Bucks at Raptors Points Per Game: A disappointing collapse; The bench lays an egg; Finding a balance with Lowry

- January 14th, 2013

That had to be one of the most dispiriting Raptors losses in some time no?

Jump on a team you’ll be chasing all year, get up by 20 and … throw it all away.

The Raptors need to find a killer instinct. Some progress had been made on that front of late, in fact, when Milwaukee took the lead early in the third quarter it was the first time the Raptors had trailed in a month, but, you simply can’t lose that kind of an early lead at home.

This likely will be a game we all look back on when writing the obituary for the 2012-13 Raptors season.

Some thoughts:

Credit new Bucks interim coach Jim Boylan for coaching a fine game. He made the right adjustments and sparked his team, getting the Bucks to wake up after giving it to them during a first quarter timeout. The Bucks went on something like a 22-4 run from that timeout, getting back in a game they had no business being in.

Had been thinking some people were getting carried away by the recent run of success for two reasons: (1) The Raptors were mostly beating bad teams. (2) They were winning by hitting a ton of jumpers, and everybody knows shooting, especially from outside, comes and goes, even in the NBA. Nailing 35-45% of long-range attempts is not really sustainable.

Toronto’s backups were brutal and lost the game for the Raptors. That’s allowable, seeing as the group was responsible for a lot of wins of late.

Quite the conundrum at the point. Jose Calderon is sizzling (he created the big lead and was way better than Kyle Lowry for the second game in a row). The team was up 18 when Calderon left, just six when he returned. Which leads to a major problem, probably THE major problem with the Raptors:

The team is playing better with Calderon at the helm. Much better offensively, though Calderon is still getting shredded on defence most nights.

Lowry is not helping the team much. He’s been passive, a creator who isn’t looking to score. That’s not his game at all. The team traded a lottery pick to get Lowry, who is the most talented player on the team. He’s being completely mishandled, turned into something he is not and as a result, he’s not making an impact when he is on the court. Either he needs to be reinstalled as the starter, or he needs to be given free rein to play to his strength off of the bench until Calderon is traded. Because, what is going on right now is not working and it is a huge waste of a significant asset for a team that is woefully thin in the significant asset department.

The Raptors miss Jonas Valanciunas a lot. He hasn’t been perfect, but Amir Johnson and Ed Davis are not 35 minute a night players, they might not even be 30 minute players and lately they’ve had to play closer to 40 minutes than 30. That’s part of the reason why the Raptors ran out of gas late (another being Johnson was playing through yet another ankle injury). Valanciunas (who has been out about 3.5 weeks now, meaning he could return in another 1.5 weeks or so) is a far better option than raw Quincy Acy or Aaron Gray. His return will help Davis and Johnson.

Two more observations:

Toronto needed somebody to step up after Milwaukee’s run changed the game and DeMar DeRozan did in the third quarter, but he couldn’t carry it over until the fourth.

Dwane Casey wants to see Davis run the floor more and he did at one point late in the third quarter, blocking a shot and getting back for an offensive rebound and layup. That’s the type of thing the coaching staff wants to see regularly.

 

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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3 comments

  1. Joe S says:

    Ryan,

    It appears you’re calling for special treatment for Lowry simply because he cost the Raptors a lottery pick. But you’ve said that a mistake the team made in the past was giving Bargnani special treatment.

  2. ryan.wolstat says:

    Nope, not calling for special treatment. Lowry needs to play better to prove what is clear on paper. He needs to find a balance of the selfish player who was trying to do too much to start the year, and the passive player who isn’t having much of an impact. He shouldn’t just be handed the job over Calderon, who has been very good. But Calderon is not the long-term answer, so it would be ideal if Lowry started playing the way he is capable of because he could be the long-term answer.

  3. Dan C says:

    I feel like “we’ve been there” with Calderon at PG. He’s not suddenly _the answer_ this year.

    I’d love to see Lowry temper his talents with Calderon’s maturity. I’m hoping this has been some tough love for Lowry and allowed him to learn from Calderon’s example.

    I think the Raptors can win this year with Lowry at the 5.

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