If you thought watching the Raptors blow a 10-point fourth quarter lead in their home opener was crushing, how about blowing an 11-point fourth quarter lead and eventually losing in triple-overtime to fall to 1-6 on the season?

Some thoughts on the most “Raptors” of Raptors losses…

Jazz 140, Raptors 133 (3-OT)

- DeMar DeRozan had a night to remember with 37 points, eight rebounds, six assists and two steals in a ridiculous 60 minutes of playing time. Yes, he took too many threes, turned the ball over five times and took 33 field goal attempts in total, but anyone who watched this game knows that DeRozan was the only Raptor willing to step up down the stretch, and the guy deserved a boat load of free throws in addition to the seven he attempted. The fact that DeMar didn’t end up with at least 12 free throw attempts in this game despite consistently attacking the rim and drawing contact is a travesty.

Just to tug on your heart strings a little more, how amazing would it have been had the Raptors gotten a stop after this and won the game on this DeRozan jam?

- The whole “refs hate the Raptors” theory has existed for a while, but I’ve never really bought into it until this season. I don’t mean that I now actually believe the refs have it in for Toronto and I’m not going to say this team would have four or five wins with more balanced officiating (there’s a lot more to a 1-6 start than just the refs), but you have to admit that the officiating hasn’t exactly been close to fair through seven games. The Raptors out-hustled and out-fought the Jazz for the majority of the night, they out-rebounded Utah, they outscored them in the paint and generally attacked the basket more often, and yet the Jazz still had the benefit of the whistles, as Utah attempted 13 more free throws than the Raptors.

Nothing summed up this discrepancy more than Mo Williams literally kneeing Jose Calderon a couple of times on one play without a whistle.

- Up until Al Jefferson (who was a 1-for-25 career three-point shooter coming into this game) rattled home the game tying three with less than three seconds left in regulation, the Raptors had led from the opening tip, and had an 11-point lead with 6:14 remaining. The Jazz didn’t take their first lead until it was 105-104 in the first overtime period.

- Dominic McGuire got the start at small forward for Toronto, and while his defence was pretty good throughout the game, he also committed what was probably the contest’s stupidest mistake. Down three in overtime, McGuire had the ball on a fast break and had DeRozan open in front of him, running ahead of the pack to the basket. Instead of passing the ball to DeRozan for what should’ve been an easy two points, McGuire tried to take it himself. The play ended up with an out of bounds call against the Jazz, and the Raptors got nothing on the subsequent inbounds play. Way to know your role, Dom.

- Jonas Valanciunas picked up a fourth foul early in the third quarter, and for some reason never touched the floor again after that. Ed Davis and Amir Johnson were giving the Raptors great minutes down the stretch, so I was fine with Dwane Casey sticking with them, but Andrea Bargnani gave the Raps little if anything after halftime and when Amir fouled out in overtime, I would’ve preferred to see Valanciunas get some crunch time minutes rather than Aaron Gray. Valanciunas finished with 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting in just 16 minutes.

- I mentioned the great play off the bench from Johnson and Davis. The pair combined for 15 points (on 7-of-12 shooting) and 23 rebounds, including an impressive 13 offensive rebounds that kept many Raptors possessions alive in the second half.

- Jose Calderon’s final stat line of 20 points (on 50% shooting) and 17 assists looks good, and he hit some big shots for the Raptors throughout the game, but overall, Calderon still left a lot to be desired. He committed some costly turnovers at crucial stages of the game, and more than anything, his fear of contact really stuck out in this game.

There were two occasions where a weak missed layup attempt from Calderon (because he was trying to avoid contact) ended up in a Jazz bucket at the other end. One of those Jazz buckets was a three, which led to a Calderon technical for arguing that he was fouled, and an overall four-point play. Jose may very well have been fouled on that play, but if he takes the ball harder to the bucket and puts his body on the line instead of trying to avoid the contact, he probably either converts both layups and/or gets the foul calls instead of the Jazz getting six points.

- Another close loss, and another reason to be disgusted with Andrea Bargnani. As usual, Bargs came out aggressive in the first quarter and had 10 points less than seven minutes into the game in addition to playing focused defence. Unfortunately, Bargnani didn’t feel like expending much effort on either end in the second half or overtime, and certainly didn’t earn anywhere near his final total of nearly 49 minutes played. Andrea finished with an unimpressive and very empty 19 points on 5-of-16 shooting.

- Keeping with the Bargnani/Calderon criticism, their pick-and-roll defence in overtime was among the porous I’ve ever seen in an NBA game.

