What a frustrating ball game to have watched if you’re a Raptors fan. A piss poor effort out of the gates basically handed the Mavericks a double digit lead, and though the effort level definitely picked up as the game went along, the Raptors were stuck between a deficit of nine to 13 points for the majority of the second half, prompting Jack Armstrong to utter the phrase of the night: “either make it exciting or put me out of my misery.”

Here are some thoughts on the incredibly frustrating game:

Mavericks 109, Raptors 104

- The defence, or lack thereof, is generally concerning right now, especially considering how tight the D looked out of the gates last season, but the major defensive concern is the first quarter. The Mavs dropped a 36 in the opening frame on 60 per cent shooting, the second time in as many nights the Raptors have allowed 30 points or more on 60 per cent shooting to open the game.

- A perfect example of the lack of effort I’m harping on was the fact that the Mavericks were out-rebounding the Raptors 31-13 at one point in the first half. The final advantage on the glass was 47-38 for Dallas.

- Andrea Bargnani enjoyed his best performance of the young season on Wednesday in Dallas and his overall numbers of 25 points and nine rebounds are obviously impressive, but Bargnani’s effort level to start the game was nowhere near what the Lowry-less Raptors needed from him tonight. On pure talent alone, Andrea should have been the best player on the floor in Dallas, and his numbers indicate that, but he chose to wait too long to prove it in this game.

- Bargnani’s lackadaisical effort in the first half was magnified by the fact that he was sharing the frontcourt with an energetic and aggressive Jonas Valanciunas, who for the second straight night, was the only Raptor who came out ready to play from the opening tip. Unfortunately, Valanciunas battled foul trouble, picking up five fouls (a couple of those fouls were pathetic ‘rookie calls’) in just 10:29 of action.

- Two guys whose efforts were monumental in getting the Raptors back in the game, or at least keeping the game somewhat manageable, were DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson. DeRozan enjoyed one of the more balanced games I’ve ever seen from him, finishing with 24 points, six rebounds and seven assists in 40 minutes of action while knocking down tough shot after tough shot in the second half. Amir finished with 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting to go along with 11 boards, and more than anyone else, it was Amir’s effort on both ends of the floor that stuck out in the second half.

It wasn’t all good for DeMar though…

- Landry Fields continues to pile up the awful performances in his short time as a Raptor. Whether it’s missing open threes, finding a way to brick layups or even bobbling balls when he has a hilariously clear path to the basket, Fields just keeps finding ways to one-up (or one-down) himself. Dwane Casey has to be thinking about making an early change to the starting lineup if Landry doesn’t pick up his play within the next week. I don’t doubt Fields’ effort or desire to help this team, but right now, he’s not doing anything resembling “helping” a basketball team.

- A random observation, regarding Aaron Gray. On Saturday night, I mentioned that Gray’s passing out of the post against the Nets really took me by surprise, as I had no idea the big man had that vision in him. Well apparently he doesn’t, because the “White Panther” couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with some of his passes out of the post in Dallas. Did anyone else notice that?

- Regular RaptorBlog readers and listeners know that I’m a big Dwane Casey guy, and I assume most Raptors fans are too, but Casey’s decision to stick with a lineup of John Lucas III, Alan Anderson, Dominic McGuire, Quincy Acy (who made his NBA debut in this game) and Amir Johnson for a significant stretch of the game was puzzling and frustrating. At first I thought the five man unit would simply be used to play out the final 55 seconds of the third quarter, but the lineup remained intact for the first few minutes of the fourth quarter as well, and it cost them. The Raps were down eight before the offensively challenged combination took the floor, but found themselves down 15 by the end of their four minute stretch, highlighted by McGuire being called for a five second violation on an inbounds out of a timeout.

- In one of the more interesting ways to heckle or troll Raptors fans I’ve ever seen, someone was sitting courtside in Dallas wearing a Canadian Mountie uniform, or at least that’s what it looked like on television.

- While it’s easy to pile on the Raptors for another poor start, the Mavericks also deserve some credit. O.J. Mayo’s filling the bucket, the team as a whole is making shots when they need to, and Rick Carlisle, one of the most underrated coaches in years, has this team playing very well right now considering the injuries to Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion (the Mavs were also without Elton Brand tonight). If the Mavs can even come close to keeping this level of play up by the time Dirk gets back on the floor, they may still be a factor in the West after all, though not at a title contending level.

