Raptors Start Road Trip On Wrong Foot

Well as has been theme for the Raptors of late more injuries were the story prior to this one. Leandro Barbosa did not make the trip and it would appear will be on the shelf for a week or perhaps longer. Then add Jerryd Bayless to the list of walking wounded. This would press Gaines into action ready or not as he was suited up but did not see any time vs Detroit. The Wizards were the only team on this 5 game road trip that has a below 500 record. But the Wizards did enter this one with a 10-8 home record while still being winless on the road at 0-19. It makes the Raptors 5-14 marking on the road seem almost good. Ok maybe not. This road trip that the Raptors were starting did not promise to improve on that mark much with Stops in New Orleans, San Antonio Miami and Orlando.

Raptors in the alternate blacks for the first time this season according to Matt Devlin. Wiz were taking it inside early with Blatche and McGee getting scores in the paint and it was 4-4. Calderon a nice jumper and McGee with the answer keeping things even. Back to back buckets for Kleiza and both times driving towards the hoop rather than chucking it up from 3. Raptors 4 minutes in had a 10-6 lead. Klezia picks up a foul as he was attempting to help on Lewis who would make the resulting free throws. Amir Johnson hit the deck to get the ball but would lose it and John Wall would get the easy hoop. Wiz fought back to even this game up at 12 all.

Jose Calderon has been looking like the Jose that Raptor fans knew back when he was pushing to be an all-star. While I have always had issues with Jose his offence has never been in question to me. His defence and durability have been. But looking healthy in this one early going 3-3 and Raptors had a 16-12 out of the time out when the game was tied. Demar DeRozan gets a call and that is newsworthy of late. The lack of trip must be effecting his foul shooting just 1 of 2 at the line. Raptors had a 3 point lead with 3 to play. Calderon a drive and score and a nice start for him. Ed Davis benefits from Calderon's good start as he gets a easy hoop on a Jose dime. Time out Wizards with Raptors up 21-14. Gaines makes his debut as a Raptor and Davis gets another score on first possession with Gaines at the controls. Thornton takes it at Wright and gets the bucket and 1. DeRozan sticks a jumper and that would be the end of the scoring for the 1st with Raptors on top 25-19.

Wizards shot a terrible 33% in that first quarter. Good Raptor effort on D and poor Wizards shooting combine for that. Kleiza draws a foul to start the 2nd and does a nice job in the post. McGee with his long arms able to get a hook up in the paint with ease. His long arms get him called for goaltending on the other end on an Amir Johnson shot. Gaines doing nothing spectacular, but running the offence well, started a passing play that should have lead to Davis dunk but he could not finish. Wizards got on a bit of a run after that and closed to with in three. Klezia finally getting it drives again and scores. Yao is out for year but NBA still has Yi and he hits one for the Wiz his 3rd NBA team in his short career. Nick Young gets in the paint and gets a hoop and Wiz get to with in just 1. In general the Wiz were getting to many easy scores in the paint but the Raps shooting was very good and they were hanging on to the lead as a result. But eventually the team shooting from 2 feet should ultimately get the advantage. Which is what happened as the Wizards take the lead 35-34 on Blatche basket in the paint.

Young gets tagged with a questionable foul but the Raptors will take it with Bargs heading to the line with just under 5 to play and he makes both. Bargnani was getting going as he hit a turn around in the lane. Jose hooking up DeRozan on the break off a Wall miss. It had been a quiet first half for both DeRozan and Bargnani yet the Raptors still were up 3. Credit in large part to the play of Calderon. Still 3 to go in the half and a tight game. Back to back Wizards hoops and the lead was gone thanks to sloppy play by the Raptors. Lewis schools Ed Davis with the pump fake for 3 and the drive and finish. Nice pick and roll executed by Jose leads to easy score for Ed Davis. Lewis missed a chippy on the break but no box out and Thornton crashed the glass for easy 2. Raps doing a terrible job closing out the half and were down at half 47-42. An 11 point swing in that quarter in favour of the home town Wizards.