- Linas Kleiza provided 20 points off the bench and did most of his damage in the first half before eventually fouling out, but Kleiza still took too many long twos and forced shots for my liking. He’s not usually going to make those shots, and when he doesn’t, the failed attempts are only back-breakers for a team that doesn’t need any more of those. I did like Linas’ effort on the glass, though, where he collected seven rebounds.

Raptors Player of the Game: DeMar DeRozan – 37 Pts, 16/33 FG, 1/6 3PT, 4/7 FT, 8 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl, 5 TO in 60:00

Jazz Player of the Game: Paul Millsap – 34 Pts, 11/16 FG, 3/4 3PT, 9/10 FT, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk, 1 TO in 43:40

After thinking it was too early to hit the panic button just a few days ago at 1-4, I’m now officially panicking at 1-6. Forget how close the Raptors have been to grabbing a few more wins or how they “should” have won games against the Pacers and Jazz if not for fourth quarter lapses. This team is 1-6, has to travel to Indiana for the second night of a back-to-back after this excruciating marathon of a loss, and then heads out to Boston to face the Celtics on Saturday.

If they’re better than 1-8 heading into what I bloody well hope is a winnable home game against the Magic on Sunday, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Comments (25)

  1. You are right on about the refs. I know the thinking is you must earn refs respect, blah,blah,blah but how many times did Demar not get the call. Even Bargnani got hit a few times.

    Speaking of Bargnani, it seems like he didn’t want to shoot, and if he don’t wanna shoot why is he on the floor.

    I woulda went with Jonas after Amir fouled out.

  2. does casey need to be worried about his job? i should hope not, but still

  3. The refs weren’t with us, and neither was Bargnani. The team is missing something, and as much as I hate to say it, Primo will bring something to get us there. Milsap showed us what it’s like to have an option at PF.

  4. What the hell has happened to the defense? I attributed most of the defensive improvement of the team from last season to playing a slower pace and scoring being down league wide during an irregular schedule (rather than possessing actual decent individual defensive talent) but I didn’t expect them to slip as much as this. They are getting lit up most nights.

    I’m really conflicted, would like to see some (any) signs from this team that they are capable of playing well but at the same time, after this start and with the potential of Colangelo finally being let go followed by them moving on from Bargnani, I also don’t mind some struggles hoping they’ll lead to some changes.

    • The comment box is telling me that amen is too short. But amen.

    • I’m sick of Bargnani. Seven years is far too long for a relationship like this. We should have broken it off a long time ago. Make a breakup mix-tape and show him the door.

  5. I’m glad I’m not the only one who saw the lopsided officiating. The Raps certainly out-hustled and out-played the Jazz much of the game and got nothing from the refs, what a fucking joke! If there’s one thing that turns me off from watching basketball (the NBA at least) its the crap officiating.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raps are 1-8 by week’s end, this team (as it is right now) stinks.

  6. Derozan!!!!!!! Even in a loss, that was an unreal effort. The dunk in OT1 was the best part, but overall to see him step up like that… is worth the loss, IMO.

    Reffing was atrocious in the last 2 mins of regulation, shouldn’t have even gone to overtime.

    Also very solid game from Amir. Bargs/Calderon put in a good effort but Bargs disappearing down the stretch was pretty disappointing. The fact that Derozan was shooting ill advised shots down the stretch, that’s not his bad, it’s no one else stepping up offensively to help shoulder it (cough Bargs cough).

    Why no Jonas in OT, or for key defensive sequences? We obviously needed someone to guard the basket, and I like Aaron Gray a lot more when he is waving a towel, with all due respect. Dunno why all the hype over JV when you’re not even gonna use him in a 3OT game with ppl fouling out…. figure it out!

    • i have the same question as you,where’s JV in the OTs? i know he got 4 fouls in only 16mins but why put Gray out when you still have JV on the bench that could make an impact in the game?DeRozen was unbelievable but Andrea was disappointing..raptors could used 10points from him during the overtime

  7. I really sincerely believe that the NBA, at the behest of the TV networks, manipulates everything from games to draft lotteries to screw the Raptors.

    The refs have orders not to call games in the Raptors’ favour.

    I am not joking.

    I believe this with every fibre of my being.

  8. I said before and I will say again.,lets get tucking Barge out and I’m officially call him out as raptors from today.

    Despite the result I’m actually happy about the team effort we put in and impress about DD’s step up in OT

    If we keeping fighting like this we could get a W in pacer or celtics

  9. I disagree with having a pg banging in the paint. Makes no sense. Its the most important role on a team and the PG is actually the most fragile player on the team.