Raptors Player of the Game: Amir Johnson – 18 Pts, 6/7 FG, 6/7 FT, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk, 1 TO in 28:51 (DeMar gets some serious consideration here, but Bargs woke up a little too late for my liking)

Mavericks Player of the Game: O.J. Mayo – 22 Pts, 8/17 FG, 3/6 3PT, 3/6 FT, 5 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl in 38:04

The Raptors host the 76ers on Saturday and the Jazz to open next week’s slate of games on Monday before taking on the Pacers and Celtics in two more road games. Even with Kyle Lowry, this team isn’t good enough to pencil in wins against very many teams in this league, but if they want to avoid a disastrous start to the season, they would probably be wise to bring their absolute “A” game into the home matchups against Philly and Utah, because those are two games this team can grab if they play up to their potential.

Lastly, if you’re holding out hope that Lowry can make it back for one of those games, there’s this:

Comments (18)

  1. I had to laugh when VC rejected DeRozan when the Raps were attempting a late fourth quarter comeback, it was a perfect microcosm of the young season thus far.

  2. Amir should have played more in that game. And while Bargnani woke up on offense, he never woke up on defense. He’s played bad defense throughout his career, but I don’t recall seeing it that bad in a long time.

    • Tim W.
      you must be the most biased thing ever felt around.
      With all the Raptors disasters you can well speak about, you keep picking on the guy who just went 25 and 9. What a joke you are!
      Why don’t you say how Lowry and Derozan looked absolut zeros against the Thunder? Why don’t you say how Davis and Amir are not basketball players at all, or how the santified Casey has’n teach anything to his guys, so that we don’t play either defense or offense at the moment?
      Plenty of subjects to speak about on this rotten team, but you keep harping on one of the very few players with a clear amount of technical skills

      • @C.d.G…

        Tim W is right. Yes, Bargs numbers are there, but just like last year – no fire in his belly, no winning pedigree in him, no passion. He comes out flat (the whole team did) knowing that the Mavs were down 3 starters. With Lowry out, it is up to DD or AB or JC to control the game in favour of the Raps. Watching them last night (and in OKC after Lowry went down) proves two things. They SUCK, no one on that team can create their own shot or take over a game and secondly they proved they are just 2nd best helper-players at best, the whole team. DD plays terrific with Lowry, he needs a Lowry, a player who wants to win and DOES it, not just says it. AB CAN’T start playing half way through the 3rd quarter -numbers aside, the team didn’t win, he didn’t dominate, therefore the numbers mean NOTHING! Its his job to carry the team on his back and win, he is the number 1 option for the Raps – Instead hecomes out playing a team downed 3 starters and his team gets behind by double digits before the 1st quarter is over. AND what does he do (or the team)doabout,NOTHING!….but, its not just AB, its on JC too. Lowry plays last night – we win, which shows you how much better a team is with a starting PG – JC isn’t a starting PG.

      • I’m not biased if I’m right. And unfortunately I’m right on here.

        I harped on Bargnani because despite some absolutely atrocious defense throughout the the entire game, he still played a game high 39 minutes. His continued presence on the Raptors is a blight on the franchise and holding the team back.

        Yes, the guy went 25 and 9, but even Leo Rautins couldn’t stop blasting the guy. They were empty stats.


  3. I would like to see JV and Amir more on the floor together (when Valanciunas is not in foul trouble) because Bargnani is pretty much awful when his shot isnt falling

