Archive for the ‘Reggie Evans’ Category

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Is that Andrea digging down on defence?

If you look at the final score and the box score, you would assume you missed a good, tight basketball game.

The truth is, it was a dud.

The game was ugly, especially the first half. It wasn’t even that one team played exceptional defence, but rather that both teams were brutal offensively. The poor shooting did make for a close game though, as neither team opened up a lead of more than seven.

The Raptors didn’t seem to have their legs under them for most of the night, and were out-hustled for three quarters. The only reason we still had a ball game to watch heading into the fourth quarter was because of the play of Andrea Bargnani and Sonny Weems. The two accounted for 59 percent (55 points) of Toronto’s offence tonight.

The fourth quarter was the difference-maker, as the Raps opened the final frame on a 6-0 run to take the lead, watched the Sixers jack up awful shot after awful shot down the stretch, then forced three turnovers in the final couple of minutes to seal it. A DeRozan steal with the Raptors up only one in the dying minutes seemed to be the clincher.

Overall in the fourth, Toronto outscored Philadelphia 25-15, including a 9-1 run in the final 3:20 to close the game.

Reggie Evans had his usual day at the office, grabbing 14 rebounds in 31 minutes and sparking the Raptors’ defence. Amir Johnson fouled out in the fourth quarter, but that’s something Jay should let him do almost every night. Amir brought his usual hustle and did contribute defensively in his 14 minutes of action.

At the point, Jose Calderon bounced back with a solid outing of 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Jose has played well for most of the last two weeks, but the other “head” of what was supposed to be a two-headed monster at the point has not.

Jarrett Jack continued to struggle. He forced poor shots on a night when he was bricking everything and took some cheap fouls. Effort is not something you have to worry about with Jarrett, but his play overall seems to have hit a rut.

On a side-note, has anyone else noticed that Jack runs a fast break with his head down? He often misses opportunities for easy assists because he either looks off guys like DeMar and Sonny running down the wings or fails to notice them at all.

A 2-2 road trip is probably what most would have considered the best-case scenario last week. With the schedule beginning to lighten up, the time is now for the Raptors to make a move up the standings. If they can’t get it done over the next month or so, they never will this season.

Raptors Player of the Game: Andrea Bargnani – 36 Min, 30 Pts, 12-18 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 5-6 FT, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

76ers Player of the Game: Elton Brand -40 Min, 27 Pts, 9-19 FG, 9-11 FT, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

Goat of the Game: Jarrett Jack – 23 Min, 6 Pts, 2-13 FG, 0-4 3Pt, 2-2 FT, 1 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 TO

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that the Raptors followed up two solid outings in Orlando and Miami with a massively disappointing effort in Washington last night, but the idealist in me wanted to believe that they might have turned a corner and were going to play with heart and energy every game going forward. Instead, they looked lifeless and confused as a Wizards team playing without John Wall took a 26-point lead in the third quarter and thoroughly buried this sorry squad. It was, as Jay Triano aptly put it at halftime, “a horses**t effort”.

(What’s with Triano’s swearing lately? He isn’t trying to get fired, is he?)

In eight previous games this season, the Wizards had failed to shoot over 50 percent in any single game and entered last night with the league’s worst offence. Against the Raptors’ porous defence, they shot 56 percent fromt the field and scored seemingly at will in the paint. I wouldn’t have been totally shocked if Gilbert Arenas had lit the Raptors up for 40 because he’s certainly capable of that. Instead, he scored a relatively modest 20 points while Andray Blatche, Kirk Hinrich, Hilton Armstrong and Nick Young each scored in double figures and combined for 65 points on 64 percent shooting. It seems the Raptors are the cure for an ailing offence.

Washington outrebounded Toronto 47-36 on the night, but that was mostly a result of the Raptors missing 16 more field goal attempts than the Wizards. Of course, Andrea Bargnani’s two rebounds in 28 minutes didn’t help but we’re used to that by now, right? Unfortunately, he also went 3-for-13 from the field and was typically useless on defence. Reggie Evans wasn’t any better on that end, as we’ll see in the following two clips.

