Raptors at Bobcats Points Per Game: “Winning time” horror; What’s up with the refs?; Fine line with Lowry

- November 22nd, 2012

The hits just keep on coming for the Raptors don’t they? Another game the team could have won with a few breaks. Some thoughts:

- Let’s start with the refs again. They were brutal. Somebody sent me an e-mail saying Raptors have lost past 8 games Ed Malloy has reffed, not sure if that is correct or not and it’s not just him, but it has been crystal clear this year that NBA refs don’t respect the Raptors, don’t give the team the calls good teams get (which makes sense, the Raptors are not a good team and haven’t been for a long time). Just as egregious was Kemba Walker getting a call on Jonas Valanciunas when Valanciunas did nothing wrong and shouldn’t have fouled out. That was almost as huge as the Bargnani play. Valanciunas was incredulous afterwards, couldn’t believe it was called. He better get used to it. The NBA might hide it, refs might say it isn’t true, but home teams get calls road teams don’t. We saw two crucial examples last night.

That said, if Charlotte hits its threes like an NBA team (25-30% instead of 15.8%, the team wins going away and we aren’t talking about the refs).

- The Raptors had five chances in the dying seconds. Charlotte played some outstanding defence on four of those plays and Bargnani was fouled on the fifth. I like the team taking it to the hoop even if you know fouls aren’t going to be called at that point. Still a better chance of going in than a jump shot with a man in your face. Can’t fault the Raptors for the final sequence, especially since team didn’t have a timeout.

- Have to be impressed with the work of Valanciunas. Told me last week he hadn’t found his rhythm yet. Back-to-back double-doubles and one of best players on court past two games. Says he’s feeling more comfortable now, but still not doing enough, because the team isn’t winning. Have to love that attitude. Raptors have a gem in this kid, but need a few more like him.

- Speaking of rookies, Terrence Ross also continues to adapt to NBA life. Not at the defensive end, mind you – and Casey said as much afterwards – but on offence, Ross is showing what he can do. Great outside shooter and is starting to use his athleticism in transition.

- And speaking of transition, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a beast on the move. Same as he always was. He’s brought a winning attitude to the formerly sad-sack Bobcats. Kemba Walker is a winner too and he has improved significantly. He plays like a point guard now, not an undersized two. Not a pure point, but good enough. Thought Brandon Knight would be better pro than him, but now revising my opinion.

- Byron Mullens and Ramon Sessions got lucky. Mullens was horrible all night, but still walked off with a win. Why he trash-talked the Raptors bench, we’ll never know. you do that when you’re playing well, not when you’re stinking it up. Sessions’ pre-game comments probably were overplayed, but instead of bringing it he had a putrid game – before – Raptors luck of course -getting an Al Jefferson bounce on his game-winner.

Some stuff I couldn’t get in the paper:

Free throws continue to be a problem for the Raptors. Team shot 70% from the line, missing six free throws against Charlotte. That came after shooting 69% and missing 9 against Philadelphia, 60.9%, missing 9 against Orlando and 67.7%, missing 10 before that. Toronto has shot about 66% since hitting 16-of-19 a couple of weeks ago.

- Lowry is pressing a bit in the clutch. He, like Jose Calderon, has made some uncharacteristically bad decisions in “winning time.” That needs to change. His heat check, way off three allowed Charlotte to have a chance to rally. Better idea would have been to kill some time. But, that aggressiveness is a big part of what makes Lowry a great player, so it is a razor thin line.

- Casey was happy to have Lowry back and to be able to put Calderon back on the bench, “to give us some balance with the second unit.”

We saw Lowry-Calderon again, which made sense against a small Charlotte backcourt, but no John Lucas III  on his 30th birthday. Casey hinted before the game that we’d be seeing less of the dual point guard lineup.

“Our +/- is not really great with Jose there. Mainly the defence,” he said.

HANDLE OWN BUSINESS

Raptors forward Ed Davis wasn’t too concerned with what Sessions had to say about his club ahead of Wednesday’s game.

Davis brushed it off, while taking a mild shot at the Charlotte franchise.

I don’t pay attention to it. He should feel that way. That’s how every team should feel. Every game should be won, especially when you’re at home. We’ll see if he can back it up,” Davis said.

“It doesn’t matter, look what they did last year. They have a winning record now so they’re feeling themselves a little bit now, but we’re just going to focus on what we need to do to get a win. We’ll worry about this locker room, that’s all.”

- Toronto will get a much-needed mental break on Thursday. The team will take in the Detroit Lions-Houston Texans game in Detroit. Valanciunas said he had never seen American football before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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