Kyle Lowry’s return to being Kyle Lowry continued, but the Basketball Gods decided that we still haven’t seen enough heartbreaking losses at home, as the Raptors fell in a two-point overtime thriller in front of 18,674.

Here are some thoughts on the game:

Bulls 107, Raptors 105 (OT)

- I mentioned Lowry’s return to doing Lowry things above. Well after his fourth quarter explosion last night in Brooklyn, Kyle faced similar deficits when he checked in for Jose Calderon tonight, as Jose and the starters dug various holes in this one, but the big one was a 19-point hole in the third quarter. Lowry checked back in with 5:35 remaining in the third and didn’t sit down the rest of the way as he, along with players like Alan Anderson and Quincy Acy, led the Toronto comeback that ended in crushing fashion in overtime. When it was all said and done, Klow finished with 26 points on only 15 field goal attempts (11 free throw attempts) to go along with seven assists, five rebounds, two steals and zero turnovers.

Kyle Lowry is back, and it’s only a matter of time before he eventually reclaims his starting spot. That’s not a shot at Calderon, who had a bad game tonight, but it is necessary for the franchise to eventually move forward (For more on that, Zach Lowe wrote an in depth piece for Grantland on Wednesday).

- The overall effort from the Raptors on the second night of a back-to-back against two tough teams was admirable, but they also made some bad decisions down the stretch. There was the play with 25 seconds remaining in regulation where Carlos Boozer was defending without a shoe, and instead of attacking him, the Raptors called a timeout. There was the couple of times in overtime that Kyle Lowry seemed to pass up a chance to get into the lane to give the ball to Amir Johnson, who was covered by defensive stalwart Joakim Noah. There was the bad defensive decision by DeMar DeRozan towards the end of overtime to pressure Marco Belinelli and eventually take a needless foul.

On top of all that, there was a big missed free throw here and there down the stretch from Lowry, Amir Johnson and Alan Anderson, who combined to shoot 12-of-19 from the stripe.

- I’m fully aware that complaining about officiating in a close game is the stuff of homers, but come on, that was some shoddy, shoddy reffing (and I’ve also mocked poor officiating that benefits the Raptors this season). There were plenty of horrible calls on both sides tonight, but the two that stand out were the final two calls/non-calls of the game. First, Luol Deng scored the winning basket on what looked like a clear offensive foul (Deng pushed off on Landry Fields directly in front of a ref), and then on the next play, Amir Johnson looked to be fouled in the act, which would have put Amir at the line with a chance to tie, but the foul was called on the floor and the Raptors were forced to put up a potential game-tying shot out of an in-bounds with one second remaining.

Again, there was more to this loss than just poor officiating, but said officiating also certainly played a part, and we’ve been able to say that about too many close losses this season.

- The Raptors’ bench was huge tonight, as the second unit outscored Chicago’s bench 66-18 and actually outscored Toronto’s starters 66-39, thanks in large part to Lowry’s 26 and Alan Anderson’s 27 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Unfortunately for the Raptors, Anderson fouled out in overtime.

- One of those bench players that really stepped up for the Raptors was Quincy Acy, who seems to be developing some nice chemistry with Lowry. Acy finished with his best game as a pro so far, posting eight points on 4-of-4 shooting to go with six rebounds, a steal and a block in just 14:50 of playing time. Acy also drew four charges on the night, which factored into the Raptors’ second half comeback and into getting Carlos Boozer into foul trouble.

- I was critical of DeMar DeRozan in Tuesday’s loss to Brooklyn, and he wasn’t much better tonight. After hitting six of his first seven shots – which were mostly long twos – DeRozan went 1-of-7 the rest of the way and rarely attacked the rim en route to a so-so performance of 18 points in 40 minutes. DeMar also only grabbed three rebounds and added one measly assist while turning the ball over a couple of times and finishing as -12 on the night. Players are going to struggle through slumps, but the Raptors need DeRozan to fight through it and come up at least a little bigger in games like this.

- The usually reliable combination of Ed Davis and Amir Johnson didn’t have memorable nights either, as the pair combined for an ugly 16 points on 7-of-21 shooting to go with nine fouls and five turnovers (four of those turnovers belonged to Amir). Johnson did grab the offensive rebound that led to his game-tying free throw at the end of regulation though…he also missed what would have been the game-winner.

- Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls deserve a ton of praise for their strong first half of the season. Sure, they’ve lost some weird home games to inferior teams and have blown their fair share of second half leads, but at the end of the day, how many teams could start the season 22-15 without their franchise player? I wouldn’t be surprised if when it’s all said and done, Chicago wins close to 50 games this season and Thibodeau is in the hunt for another Coach Of the Year award. In fact, if you ask me, the Bulls have as good a chance as anyone to finish second in the East, and if they can get Derrick Rose back to full health before the playoffs start, they are the only team that has a fighting chance to stop the Heat’s reign atop the Conference.

Raptors Player Of the Game: Kyle Lowry – 26 Pts, 8/15 FG, 2/4 3PT, 8/11 FT, 5 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl in 34:29

Bulls Player of the Game: Carlos Boozer – 36 Pts, 16/24 FG, 0/1 3PT, 4/4 FT, 12 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO in 40:33 (Boozer has actually had a pretty good season so far while everyone complains about his game, including me.)

With the loss, the Raptors drop their third straight for the first time in over a month and fall 11 games under .500. In other words, we’ve officially reached that point where no one should be looking at the standings or talking about playoff races anymore until, like before, the Raptors actually get themselves back into some kind of race.

Because right now, they’re not in one.

Comments (29)

  1. Good to see lowry becoming aggressive and showing that hes the best player on the team. Damn, if only this team didnt have pylons for wing players. Im REALLY getting annoyed at BC for those field’s and derozan contracts.

  2. I remember someone getting really pissed at me on one of these boards when I said Jose’s games were a bit overrated since they came against bad teams; not hating here, but I think if he had as tough a schedule as Lowry did as a starter, he wouldn’t have near the numbers he has been getting lately. Although I can’t pin the blame on anyone individual; since the entire starting line-up had a tough shooting night.

  3. Lowry is the only star on this team, it’s about time he himself, and the rest of the team, appreciate that and act like it.

  4. i was predicate a 8-7 record in Jan but looks likely i’m littile bit optimistic

  5. While we are all about being fair although some here wouldn’t know fair if it bit him in the ass Jose was playing with a hip pointer his mobility was diminished. Lowry’s ankle held up and he was able to play through it. I really don’t see the conclusion some have reached that he is back. Lowry was never gone. Players are hot then they are cold, it’s that simple. But fantasize all you want. I’m sure it’s fun.

    Ed and Amir are having problems with big men. Ed especially hurries his shot and plays like contact is imminent most of the time. And replays showed just how much contact is happening under the net. This is a hole that will be filled if the big guys ever return. Gray is not fast enough and the small forwards can’t contain the big guys like Boozer, Lopez, and Cousins. That’s why these guys have all star nights against the Raps.

    DeRozen is really struggling with double teams. I remember Bosh having similar difficulties and it took him a season to figure it out. It seems nothing is coming easy to DeRozen and that’s alright. However if he doesn’t get it figured out this season or next I’m afraid his upside will have taken a hit. He has still got to get bigger and stronger. He has been getting hammered going to the rim and not getting the call from the whistles so has settled for the jumper. He needs space.

    Fields has shown some improvement but 8 Million? If he was obtained to get rebounds they have not got their money’s worth. He’s a nice player and maybe with big guys on the floor his game gets better. To be fair a look see at the end of the season should give more to talk about the acquisition.

    They didn’t win but a good effort. An effort good enough to beat some of the teams they have already lost to. That’s what makes everyone go grey a little earlier than necessary.

    • @Hope Caper…

      Lowry has been playing on a bad wheel all year…never has he been 100%. So here they come folks, excuses excuses excuses. When Calderon is the starter and the Raps were winning, the fans that have a boner for Calderon gave (and give) the total accomplishment to JC, the team didn’t win – the team won because JC was the starter – When the team loses, it’s excuse time and never Calderon’s fault. “He was playing with a hip pointer” problem…in other words folks….The lose tonight had nothing too do with JC it was others on the team that lost it for the Raps. BUT when they were winning ironically then it was JC (alone) who won the game for them, he was the winning ingredient.
      Oh by the way, Laundry earns 6.2 million – just another reason why nobody should or does take your knowledge and basketball insight seriously.

