Raptors at Jazz Points Per Game: Bargnani shows up, Pietrus too, Lowry kind of does (on D, not on O), where was everybody else;

- December 8th, 2012

We’ll keep this short and sweet today. This team looks completely lost. The Raptors are not following Dwane Casey’s orders. They aren’t rotating properly on defence. They chase the ball way too hard instead of sticking with the player they are guarding, and the result is tons of open threes for opponents nearly every game. A smart tweeter first brought this to my attention very early in the season (maybe 3 games in), but it seems to be even more noticeable of late. They almost got away with it against Charlotte because the Bobcats shot 15% or something from outside, but if a team is cooking like Utah was last night, it’s going to get ugly. They are not being directed by Dwane Casey to take off like chickens with their heads cut off, they are doing it of their own volition. He likes some help, but not this much. Plus, where is everybody else when the initial line of defence overcommits or when the second guy comes over? It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a team that breaks down so often.

That’s the main problem. A secondary one is all of the turnovers leading to points the other way. The Raptors are not taking care of the ball this season and it is biting them.

- Is the team playing like it wants a new coach? That’s a pretty loaded question. It’s difficult to answer. Something is up. They aren’t committed to each other the way they were last year and they are playing incredibly dumb. It is as if any semblance of basketball IQ has vaporized into thin air.

A few more thoughts:

- Scary to think that the Raptors would have looked even worse without Mickael Pietrus, who had another solid game. Pietrus hit 4-of-5 from three, his teammates went 3-for-19. Yikes.

- Only Pietrus and … Andrea BArgnani had strong games. Bargnani and Pietrus might have been the only Raptors who defended anywhere close to decently (Kyle Lowry was pretty good on Mo Williams too, but was poor on offence). Bargnani had 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, looked engaged for once at both ends and needs more of this.

- Bargnani got the Raptors off to an early lead, but the bench was horrific and changed the game with a serious let-down. The Raptors went from in control, to completely clueless and that was that, even though there were still 2.5 quarters left to play. The play of the bench was extremely troubling. Just a complete no-show.
- An observation: Energy players like Corey Brewer and DeMarre Carroll give DeMar DeRozan all kinds of trouble. They are like gnats, swarming around him and they bother him and throw him off.
DeRozan’s already mediocre defence has been getting worse the past couple of weeks. That’s a concern.

- Getting clobbered on the boards is an indication of effort as much as anything. Why aren’t the Raptors going after the ball anymore? All of the close losses seem to have sucked the spirit right out of this group.

Once again, this is ugly and there are no signs it is getting any better. Ed Davis might not be able to play against the Clippers. He’s a guy that has fared well against Blake Griffin and the Clips in the past. With or without Davis, that’s going to be a tough one to get.

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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