Raptors at Nuggets Points Per Game: Too little too late; The pieces don’t fit; All about effort; Time to move Bargnani to the bench

- December 4th, 2012

When you are 4-14, moral victories mean very little. It’s great that the Raptors dug deep and made a game out of what could have been a blowout. But does it really matter? The end result was still another loss. Instead of furiously battling back in games, how about showing up in every quarter for a change?

Toronto actually did well early, playing a decent first quarter, but the killer even in that quarter – and we won’t even talk about the nightmare of a second quarter that decided the game – the killer in the first was effort. You simply cannot get massacred on the offensive boards the way the Raptors were. The final stats showed 23 O-boards for Denver, 9 for the Raptors. The ratio was even worse after a quarter. That can’t happen. It’s unacceptable. The pieces don’t fit properly.

Some thoughts:

Toronto isn’t as talented as most of its opponents, and certainly not as talented as Denver … but, you can make up for some of that by playing hard and playing smart. Boxing out, making smart decisions, etc. Too often, this team doesn’t do that. Boneheaded errors lead to turnovers and fast break points the other way. Lack of effort leads to easy points created by offensive rebounding.

Andrea Bargnani had one of his better outings and still wasn’t a big plus for the team. Again, it’s time for a divorce. An important moment came at the half when he allowed Ty Lawson, a foot shorter, to grab an offensive rebound and turn that into a putback. Bargnani barely moved, barely tried to corral the rebound. The blame can be spread around though. Jonas Valanciunas had a fine start and was poor after that. Kyle Lowry had a terrible first half and a great second half. DeMar DeRozan might have been the best Raptor, but needed to be more aggressive. He got to the line just once. Jose Calderon struggled, Mickael Pietrus was a non-factor.

What would I do? Keeping in mind that nobody is just going to gift a talent upgrade to this team and assuming, as the whispers indicate, that the market for Bargnani is underwhelming at the moment … Put Ed Davis with the starters and let Bargnani provide scoring on the second unit with Calderon and Amir Johnson working off of him, as they have done well in the past.

The first group might be limited offensively, but it won’t get outworked and outrebounded as often since Davis is the team’s best rebounder and has become one of its best defenders. Let Lowry and DeRozan be the scorers. Let Pietrus bomb away from the corners, let Davis pick up the trash and let Valanciunas show a little more of his already impressive offensive game.

We’ve been over this, but let’s reiterate: Bargnani sets a bad example with his floundering effort level, with his lack of rebounding and with his wavering defensive abilities (to be fair, he was locked in for parts of the night defensively and was nowhere close to the worst offender in that category).

If you can’t deal him now, let him become a force off of the bench and give your starters a better chance of staying in games.

It’s not like the current setup is working.

A few positives:

The fight again was good to see, even if it was too little, too late.

Terrence Ross played well. Davis had an impact once he got some minutes. Lowry rebounded from his tough first half, to give the excellent Lawson fits at both ends. DeRozan did strong work on the boards.

That’s about it. Too many bad shots – Bargnani should not have taken that three late, but there were a lot of bad decisions by everybody. Too little attention to staying with energy players like Corey Brewer. Laughably bad effort on the glass.

The good news? Sacramento is a winnable game. The pieces fit even worse there and no team has more head cases per capita.

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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3 comments

  1. Jeff says:

    Agree 100%.

    They wont do it, so as not to diminish his Trade Value.

  2. Jack says:

    Why is it that everyone in basketball but the Raptors see its time for a change? I don’t pay to see moral victories against .500 teams.

  3. AA says:

    Thanks Ryan for the article……..couldnt agree more.

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