As Scott alluded to today in his game thread, an entertaining game was expected between two young teams that can score with the best of them and don’t really like to play defence.
Without Amir Johnson or Reggie Evans, the Raptors were fighting an uphill battle before the opening tip. It also didn’t help that something or someone stripped the team of its collective pride and heart before the game started.
It was evident in the early minutes that defence would be an after-thought in this one, as both teams ran at a break-neck pace on the offensive end in the first quarter. James Johnson and DeMar DeRozan had the Raptors in the ball game early on, but it didn’t last long.
Golden State hung a Raptors franchise record 45 first quarter points on Toronto and showed no signs of slowing down in the second quarter.
Of course, the Raptors also did nothing to slow the Warriors down, rolling out the red carpet and practically begging the Warriors to drive the ball through the paint and down their throats.
By the time the buzzer sounded to bring the first half to a close, four Warriors were already in double figures, the Raptors were already down by 26 and had given up a franchise record 84 first half points.
For anyone associated with the team, as a coach, trainer, management team member, fan, or otherwise, it might have been the most embarrassing 24 minutes of basketball they will ever witness. It just didn’t seem as bad at the time because their 20-52 team hasn’t played a meaningful game in months.
Are the Warriors a better basketball team than the Raptors? Absolutely. Do the Raptors have a sub-par defensive roster? You betcha. But believe me, this had nothing to do with skill, youth, injuries (Calderon left the game early with a hamstring injury) or defensive ability. The Raptors simply didn’t feel the need to put in an honest effort or an honest day’s work on Friday night. They showed up without heart and left without pride.
For all intents and purposes, they quit early in the second quarter.
There’s nothing to really say about the second half at this point. The Raptors “settled things down” on defence, allowing just 54 points in the second half and stopping the Warriors at 138. If you’re wondering, Golden State shot 61 per cent from the field…in the game, not just in one quarter or one half.
I won’t waste any more words or any more of your time on this game, because if you’ve read this far or unfortunately actually watched the game, it means you’ve already expended more energy than the team you follow did tonight. And they get paid a lot more than you do to use that energy.
The Raptors don’t have to win on Saturday night against the Clippers to prove a point, but they do need to come out with one of their better efforts of the season just to prove that they haven’t checked out early and won’t simply play out the string.
Raptors fans should be thinking ahead to the draft and next year. But the players should still be focused on doing their jobs.
Raptors Player of the Game: James Johnson – 36 Min, 14 Pts, 6-11 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 2-4 FT, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk (I really considered leaving this space empty, but Johnson seemed to be the only Raptor who gave a crap tonight)
Warriors Player of the Game: Monta Ellis – 42 Min, 27 Pts, 9-17 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 6-6 FT, 4 Reb, 10 Ast, 4 Stl
Goat of the Game: Andrea Bargnani – 27 Min, 7 Pts, 2-10 FG, 3-4 FT, 5 Ast (That’s right, ZERO rebounds in 27 minutes for a seven-footer)