  4. Last nights loss was due to Calderon….Honestly! All the other Raps players did what they do every game,in which case last year they lost most of because there wasno all-star, no Lowry. KL comes aboard and we can all see the difference in what an all-star PG makes to this team. Lowry keeps us in games at the very least and if he plays last night, we win…period!
    Calderon is too predictable, defenses know he cannot create his own shot, they know he won’t shot or attack the basket, the know he is going to dribble up the court to the side of the key and pass – how easy is that to defend. He plays a slow, boring game and always (like Bargs) seems uninterested. When the ball is stuffed down his throat, there is no immediate passion of wanting to show that guy he might have gotten the basket, but his team is gonna win. Its embarrassing! He looks like he is OK with losing and his play is indicative of that. He doesn’t play tough, he doesn’t play with an urgency to win he has shown this year and year out! And the results are there…This can be proven greatly by just watching the play of Lowry – that’s the difference between PGs that are tough winners and PGs that are not. Bargs, Amir, Davis are all playing the same way they did last year-they are guys that are not good enough to be starters…either by skills, by consistency or by dominating their position. DD has shown improvement so far this year and Lowry is the example of what I’m preaching about having that one player (your PG) take over and win the game for you! JC is the opposite of passion and dominating and taking over games. That’s why we lost. Anyone who thinks other wise,can….but they are wrong. Watching last nights game, was like watching last years team. The defense closes in on DD and the team rely’s on Bargs and Calderon to score, play tough, dominate and win- but they don’t. So we hope Amir or Davis comes of the bench and has a terrific night…With Val in foul trouble last night, Landry SUCKS, Ross was a non factor and Lowry out-it was the pathetic frustrating team of last year! Watching Bargs get pushed around, DD getting no calls, and Calderon silent, hidden and absent a non-factor, pisses me off to watch…why can’t this team see that!????. A winning team needs their PG to act like a QB and take his team to a victory! After all Amir double/double…DD looked great (pitched in offensively well -including rebounding), and Bargs (soft and non dominating or not) found a way to pitch in with 25/9…if a PG can’t take his team to a victory with that support, then its the PG’s fault!…Lowry would have found a”dubbya” out of last night with that support.

  5. hey youngjames


  6. Watching Bargnani nonchalantly gifting Troy Murphy with a rebound after his own shot was a microcosm of his career.
    That game taught me that the Raptors are way too nice of a team. No disrespect to Lowry/JV/JLIII, they look like a bunch of pussies.
    Highlight of the game: Aaron Gray chucking the ball into the bleachers out of a post up one foot from the hoop and nearly fooling the ref claiming that it was tipped. Close second: JV yoking on Chris “The Caveman” Kaman

  7. I cannot watch Primo-pasta play any more…i wana break my TV. He has absolutely no passion for this team/game…HE WATCHES THE BALL GET REBOUNDED BY THE OTHER TEAM WHEN HE IS AN ARM’s LENGTH AWAY…. no clue how any basketball player can let that happen. Also, he jogs up the court…doesn’t run up to get an advantageous position in the post.

    Bargnani’s game:

    -trail behind everyone else-shoot.
    -if no room to shoot:
    ——->try stupid pump fake and jump into the player
    ——->put head down and drive to the basket as the whole team challenges the shot, NEVER EVER pass at this point



  8. More ranting…..if i were BC, i’d bite the bullet and get rid of him. Keep calderon as a backup PG (and for his chemistry with the running bigs) and get rid of Primo, teams will take him on his talent. I’d rather have hustlers and fighters on this team.

    As a raptor fan, i’ve held out hope that he’d turn the corner especially after his mirage of greatness to start last season but now he needs to go. I’m done.

  9. I had high hopes for this year….. we’re 5 games into the season and I can’t beleive how pathetic this team looks right now. I’ve been patient and optimistic long enough Mr. Colangelo. Bargnani and Calderone’s inability to play anything remotely close to defence has given this team a bad name. You can see it in the opponents faces, they’re thinking, “this team is a joke” Colangelo likes to pride himself on aquiring likeable guys with no egos. That makes for good teammates and good practices, but in the reality of the NBA world, you need guys with attitude, swagger, and toughness. These elements have been sorely lacking for his tenure here as GM, and in turn has made Toronto a laughable franchise and opponent for years now, to the point where it almost seems like that will never change! (Think Chris Bosh… He was THE franchise guy for 7 years. Colangelo tried to build a team AROUND Bosh, a guy who has no personnality, swagger or ability to make clutch plays)

    Kyle Lowry was a great pickup. The problem is that Bargnani and Calderone are still here! This team will not change with those two guys in the lineup. Now let’s say they ship both players out of town…. What would those two guys fetch back in return? Not much in my opinion, and now we just lost our number one scoring option (which is sad really, considering he has no passion and is not clutch) They have no one who can create their own shot, and nobody who can play and win games in clutch situations (excluding Lowry imo). WHAT A FUCKING MESS!!!!

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