      • Pretty sure his contract is 3 years with 8 mil coming in the third; but excuse me if I’m not that interested in Fields.

        • interested enough to comment though! Its 6.2 mil per year for three years.

          • Your actually right its 6.2 million for three years
            the “poison pill revision” was only to be reacted in the case that new york put out a qualifying matching offer but they did not. This means that the contract was renegotiated yes but thats not a bad thing.

            I do agree fields is still a mystery himself but i’m sick of raptor fans throwing all the players under the bus. I think there are players that are worth keeping moving forward. Lowry, Derozan, Special Ed, JV, Ross. The rest I am still unsure of and even Special Ed and Derozan can be replaced. I am actually for shipping Ed out even though I’m a fan if it means that we can effectively package Bargnani with it as well. Although this doesn’t make the most sense because your getting rid of two power forwards.

          • Not trying to throw every player under the bus; he’s just not worth the contract he has

  6. I don’t really care about day to day wins, I’m just happy Kleiza and Pietrus didn’t play. More good decisions like that and the wins will come.

    Anderson is in the “Why is he playing?” group as well, just a crappy chucker.

  7. He’s got to see it.
    Sorry, a little long but needed to make my point.
    As I have read this site, I have never heard the writers say Calderon isn’t good; I’ve never heard them say Calderon isn’t a starter; I’ve never heard them say Calderon isn’t good for this team – and I 100% agree.
    They have said, they believe Lowry shouldn’t have lost his job because he was injured, they have said (while responding to the “who should start’ discussions) that pound for pound Lowry has more pure skills then Calderon. They never said the team will win more if Lowry is in the line-up, nor did they never said Calderon isn’t deserving for a starters position. They even agreed when Lowry came back that a couple of games of him coming off the bench would be good for him. And to this blogs credit they call out Lowry’s bad play when it happens. BUT when they call out JC’s bad plays or bad games “fans” of JC’s get very thinned skinned and lash out their tiring, boring, heard the same story about how is a winning PG (although seen a different result) – year after year the exact same comments about their golden boy.
    What I tend to like mostly like about this blog is that they have the “team” in mind when they speak, they think like “management of a team” would think to improve this team, instead of writing from the view of being a fan. They are fans, but they are more about building a winning team – as do I. IMO JC- insistents are really looking at his play and desire for him to be a Rap (not only a Raptor but the starter) through “fans” eyes – and here is why.

    When the Raps went on their “better playing” streak, fans of JC dove in face first crediting JC for the total accomplishment. Here is an example from Doug Smith at the Star who is a huge FAN of JC and consistently speaks of him through fans eyes – “I think this team operates far more smoothly with Jose as the starting point guard – and a 34-point first quarter yesterday and a 10-4 record of late proves me correct”. There it is, all the credit is gone to JC for that record. Oh by the way, the Raps are 11-11 this year with JC running the point and 2-5 in their last 7. …if beating sub .500 teams with JC as the starter makes this team better and 11-11 is what is better then your not wanting this team to win. We need to be better then 11-11 with JC running the show. So, history is repeating its self and again the Raps with JC at the helm are barely a .500 at best….AT BEST!!!!!! I wish I would have kept Doug Smiths quote when he said the Raps would be stupid not to sign JC back. He offered the idea of a 3 year 8-10 million dollar contract with a team option. Calderon is 31 will be 32 this year – so the suggestion is to sign a slow footed no defense 32 year old player till he is 35-36 at 10 million per year for a history of no better then .500 ball!??? And this is better for the team??? Even with the likes of Bosh and Marion a few years ago while JC while ran the point, he couldn’t lead this team to the ‘offs…but that wasn’t all JC’s fault though, right! They lost so it was a team effort. But they win a few games in mid-late December and it is all JC doings and NOT a team effort. That is what the quote above suggests. And if you read Smith’s blog that message is consistent.
    These types of comments are said due to the love of the player and not what’s best for this team…period! Thank goodness, this blog separates that.
    The reasons why the Raps started playing better after that lose in Portland on a cold December night:
    1. Team meeting after yet another horriable loss – the team discussed issue’s and agreed they didn’t want to be played as chumps anymore.
    2. That meeting brought a sense of urgency, an understanding of each individual needing to improve to have more commitment to team play and more commitment to rebounding and team defense as reported many times from many different sources – this news is not new yet never mentioned by JC fans.
    3. The next game Bargnani gets hurt – Raps are forced to play with Ed Davis at PF and Anderson comes back. This causes the Raps to allow (better percentage shooters) to take and make shots instead of Bargnani shooting. Example – AB takes roughly 25+ shoots per game to score 16 points at a 36% average, w/o rebounding, w/o rim protection, w/o blocks or altered shots, w/o defense. Now the team has Ed shooting 6 for 8, Amir 7 for 10 and Val hitting 6-8 that’s 19 for 26 the shooting percentage is improved all this w/o the great added play of Anderson which added a needed presence of scoring a defense from the bench. The team now has some assembly of interior defense, rim protection and better rebounding to go along with better scoring averages. The interior defense allows the exterior defense to improve. Also this was the time when Ross began to turn it on and not look so lost as well.

