Here we go again, another rough loss, another game where the Raptors couldn’t – or wouldn’t – play the right way. Another embarrassing setback. Kyle Lowry or not, this team should not be losing to the NBA-worst New York Knicks. Recall that the Raptors almost lost to the Knicks back in December, committing a season-high turnover number. There were only 12 turnovers this time, but there was also all kinds of foul trouble, some lackluster defence, not enough energy and not nearly enough passion.
- This is not all on DeMar DeRozan, it is a team game, but at what point does he try something else ie. looking for teammates like Jonas Valanciunas, who he constantly ignores down low, instead of forcing yet another extremely difficult shot attempt? I’m a broken record now, but DeRozan has shown in the past many times that he can be a good facilitator, it might be the most underrated part of his game, but instead, he seems hell-bent on imitating good friend Rudy Gay. It is not going to work and he is not going to shoot his way out of this. Salvation lies in passing the ball.
- Lowry always has big games in New York City, but it was the right call to sit him. The prize is down the line, not right now, even though the five game losing streak is extremely troubling. If Lowry isn’t right, the Raptors won’t do anything, so the priority is getting him back to where he once was. Whether that means sitting him out at home on Monday, so be it. Can’t imagine he misses Wednesday’s big tilt with Cleveland.
- If you cancelled the all points bulletin on Terrence Ross after his strong game on Friday night … turn the bat signal back on, the Raptors are still looking for him.
- What looked good? Valanciunas offensively; The Greivis Vasquez-Amir Johnson pick and roll and … that’s all we can come up with.
- From a couple of weeks ago but applied last night, on Toronto’s defence:
“It’s a team defence. It’s a situation where someone should be in the gap. Last night, there were a few times where the big guys were stretched out; they were supposed to be in the gap to help the guy on the ball. It’s a team thing. When you get by that guy, the bottom guy has a rotational responsibility. It’s not just on one guy. Yes, that’s where the problem starts, ball containment. But there are other safety measures behind that, to help him and help the measure,” Casey had said. That issue continues. The guard can’t stop the initial attack and the help isn’t there, whether because it is late or because a gamble has occurred elsewhere.
- New York remains 24.5 games back of the Raptors.
- Matt Devlin fell ill before the game. Get well soon Matty D and props to Eric Smith for stepping up and out of his comfort zone. I’ve never done any broadcasting, but can imagine it is extremely difficult to be thrown into TV work when you are used to calling a game on radio an entirely different animal altogether.
- In the past 15 games, Toronto is just 8-7, ranks sixth-worst in assist-to-turnover ratio, which has long been a team strength and a major factor in why they won so many games. Toronto is also the NBA’s fifth-worst rebounding team in that span, and only six teams have allowed more free throws. That is not a winning recipe. Also problematic? One of the best teams at drawing fouls ranks 26th in those 15 games.