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