    These 3 reason are why the Raps started playing better – it just so happened to be when JC took over the starters job due to Lowry’s injury. Did Lowry need to adjust his game – of coarse he did, he himself said he did – but he was never given the chance to show those improvements as a starter – as a back-up he has, but as a starter he hasn’t. So how can JC fans say it was all JC and Lowry is not good as because of the horrendous start – the horrendous start was everyone’s fault, they winning is everyone doings! When I hear the BS about JC being the end all of this team winning I have to laugh (really hard) and take it with a sense of “well, that’s just a fan talking like a fan” no real insight or knowledge.

    • That was loooonnnggg bro but yeah i agree with you. Too many calderon fanboys fail to look at the big picture. Calderon starts and they beat 5 shitty teams in a row and its like “calderon is a great player-lets resign him.” Pure idiocy. I stopped reading smith’s blog a while ago. He constantly has BC’s cock in his mouth. Its sickens me. No objective analysis whatsoever. Funny thing is, I remember when Babcock was GM, Smith would criticize him like crazy. Anyways, back to lowry, he can do much more than calderon and should be the future pg. Its that simple. Yesterday in the 4th q and overtime lowry had the ball in his hands every possession because they badly needed his creation ability. Calderon cant do that. Nor can calderon ever go to the ft line in a game 11 times. Lowry is better player. Thats it.

      • @young james- so when’s chapter 2?

        • Yeah I know it was long – (that’s what see said!) lol…I personally skip by log winded reply like that. Glad you read it and agree me!

      • @AD

        Doug Smiths blog is comical to say the least to me now. His readers are well over 50 (and you can tell by the responses and questions asked) and he feels superior to them, his responses are consistant attacks on the readers if they aren’t complimenting him and no insight or proper feedback. He criticizes everyone who covers the Raps including this Blog numerous of times, stating that these reporters are not at a level of him and that these people are second tier informers. He has said to not believe sites like this one or Hoopsworld or Rotoworld because the information they give is not from a direct Raptors source – but him, he has the ultimate connections and untill he reports it, it aint true! Seriously boss, his words more or less….His blog is like a train wreck – I want to look away, but I can’t….for some reason I just want to stare and watch this wreck!
        On his blog today, he blames “bad screening” for the Raptors lost last night basically pinning it all on Ed Davis. Pointed out where Lowry went wrong and faulted a few plays on him which contributed to the loss. BUT nothing a JC – Not a peep!!!!! JC had a bad game, but in Smiths eyes it was Ed Davis, and Lowrys bad plays, mixed with the ref is why the Raps lost according to him! Just laughable, I get a kick out of it!
        I have to mention – He talked last week in his blog about “hanging out” with Method Man (because he appeared on OTR with him) he excepts us to believe that his 50+ ass was chillin’ down with Method Man… maybe, but i don’t think so!!! Smith goes as far to say “His name is Meth as we call him”…leaving the suggestion he is in Meth’s circle and gets the right to call him “Meth”. Everyone calls him Meth – ever since the Wu-tangs debut album in 1992 (Enter the Wu)…I couldn’t stop laughing when I read that! Long Live Doug Smith!!!!

        • I read this post this morning I’m glad to see as many of the readers of the blog as possible pour out their heart into their posts. It shows we have a passionate fan base that cares about this.