Calderon had 10 points and 5 dimes in first half. Raps got crushed on the boards in the 2nd quarter 15-5. Back to back turnovers to start the half. Bargnani missed an easy shoot in lane he was 3-12 in this game. An offensive board and Klezia score would quickly be answered by Nick Young. Calderon nails a 3 ball to make it a to point game anymore. If not for Calderon the Raptors would have zero chance in this game he tied it up at 49. This must be a day for the guys I have issues with Kleiza gets a bucket to give Raps the lead. But again Nick Young has an answer. Young is rapidly working his way on to that list of Raptor Killers. Guys like Jamal Crawford, Roger Mason Jr., Mike Bibby and some others that have their eyes light up when they see Toronto on the schedule. Nick Young continued the strong effort with 2 more hoops as the Raps had a 56-55 lead midway through the 3rd. Young gives the Wiz the lead back with jumper over DeRozan and he had 16 in the game. Make that 19 as he nailed the 3 and he had 11 straight points for the Wizards.

Amir Johnson trying to get Raps back in it with the hoop and harm and got the Raptors back to within one. Jose would hook up Johnson again in the post for another 2 to give the Raps a brief lead but John Wall would answer with 2 and Wizards had a 62-61 lead with a time out on the floor. There was 3:40 to play and how would the Raptors close out this quarter? A Lewis 3 ball was not a good early sign. Calderon a long 2 to respond. Wright blocked a shot but Wiz keep possession and Nick Young have himself a game and a quarter making the shot. Lewis handle Ed Davis in the post and gets another bucket Wizards leading 70-63. Nick Young driving hard to the bucket and draws contact from Amir who had made a couple free throws on the Raps possession. Just the 2nd foul on Johnson. Young makes both and lead was 7 once more. Lewis open for 3 and Wiz on a 15-4 run closing out the 3rd up 10. A Davis bucket, then a Gaines 3 at the buzzer but was it in time? The answer would be no after it was reviewed. So give the Wizards a 75-67 lead after 3.

Wizards shot 61.1% in that Quarter and Nick Young was 7-8 in the Quarter. The ball would wind up in Yi's hands on the offensive glass and he scores in the paint. Raptors get the 3 pointer back they lost on the review and it was 77-70. Gaines on the drive and score in the red kicks that likely are from his time with Idaho. Raptors would keep it rolling and cut the lead to just 2 and that was enough to prompt a Wizards time out. Teams would trade misses out of the Wizards time out. Back to back turnovers would lead to a rare Yi Slam in transition. Ed Davis the nice hoop and hard off a nice pass from Julian Wright and he makes the free throw and we were all even at 79.

This game was not a pretty one in terms of style but it was on the Raptors had to win. A chance to take the lead down 81-80 would be rejected literally by Blatche. Wiz would score and Andrea would answer having a good 4th quarter so far with 10 points in Quarter. But Lewis a dagger 3 and sticks it to give Wiz an 86-82 lead. Calderon jumper does not fall and Wiz were building on a lead currently at 6. Calderon with a Steve Nash like drop off for Bargnani for an easy 2. But John Wall answers at the other end to maintain the 6 point edge. Demar DeRozan who had sat for most of the quarter was back in and had the easy bucket in transition but just 7 in the game. Calderon was knocking on the door for a triple double for the Raptors. A feat that has not been done in a LONG TIME. How long? Alvin Williams was that last to do it that long. This was the line 17 points 13 assists and 8 rebounds for Calderon. But the main issue for Jose was the Raptors getting a win, and on that front work to do down 4. Wizards score again and Raptors just can't get a stop. They finally do on a long ill advised 3 from Young and Davis scores easy bucket in the paint and it was 92-88 Wizards. Ed Davis quietly putting together a nice night in front of some friends and family and in their in crunch time. Calderon got a rebound and a bucket and he was 1 board away from triple double and Raps were 2 points away on the scoreboard. Another play getting reviewed and it would go against the Raptors gain. Was a question of who the ball went out off of and the answer was Amir. But both times it was the right call the Raptors just were not having any good luck these days. Nick Young was fouled and sent to the line and made both to make it 94-90. Raps fail to score and had to send Young to the line again and again he makes both. Raps get a 3 to keep hope alive but time was not on there side. Young missed a free throw and opened the door slightly but time would run out on the Raptors chances to win and Jose's big at a triple double. Wiz take it 98-95 would be the final score.

At the end of this one there is a lot of coulda, whoulda and shoulda moments you can point to for the Raptors. But in the end this was a game they had to have and they failed. Full marks to Jose Calderon in this one though. That is rarely said in the DNB in terms of him but the truth is without him in this game the Raps would not have even been in it. Poor nights from both Bargnani and more so DeRozan. This road trip is murderous in nature and the Raptors most likely are on their way to a long losing streak barring some unexpected heroics.

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