The shame about this play is that Bargnani actually tried to help when DeMar DeRozan got beat by Nick Young along the baseline. The problem is that Bargnani didn’t return to his man after Young passed the ball and DeRozan recovered, leaving Hilton Armstrong by himself. You can see Bargnani asking for someone to cover for him, but it appears he didn’t notice that DeRozan was right next to him. If any of you think that Bargnani isn’t specifically at fault here, I’d love to hear why in the comments. Part of what I’m doing with these videos includes educating myself on exactly why this team sucks at help defence.

How does a hulking power forward like Reggie Evans average a steal-and-a-half per game? Because he likes to gamble like in this desperate attempt to pick off a pass to Andray Blatche. This is just dumb defence and it’s an example of how activity doesn’t necessarily equate to effectiveness.

It’s hard to pick out a bright spot from last night’s debacle, but Sonny Weems continued to impress with his smart, efficient play on both ends of the court. Check out this sequence late in the first quarter (when the game was still within reach) where Weems does an outstanding job defending Al Thornton and then backs down Kirk Hinrich in the post for a spinning bank shot.

It may sound crazy if you haven’t been paying attention, but Weems has been the Raptors’ best player over the past four games. Of course, if he’s the best player on an NBA team… your team stinks.

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It was this easy for the Wizards all night

I don’t know what was more embarrassing tonight; the road team’s effort or the home team’s crowd. The Raptors got spanked in every facet of basketball in front of 11 000 lifeless fans. If this recap was limited to 20 words or less, that would be it.

One thing we can say about this Raptors team is that they are very easy to read in the game’s opening minutes.

You can tell when they are going to come out and play balls to the wall, as they did in their Florida back-to-back on the weekend, and you can tell when they are going to play like a star-studded team that thinks they can coast. Tonight was the latter, and as Washington proved, the Raptors are as far away from being a star-studded team as Gilbert Arenas is to being a model citizen.

The Raps were down four after one quarter and trailed by just seven at the break, but if you watched the first 24 minutes, you knew it should have been much, much more. They settled for jump-shots, which they missed, they seemingly chose not to rebound or defend and they showed absolutely no emotion. For a young team lacking star-power, that’s a catastrophic combination, no matter the opponent.

At one point in the third quarter, after Reggie Evans converted a board and bucket, he appeared to yell “wake your asses up!” to the rest of his team as he ran down the floor. Thanks for vocalizing Canadian ball fans’ frustrations tonight, Reggie.

Aside from Reggie’s usual intensity, Weems brought some hustle, Kleiza showed a little life in his return to action, and Jarrett Jack showed some heart, but was ineffective overall. Other than that, the rest of the roster was, for the most part, abysmal.

You have to wonder what was going through Jay Triano and the coaching staff’s minds tonight. If they even began to believe for a minute that this team had gotten over the hump from a consistent effort standpoint, they were jolted back to reality tonight.

Tonight’s loss had nothing to do with coaching, so I don’t want to take shots at Jay. But there was a point in the third quarter where it was still only a 10-15 point game, and he trotted out a lineup of Calderon, Banks, Weems, Andersen and Evans. Really, Jay?

Tomorrow night the Raps are in Philly to take on a 2-9 Sixers team that might be without Andre Iguodala. They seem ripe for the taking, but you should never count on this Raptors team in ideal situations, like you should never count them out in adverse situations.

Raptors Player of the Game: Linas Kleiza – 20 Min, 15 Pts, 7-11 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 1-2 FT, 5 Reb

Wizards Player of the Game: Andray Blatche – 32 Min, 22 Pts, 9-13 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 3-4 FT, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 3 Stl

Goat of the Game: Jose Calderon – 17 Min, 3 Pts, 1-8 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 TO

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Stomach problems and the Raptors' D couldn't stop Tyreke Evans from doing what he wanted do

New look, new youth, new team, but boy, do they still know how to blow it?

If you’ve watched any Raptors basketball over the last few years, you have become way too used to this. The Raptors come out flying on the road, probably the West coast, build up a sizable lead, slowly watch it fade in the third quarter, then totally kick the bucket in the fourth.

Tonight in Sacramento, Toronto found itself up 17 after one quarter and up 11 heading into the half. After allowing just 16 points in the first, the Raptors allowed at least 27 in each of the last three quarters.