          I think that as a general rule of thumb it also indicates the maturity of the readers and the ability for everyone to form foundations for each argument.

          • Fuck the Raptors suck!

          • TrueTorontoFan, well said.

            The Raptors have one of the five most passionate/loyal fanbases in the NBA. We HAVE to be rewarded by the Basketball Gods eventually…hopefully we’re alive to see it

    • Youngjames, that might be the record for longest RaptorBlog comment ever, but you raised some solid points and we appreciate the love you gave the blog in there too.

      • @ Joe

        Yes sir, you deserve it, this blogs earned it! – I encourage many to visit this blog. As for did DS make attacking comments towards this blog? Yeah he has, which is a good thing – It draws attention and promotes this site! Once people come on here and read – the blog sells itself!

  8. It’s hard to win close games without production from the small forward position. I was a fan of Fields at the beginning of the season, but he now has so little confidence in his shot that he’s afraid to shoot the ball even when he’s wide open, and so looks frantically to dish it off whenever he gets the ball in the frontcourt.
    Put him back on the bench until he figures out that he won’t play if he doesn’t contribute offensively.

    • Fields has a huge psychological block to get over re: his shot. He spent 2 years trying to compensate for what turned out to be an injury, and post-surgery he’s still overthinking his shot and doing it all wrong. I remember watching his rookie season in NY – he played with incredible confidence, essentially the opposite of where he’s at now. He’ll get there.

      • Agreed. I agree with SR that the Raps NEED Fields to produce offensively, but he really does have a big mental block to get over with his shot, and we might not see him fully recover from that until next season when he gets to start fresh.

        I’m okay with him continuing to get minutes to get over that hump as long as he continues to defend and rebound, as well as moving perfectly off of the ball to open space up for his teammates.

  9. Everyone keeps saying derozen needs to get to the line more and blah blah .. Casey needs to step in . How can the guy get fouled when he takes long 2 point shots and post and fade . For a guy who doesnt shoot threes and has hops he should be going for more boards . Shit ross had nine the other night . Just frustrating

  10. Well now that the season is a wash we need to focus on making Lowry happy so that he’ll hopefully sign a long extension this summer. Handing him back the starting role sooner rather than later is imperative so that he’ll know he’s our guy moving forward.

    Trading Calderon should be easy. A veteran PG with an expiring contract is always in demand for contenders. Trading Barg’s will be more difficult obviously. My fear is that we’ll just end up trading our problem for someone else’s…if we could get some promising young guys or draft picks it would be great but unlikely. A better option (if he buys into it) could be to have Barg’s come off the bench as an offensive spark plug.

  11. those fuckin zebras were absolutely horrid last night its hard enough for us to beat the bulls how the hell can we beat them when the refs are giving them every fuckin call. the last 10 seconds of overtime deng pushes fields 2 ft off him and hits that 10 ft jimmy than amir drives as hes taking his 2 steps gets fouled and they call it on the floor leaving us with 1 second to shoot give us a fuckin break, were the home team the home team should get the benefit of the doubt. it makes me fuckin sick. now im not making excuses we did have a chances to win that game in the 4th when amir missed his second free throw to take a 1 point lead.

    • I hear ya steve o, but the reffing in the NBA has been suspect long before this game. Let’s just call it what it is; WWE style reffing.

  12. I think the raptors are tanking lost to bucks by 11 after up 20 against team u need to catch. Loss to bulls i can live with that cause we were down so much i think the refs just wanted go home they get paid by the game not by the length which explains those no call and bogus call. Freetghrows cost us game. Again tonight raps vs philly if u win u ahead of orlando det and one game back of philly instead now 3 back of philly fire the coach how u lose up by 17 at thebreak and up 4 with 9 secs left? Caldoron no where be found the whole 4th q and makes a bad inbounds pass like that? Why is landry mins every game so low? Why all of a sudden acy in the 2nd q instead of 4th or never? Andrson loses a tooth and cant return but lowry twists his ankle not only come back but cranks it up where was that intensity the 1st 3 qs matt delvin clueless coach doesnt give a shit until 4th q notice we let philly get back in it 3rd q and bucks in the 2nd unacceptable bryan c doesnt give a shit cause he knows he gonna be fired or not resigned any ways hate to say it i think we got 3 more years of this bullshit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *