Bulls at Raptors Points Per Game: Good job, good effort; Lowry needs help in the clutch; Refs: What the f…. you gonna do?; Wolstat’s all-stars

- January 17th, 2013

I’ve never followed a franchise anywhere closely as in depth as the Raptors, but it sure seems that Murphy’s Law applies to this franchise more than to any other (even the injury-cursed Portland Trail Blazers have won a title and have had playoff success). Anything that can go wrong, seems to and any crazy, regularly uncalled play, or rare mistake seems to happen to this group. The Amir stepping over the line call, rarely gets called. The delay of game for throwing it to the ref rarely gets called. The Noah throwing it out of bounds call was a weird one – it changed direction, so must have been tipped … but the Raptors never get those kinds of calls, it seems. To be fair, the refs missed a few the other way as well, which helped the Raptors mount the comeback.

That said, there is no doubt, Amir was attempting a shot at the end of the game and that Luol Deng pushed off on the game-winner. Two egregious mistakes that, again, never seem to go Toronto’s way. Call it whining, call it whatever, but it’s the truth. I feel for those guys and for Raptors fans, because it has to be awfully tough to see these sorts of things happen so consistently.

All that said, if the Raptors had more talent, particularly another finisher to help out Kyle Lowry, the team wouldn’t be in this position, where a bad break causes a loss, nearly as often. DeMar DeRozan is not that guy at this point, it’s on him to see if he ever will be. Credit to Alan Anderson for turning himself into a rotation NBA player, but a playoff team needs two starters with the ability to break down the defence and come through in the clutch. Until Lowry gets some help. this pattern will repeat itself.

Other thoughts:

It was a hell of an effort. Back-to-back against a relentless defensive squad. No quit in this team and Lowry, Jose Calderon, Amir Johnson and Anderson playing through a lot of pain tells you a lot about this group. They have heart. What they don’t have is enough talent. Jonas Valanciunas and Andrea Bargnani (or the threat of Bargnani having a good game at least) are sorely missed. No updates on the big men, but looking like at least another couple of weeks based on what I’ve been hearing.

Duh, but, the Bulls really, really miss Derrick Rose. When Marco Belinelli is the guy you’re running plays for in the clutch, you’re in trouble. Belinelli had a horrid night. Also, Deng should be an all-star. (For the East, I’ve got: LeBron, Carmelo, Kevin Garnett, Deng, Rondo, Irving, Holiday, Wade (he’ll be voted in, but I’m not sure he should be there), Paul George, Joakim Noah, Tyson Chandler, Anderson Varejao (will be replaced due to injury), Chris Bosh (the East is light on big men and his rebounding has been bad, but overall, Bosh has had another solid year).

I’ll throw out my West picks here too: Kobe, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, James Harden, Marc Gasol, David Lee, Serge Ibaka, Stephen Curry.

Back to the game, have to credit Quincy Acy for getting better the more he plays. In just a couple of weeks he has come a long way. Still will make a lot of mistakes, but his energy and positioning (drew four charges) is really helping the Raptors, especially over the past two games. Will be very interesting when Bargnani and Valanciunas return and get their minutes back. Will be difficult to get Acy in at that point, unless the Raptors force Amir to take a week or two off to heal up.

Good to see Lowry looking like he’s back to normal.

The Raptors had all kinds of chances to pull this one out after mounting a strong comeback, but could not seal the deal. Again, a lot of that comes back to not having a finisher besides Lowry.

Interior defence is a major problem for this team. That’s a concern. Ideally, long-term, Valanciunas bulks up to the point where he can handle the big boys down there. As much as I like Ed Davis, that’s never going to be him. Doesn’t have the frame for it. At best, he can emulate Bosh, who still gets overpowered.

 

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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