The Raptors looked like they were going to hang in there in the third. Sacramento would cut into the lead, and the Raps would respond with a couple of big buckets to stretch it out to 15 or 16 again. However, as soon as Tyreke Evans re-entered the game (he sat out the first portion of the third with stomach problems), the tempo changed, and you could feel loss no. 2 coming. Don’t act like you weren’t thinking it.

There were some bright spots. DeMar DeRozan tied a career-high with 24 points and got to the line for 14 free throws, Andrea Bargnani continued to light it up offensively with 28 points, and Reggie Evans continued to pull down every rebound in sight, finishing with 19.

Having said that, there were negatives to match all of those. DeRozan missed some key free throws down the stretch, Bargnani grabbed two stinking rebounds, and let’s be honest, if Reggie Evans is your MVP through three games, your in rough, I mean nasty rough, shape.

I understand that this was a road game in a tough environment and it was the opposing team’s home opener, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the Raptors simply wilted, offensively and defensively. It’s not like they lost a tough road game that was close throughout; they lost a game that they had in their back pocket. And with all due respect to the young Kings, they’re still not good enough to justify that Raptors collapse.

To finish tonight, here’s a helpful tip for Jay Triano. Never, ever finish a close game with both Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani on the floor. It’s a suicidal duo. I counted five times between the two of them that they simply held back from a loose ball in the final five minutes or so. All five of those balls ended up in the Kings’ hands.

Raptors Player of the Game: Reggie Evans – 32 Min, 6 Pts, 2-6 FG, 2-5 FT, 19 Reb, 2 Ast (Guys like Bargnani, DeRozan and Kleiza wouldn’t have been able to score the way they did tonight had it not been for Reggie creating second and sometimes third-chance opportunities)

Kings Player of the Game: Tyreke Evans – 37 Min, 23 Pts, 9-6 FG, 5-7 FT, 7 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Goat of the Game: Leandro Barbosa – 12 Min, 2 Pts, 1-6 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 3 Reb, 3 TO

Ron Turenne

Hey look, a new mascot. It's the Mini Raptor...I wonder if he can play backup point guard?

Many, including myself, weren’t quite sure what to expect from the new-look Raptors. One thing we were sure of though, was that the margin for error with this team was minuscule. If you didn’t believe that, tonight’s opener against the Knicks proved it.

Toronto started the game with energy and got off to a decent start. The Raptors were also the better team for most of the second half. From a defensive standpoint, things looked better, and dare I say, the Raptors appeared to be an average defensive team tonight.

Really, it was about a 10-minute lapse of concentration in the first half, a 10-minute lapse of defensive effort and no more than 10 minutes of poor basketball, and yet it resulted in a five-point loss and an 0-1 start.

Get used to it.

This team is better than a lot of so called experts give them credit for, but they are barely good enough to get away with a poorly executed possession, let alone get away with a full 10 minutes of bad basketball.

Aside from the aforementioned first half stretch, a lack of shot making (36-94 FG), both from the field and the charity stripe (18-24 FT), contributed to tonight’s loss.

Who would have thought we would see the day that offence and free throws lets down a solid defensive effort from the Raptors?

There were some bright spots individually. Andrea Bargnani was scorching in the first half and seemed to be a bit more decisive when the ball was in his hands. Reggie Evans got down and dirty on the boards.

From a team perspective, if you can take anything from this game, at least take solace in the fact that the team kept its word to scratch and claw to the final whistle.

Of course, the fact I am even bringing that up after game no. 1 probably tells you all you need to know about the expectations this season.

Raptors Player of the Game: Reggie Evans – (33 min, 0 pts, 0-2 FG, 16 reb, 1 blk, 1 ast, 1 stl) He didn’t score, but he did his job better than any of the other Raptors did their jobs.

Knicks Player of the Game: Wilson Chandler – (29 Min, 22 Pts, 10-18 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 1-2 FT, 8 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk)

Goat of the Game: Jose Calderon – (18 Min, 4 Pts, 2-8 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 3 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 TO) He missed lay-ups, threw the ball away on fast breaks and did such a poor job running the offence that it actually made his porous defence look like the strength of his game.