  10. Chris, you are absolutely correct. The Rap’s are one of the worst teams in the league and that’s the way the league wants it. The top teams need their cannon fodder, or else they wouldn’t be top teams. Where would the Globetrotters be without their Generals.
    There’s much that goes on behind the curtain we’re not aware of…while we mindlessly cheer for our heroes. This is all a business and our General’s shareholders are happy counting their money.
    The fix is in. Pro hockey, bball, Olympics, whatever, it’s all obscene. If you love sports then support your local high school team, throw the football around in your back yard, and hope athletics keep the teenagers away from negative influences. That’s what sport is all about.

  11. Joseph, it’s pretty sad that you are fanning the flames of all this tin foil hat bullshit.

    What the hell does blowing multiple double digit 4th quarter leads in the first 10 days of the season have to do with officiating? They are just completely clueless on both ends of the court down the stretch of games.

    • I think I’ve made my criticism of the team and certain players pretty obvious through two weeks of the season, so I don’t know where you get that I’m pinning their record on the officiating. I actually clearly wrote: “I’m not going to say this team would have four or five wins with more balanced officiating (there’s a lot more to a 1-6 start than just the refs).”

      But having said that, I think it’s sad if people can’t recognize that the Raptors have been on the wrong end of some inconsistent calls so far this season, especially in this game. You can criticize the refs without blaming them for a crappy record, and that’s what I did.

      This team hasn’t been good enough so far, and I won’t deny that. I just also won’t deny that the officiating hasn’t been good enough either.

    • Did you watch the game. I think this game can be solely blamed on the refs. Even Leo who usually doesn’t bitch about the refs said it was disgusting. Derozan shoulda got the and1 on his last dunk. I would hope someone on the raps would say something publicly even if it gets them a fine

  12. Before McGuire committed the ‘contest’s stupidest mistake’ in OT, he also factored in on the play that Jefferson hit the three on, forcing the overtime itself. Watch the play. McGuire could’ve gotten into Jefferson’s face. He could’ve tried to defend. He did not. He stood there like he was strolling in the park.

    Of course, had he attempted to defend that shot the refs would SURELY have called a foul (there or not) but it would’ve then been up to Jefferson to hit three of three from the line.

    • Just watched the replay of that Jefferson 3 pt play and it looked different on TV than it did in person. Maybe I was just focused on McGuire at the time, but he wasn’t actually as close as I had thought. So, take-back.

  13. Trade bargnani i really thought that he was turning the tide after last years season but i guess not. Lets get a real power forward please. And if the raptors even consider firing dwayne casey im done with this team. Fire colangelo

  14. Refs may have been terrible but if you’ve been watching this team for long enough, you should have had that sinking sensation in the pit of your gut once that 11-point lead started to dwindle that the Raps were going to blow it. It was nice of them to prolong that miserable sense of the inevitable for 3 overtimes, though.

    We must all be sadists, there can be no other explanation. MLSE should organize a fan appreciation night where everyone comes dressed up in leather and chains. Babies, grandmothers, everyone. Block off the bathrooms, let everyone go in their seats. Give away a free slice of terrible pizza so they come back for more.

    Watching another team go after Jose and Bargs in the pick and roll, possession after possession, in double and triple overtime, this many years into sucktitude, made me realize there is a special hell for Raptors fans. We’ve just been getting a long preview. Watch it again. Bargs, gassed or lazy (or both), flashes as uselessly as possible, while Jose seems to literally disappear from the screen as he gets lost in a pick and can’t find his way out. Again and again until BC’s contract is renewed.

    This is the franchise that sells fans on “culture change,” but keeps around its pillars of losing. Hope? He’s being benched so Aaron Gray can get some run. The only two players on this team I can actually look forward to watching are Lowry and JV. With one out and one benched, I may as well be sticking needles in my eyes.

    • Agreed. I’ve always hated “trade _________” chatter, which is usually too emo and rarely objective. But I’m more convinced than ever that Bargs takes just as much off the table as he puts on it.

  15. we should trade bargs,kleiza n calderon.. we are losing alot because of injuries, but really and truely we need a star on this team too much rotation players, we should lose n hit da lottery so we can draft Andrew Wiggins, he’s star quality n has alot of promise to him, imagine lowry,derozan, jonas, wiggins n who ever we get in trade, team will be tough in 2-3 years

  16. The other thing I noticed last night, particularly in the 4th quarter and OT, was a lack of ball movement on offence and, as a result, a lack of easy looks in the half-court offence – most of the time either Demar or Bargs needed to beat their guy one on one to get to the hoop, which is not an easy way to make baskets. Utah, on the other hand, moved the ball a lot better, which meant open looks at 3s and their bigs getting the ball deep in the post.


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