than others.

    dm,

    The fact that Peter Vecsey is in the Basketball Hall of Fame completely discredits it. I’m so glad all the networks got tired of his act and he’s not on TV anymore (at least that I’ve seen). I couldn’t stand hearing Steve Somers kiss his ass as much as I did.

  9. http://www.tradebargnani.com

    Join the revolution!

  10. I came when Vince dunked.

    I laugh at all the moronic puck heads who downplay his importance to this franchise.

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