Raptors at Denver Nuggets Points Per Game:

- January 28th, 2012

Though the Raptors lost once again without Andrea Bargnani, it’s difficult to be hard on them. There are far more positives to take out of Friday’s 96-81 loss to the Denver Nuggets. Such as:

- This team doesn’t quit, no matter how bad it starts Down 22? No problem. Toronto battled to within six at one point, but James Johnson fouling out and another disappearing act by DeMar DeRozan made a full comeback too difficult to pull off.

- At some point Dwane Casey has to think hard about making another change to his starting lineup. Although Leandro Barbosa has made a career out of being one of the league’s premier bench performers, it could be time to send a message to DeRozan and to let him regroup by coming off of the bench for a few games. He’s struggling badly – though his defence has been improved – and maybe playing against second units will get him going? Meanwhile, Barbosa has been carrying the team. The team is big enough elsewhere if Jose Calderon, James Johnson, Amir Johnson and Aaron  Gray start to make up for Barbosa’s lack of height at shooting guard.

- The refs didn’t do their jobs, particularly late when they blew it, big-time.They let Nene manhandle DeRozan and DeRozan shove Nene in retaliation, then let Al Harrington – who has often behaved like a knucklehead throughout his career – escalate what should have been a meaningless incident with Linas Kleiza. It was a chippy game and they let both sides set some hard screens, which is OK, but they also let a lot of cheap shots go, which caused the drama late.
Fans in Denver were right to yell at the refs: “You guys lost control in the first quarter.”

- Maybe it is the altitude, but the Raptors seem to bring their worst when they come to Denver. It was the site of Sam Mitchell’s last stand and Jay Triano didn’t fare very well there either. Early on, it looked like Casey was going to leave with a 20-25 point loss.

-Andre Miller is like that old guy who always schools you at the Y or in rec league despite not being fast or able to jump He hit an absurd shot at the buzzer from well past centre court and posted a double-double. His fourth, I believe, since saying he still should be a starter in the NBA.

- Jerryd Bayless and Barbosa were a nice combo last season and jelled for the first time this season in the second quarter.

- James Johnson looked very solid again. He’s really blossoming and looking like a very astute pickup by Bryan Colangelo. He’s got a little Shawn Marion in him and looks like a keeper going forward. That’s a good thing, considering all kinds of questions are popping up about whether DeRozan and Ed Davis can be building blocks to rely heavily on in the future.

- What else? The Raptors still aren’t getting to the line enough, Jose Calderon looks completely gassed (missing shots he normally makes, turning the ball over in ways we don’t often see) though he wasn’t hammered off of the dribble as much as he has been lately.

- Aaron Gray and Jamaal Magloire were excellent on the boards and set some bone-rattling screens.

- Rudy Fernandez is going to have a couple of nights like this every season. He’s a better Marco Belinelli and just as frustrating. He might go 2-for-11 in his next game. Just tough luck for the Raptors.

- Davis needs to spend the off-season shooting 100 jumpers a day because he doesn’t have any touch offensively. He appeared to have more of a feel around the basket last season.

- You aren’t going to win many games missing 14-of-15 shots at any point, especially to begin a contest, but Toronto deserves credit for hanging around with a Denver team that has been elite so far this season.

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

Subscribe to the post

2 comments

  1. jmpmk2 says:

    Harrington has been nothing less than saintly since joining Denver. Kleiza’s elbow-hack-followed-by-facial-follow-through-non-call was inexcusable — the game was close enough to call that; and Linas should have acted a little less shameless after the play’s inconceivable result, especially coming back to the city that game him his best opportunity to play on a good team.

    Also, only Canadian basketball media would find positives in that mess of terrible shots and atrocious defense. Toronto gets back into that game because Denver could not field a point guard for nine minutes. If Ty Lawson is available, this game isn’t within 30 points.

    And the term is ‘jelled’, not ‘gelled’, unless of course, Bayless and Barbosa are literally gelatinous.

  2. ryan.wolstat says:

    You got me on gelled/jelled, otherwise, I use this space to write negatives so often I felt like pointing out a few positives. Sure if Lawson played it would have been far uglier, but if Bargnani played it also would have been a lot closer so they cancel out.
    That “atrocious defence” held Denver under 100 points, who else has done that, particularly without the guy who shockingly has been its top defender not named James Johnson?

    Kleiza deserves some fault, but it is up to the refs to call the nonsense and they flat out stunk. He shouldn’t have shoved Al, but Al shouldn’t have kept coming back and jawing at him. Let it go the game was well in hand, not close.

Leave a comment

 characters available