Archive for the ‘Score video’ Category

Start time: 6:00 PM ET
Channel: TSN2
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Who Knows, Aaron Gray
New Jersey: Deron Williams, Anthony Morrow, DeShawn Stevenson, Kris Humphries, Shelden Williams

Injury report

Toronto: Andrea Bargnani is expected to be out until at least early February.

New Jersey: Brook Lopez, Mehmet Okur and Damion James are out, MarShon Brooks is questionable.

Man, those are a pair of pitiful starting lineups. The Nets actually managed a three-point victory over the Cavs with that lineup on Friday. On the other side, the Raptors are 6-7 this season when Bargnani is in the lineup and 0-7 when he’s not. Against the Nuggets on Friday, Linas Kleiza played the role of “Who Knows” and that led to the Raptors trailing 28-12 after one quarter. Maybe Amir Johnson or Ed Davis will start in his place today. Maybe not. Who knows? Not I.

We tend to associate solid team defense with the head coach, and yet Avery Johnson coached a top-five defensive team in the 2006-07 Dallas Mavericks before coaching this year’s Nets, who are dead last in Defensive Rating at the moment. I suppose you can call that the Brook Lopez Effect, although he’s never really been considered to be a defensive stalwart. Regardless, he’s clearly the best of a bad lot on that end of the court with this team.

Random thoughts…

  • I hadn’t noticed this until Matt Devlin tweeted it, but the Raptors have been called for 499 personal fouls while their opponents have 364 personal fouls. That’s a disparity of 6.75 fouls per game, which is freaky. In fact, the Raptors lead the NBA in fouls by a wide margin — the Knicks are a distant second with 450. I feel like this merits its own post, which Joseph Casciaro will probably write.
  • Would you believe that I hadn’t actually heard the song “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO before this weekend? Hey, I never listen to the radio. Anyway, I can’t set up this video any better than the YouTube uploader does: “Ain’t no party like a Pyongyang party, ’cause a Pyongyang party is ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY.”

Morris Peterson

The Ultimate Raptors Rankings are the RaptorBlog editors’ attempt to rank the top 30 Toronto Raptors of all time. These rankings are obviously somewhat arbitrary and endlessly debatable, but they’re based on each player’s contribution, performance and longevity as a Raptor, and on how beloved they are by Raptors fans. We’ll count down a new Raptor every other Wednesday on this blog.

Morris Peterson’s Raptors résumé:

  • 1st in games played (542)
  • 1st in most consecutive games played (371)
  • 2nd in minutes played (16,060)
  • 3rd in points (6,498)
  • 1st in three-pointers made (801)
  • 2nd in steals

Morris Peterson’s résumé speaks for itself. He didn’t spend his entire NBA career with the Raptors, but in seven seasons and 542 games, his prime years were in Toronto. He was never the best player on the team and he never approached All-Star status, but from February 12, 2002 through November 20, 2006, Peterson played in every single Raptors game. I can’t say this was “through the good and the bad” because the Raptors were mostly bad over that period. In fact, his streak began with the Raptors losing 13 games in a row and 17 out of 18 games – although they improbably squeaked into the 2002 playoffs with a 42-40 record by following that calamitous run with a 12-2 finish to the regular season.

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That was the most fun I’ve had watching the Toronto Raptors this season. The energy, the defensive intensity, the chemistry — they were all on display in last night’s win over the struggling Hornets. In my first video post in over a month, I’m going to focus on the three players who stood out last night: Jose Calderon, James Johnson and Amir Johnson.

I never thought I’d see the day when Jose Calderon would absolutely dominate Chris Paul in a game, but that’s exactly what happened last night. To be fair, Paul obviously isn’t 100 percent “right” — physically or mentally — and he looked as frustrated as I’ve ever seen him on the court. But full credit should go to Calderon following up his brutal zero-point, seven-turnover performance against the Hornets in January with an inspired game that saw him finish with 22 points on 7-for-10 shooting, 16 assists and seven rebounds while Paul finished with just seven points on 3-for-10 shooting, five assists and four rebounds.

