Archive for the ‘Score video’ Category

O.J. Mayo and Rudy GayNine hundred and eighty-six games. That’s how long the NBA’s most meaningless streak lasted until it ended last night at the Air Canada Centre. I’m referring, of course, to the Toronto Raptors’ consecutive game streak for making at least one three-pointer.

Every time I heard either Chuck Swirsky or Matt Devlin refer to this ridiculous streak either because a Raptor made the team’s first three-pointer of the game or because the Raptors had yet to make one and it was the fourth quarter, I felt a little embarrassed to be a Raptors fan. This is what we hang our hats on? The fact that this streak was incessantly brought up was only slightly less irritating than somebody telling me how many days in a row he’d had a bowel movement. I can’t come up with a form of measurement that would describe how little I cared about this “accomplishment”.

Considering the team, doesn’t it figure that the game the Raptors can’t make a single three-pointer (out of 13 attempts) is the one where they lose by two points? It would be funny if this wasn’t the team’s eighth loss in a row and if I was capable of finding anything humourous about the state of the franchise.

Last night’s loss gave the Raptors a 2-9 record this season in games decided by five points or fewer. Not that this team wins a lot of blowouts either, but crunch-time is clearly not a comfort zone for this squad. Rudy Gay, on the other hand, appears to have ice water in his veins. He beat the Heat with a last-second shot on Nov. 20 and he did it again with this dagger that left 0.8 seconds on the clock. Note: This is a hilarious and profane fan video of the winning shot, so make sure you put your headphones on if you’re attempting to watch this at work.

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Jarrett Jack

Since I recapped this game yesterday, I’m not going to discuss what happened in the first 44 minutes of the game. For this post, I want to focus on the final four minutes when the Raptors were only able to score two points off of free throws, miss all six field goal attempts and committed a couple of crucial turnovers.

There’s a tendency for fans of bad basketball teams to assume that what separates their team from the good teams is the ability to win close games. As an example of how this is not necessarily the case, the Cleveland Cavaliers are 3-3 in games decided by five points or fewer and 5-29 in the rest of their games. Clearly, late-game execution is not the problem here.

The Raptors are another story. In games decided by five points or fewer, they have a 2-8 (.200) record this season. In their other games, they have a .354 winning percentage. They’re clearly not world-beaters either way, but yesterday’s end-of-game sequence brought into sharp relief this team’s ineffectiveness in clutch situations this season.

Immediately after a Hornets possession in which they were allowed to grab three consecutive offensive rebounds but they still didn’t score, the Raptors had the ball with about two minutes to go in the fourth quarter and trailing by a point. Obviously, this was still anyone’s game. Unfortunately, the Raptors – and specficially Andrea Bargnani — squandered this opportunity with three straight awful possessions.

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Last night, Julian Wright was the d├ębutante at a coming-out party at Quicken Loans Arena. When he entered the game with 1:29 left in the first quarter, the Raptors were trailing 32-19. He remained on the court right through to the end of the half, when the Raptors led 66-63. In those 13 minutes of playing time, Wright had 11 points, four rebounds and four assists — he was the main reason the Raptors got back in the game.

The Raptors still led by three points when Wright re-entered the game at the 5:46 mark of the third quarter. He played the remainder of the game and helped lead the Raptors to a 15-point win. He finished the night with season-highs in minutes (31), points (15), rebounds (9), a career-high in assists (5) and an amazing plus-32 rating for the game.

What impressed me most about Wright last night was his court vision. I was reminded of the fact that he played point guard in high school by the seeing-eye assists he dished out. His ability to run the floor, score in transition and be a disruptor on defence were well established. His playmaking ability was a revelation to me.

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Chicago Bulls and Toronto RaptorsThis is the steaming pile I get to analyze for my first video breakdown of the new year? Even with the return of their “best player” (scare quotes intentional) Andrea Bargnani, the Raptors were outworked and outclassed — only this time, it was the Bulls’ second unit that inflicted the most damage during a dominant second quarter. Not only did they outscore the Raptors 30-16 in the quarter, they also had an 18-6 advantage in points in the paint. That grew into a 58-38 advantage by the end of the game — coincidentally the same margin as the final score.

Whereas Carlos Boozer did the most damage in the previous meeting between these two teams, it was Boozer’s backup, Taj Gibson, who wreaked havoc with 16 points and 14 rebounds in just 25 minutes. Boozer and Gibson combined for nine offensive rebounds, which was one more than the Raptors grabbed as a team. The primary differentiator of these two teams isn’t rebounding, however, it’s defence. The Bulls have a renowned defensive specialist as their coach, and the Raptors quite evidently do not.

Since the second quarter was when the Bulls really asserted their dominance, I’ve picked three examples of great defence by the Bulls that stymied the Raptors in that quarter. Here we see that Raptors unable to penetrate the Bulls’ zone defence, leading to Bargnani forcing up an awkward mid-ranger — with 10 seconds still on the shot clock, I should note.

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It was easily predictable that the Lakers would score 120 points against the Raptors — the Lakers have the best offence in the NBA (113.5 points scored per 100 possessions) while the Raptors have the fifth-worst defence (111.2 points allowed per 100 possessions). The Lakers have a ton of weapons which allow them to put up big numbers even when Kobe Bryant plays just 28 minutes and Pau Gasol only plays 30 minutes. Andrew Bynum’s back and he’s didn’t get any smaller while his knee was healing, Shannon Brown could start for most teams but averages fewer than 20 minutes per game for the Lakers, and Matt Barnes (who we briefly thought had signed with the Raptors in July) can hit open jumpers when he’s not playing his brand of in-your-face defence.

The Raptors tried playing a zone for much of the game and it worked for a brief stretch in the third quarter, but zone defences are vulnerable to three-pointers and that’s what Barnes shot to essentially finish the Raptors off in giving the Lakers a 12-point lead with just over three minutes to go.

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