Raptors at Sixers Points Per Game: What can you say at this point?

- January 19th, 2013

PHILADELPHIA -

I’ll keep this brief today, because, really, what else can you say about the Raptors and this season from hell?

The lack of talent is apparent. The team went 1-9 in close games (three points or less) last season, and lack of talent was a major culprit. This year the talent is better, but it’s still not good enough. Kyle Lowry is the closest thing to a closer and you aren’t going to win many games if a 6-foot PG is your only option (with a 37% shooting journeyman being your second-best option in the clutch, no offense to Alan Anderson). DeMar DeRozan took the blame for his passiveness, but maybe he just isn’t the closing type? Is it fair to blame himself if he isn’t good enough to be a top dog?

Another major problem is a lack of quality veterans. There’s no Charles Oakley, no Dee Brown, no Dell Curry, No Muggsy Bogues, Kevin Willis or Antonio Davis to teach these guys how to win, how to play in the clutch, how to drown out all the noise, etc. Until at least one more above average starter lands in Toronto and until a couple of good vets arrive as well (or kill two birds with one stone by getting a star vet, which obviously is quite difficult to do), these things are going to keep happening.

A few more points:

Not getting the ball in on two chances late is inexcusable. The cuts have to be far better. Harder, faster. These guys might be (for the most part) young, but they’re old enough to know you have to want it in the clutch and that takes effort.

Sure, Anderson got fouled, but it never should have come to that. you can’t blow a 20-point lead one night, and learn nothing from it. Killer instinct. Maybe they need more players with an edge. Players that will step on throats and get the job done? This corner doesn’t have the answers other than more talent and some vets.

Let’s dig for some positives: When Terrence Ross is on, he’s fantastic. He needs to find consistency, but there’s no doubt here that he’s going to be a solid player. From talking to people league-wide as I make my road stops, that’s what other people are saying as well. Ross is starting to bother opponents on defence, remains a deadly threat from deep and is starting to pick up his rebounding significantly (9 the other night and 7 on Friday).

Fellow 2012 draft pick Quincy Acy also looks like he’s going to be an NBA contributor. Acy is improving every time he hits the floor. He’s still a bit raw, still makes a lot of mistakes, but he gets after it, gets in position to help the team and provides a boost with his athleticism and intensity. Has as hot at being first competent second round pick ever (Matt Bonner was acquired via trade, but he’d be the only competition, sadly).

Yet another strong game from Ed Davis. Career-high six assists (he’s made big strides passing the ball this season and has developed a nice chemistry with Amir Johnson). His short jumper was working and he was active, leading the team in points and rebounds.

Anderson both helped shoot Toronto back into the game and out of it.

Casey said he’d ride the hot hand at point guard and rode Lowry, but it was for too long. He needed a break. Casey’s in a tough spot. He’s going to get ripped for whatever he does point guard wise, and he knows it.

Jrue Holiday is a fantastic player. Another one who got away, though not nearly as bad a miss because at least DeRozan can play a bit, unlike guys like Araujo, Radojevic, Graham and Villanueva, who gave nothing or next to nothing and cost the Raptors many excellent players.

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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