In 62 games this season, last night was only the second time Paul has failed to reach double figures in points, assists or rebounds. Conversely, it was only the fifth time in 413 career NBA games that Jose Calderon had at least 20 points, 10 assists and five rebounds — and it was the first one of those performances where he was on the winning side. Surprisingly, Calderon now has a career 4-4 win-loss record against Paul.

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Roy Hibbert

I just finished watching a truly ugly, sloppy, substandard display of basketball at Conseco Fieldhouse. The Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors combined for 41 turnovers (25 for Indiana, 16 for Toronto) but the Pacers came out ahead because they dominated on the boards with a 56-38 advantage, because they have players who can make three-pointers (Indiana went 8-for-20 while Toronto went 1-for-6)  and because they have a true lane intimidator in Roy Hibbert — definitely the star of this game with 24 points, 11 rebounds and a couple of blocks.

It was the same story it’s been for the past few weeks for the Raptors. They missed open shots, they got outworked for loose balls, and they had very little cohesion on the court — a lot of the time, they play together like a group of guys who showed up for a pickup game and have never played together before. Also, when your supposed top two offensive players (Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan) shoot 6-for-30 combined, it’s a pretty safe bet this isn’t your night.

While Pacers interim coach Frank Vogel surely wasn’t thrilled to see his team tie their season-high in turnovers in his debut, he had to be happy with the performance by Hibbert — who looked like the dangerous Big Roy from November rather than the shell of a player he’s appeared to be throughout most of January. One game playing for Vogel doesn’t prove that fired coach Jim O’Brien was Hibbert’s problem, but if this is what it took for him to get his confidence back, so be it.

This loss makes it 12 in a row for the Raptors and I don’t see a recent end in sight unless something drastic happens. That could be a trade, a new coach, or maybe even a heart transplant for Andrea Bargnani. But this is a thoroughly discouraged and disillusioned group of young men I saw in black and red tonight.

Raptors Player of the Game: Amir Johnson — 38 Min, 18 Pts, 8-14 FG, 2-5 FT, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

Pacers Player of the Game: Roy Hibbert — 30 Min, 24 Pts, 9-19 FG, 6-9 FT, 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

Goat of the Game: Andrea Bargnani — 33 Min, 12 Pts, 3-15 FG, 0-2 3Pt, 6-8 FT, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 0 Stl, 1 Blk

Among NBA coaches outside Toronto, the word is out on how soft the Raptors’ defence is. Admittedly, you don’t need to be Gregg Popovich to figure out that the Raptors’ defensive deficiencies are easy to exploit — they can’t defend the pick-and-roll, they don’t box out consistently, they’re soft, they’re not particularly athletic, certain key players “tune out” for extended periods on the defensive end… I could go on, but you get the point. Here’s Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins on the Raptors’ defence:

“I was watching the Spurs-Toronto game and one of the sets (San Antonio) runs, we run and Toronto was struggling stopping it when they played zone. We ran that play almost the entire second quarter. (Maurice Speights) rolled to the basket and Jrue (Holiday) did a nice job finding him for those little pocket passes and scores.”

The second quarter of last night’s game might have been the most embarrassing defensive display I’ve seen the Raptors put up all season, and that’s really saying something. It wasn’t just that the Sixers scored 30 points in the quarter, it was how they scored them. They repeatedly scored off the same pick-and-roll play and off of several uncontested offensive rebounds.

In particular, backup big man Marreese Speights looked like an unstoppable force of nature as he scored 17 points on 7-for-8 shooting and grabbed five offensive rebounds in his nine-minute stint. Unsurprisingly, Andrea Bargnani was the main Raptor to look bad on a lot of these points, but Jose Calderon, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson and new Raptor Alexis Ajinca all had moments where they were culpable — as you can see in this painful-to-watch compilation of Speights’ second-quarter offensive rampage.

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