Scrappy But A Loss For Raptors

I covered this one for The Score so if you want a blow by blow account of this one head over to the link to the liveblog on The Score. It has been a rough weekend for me battling a cold and trying to stay healthy. Raptors have been battling to do the same in terms of getting people healthy. No Bayless, Weems or Bargnani today. I will just offer a few thoughts on this one that was a Celtics win 93-79.

First thing for me in this game was how would DeRozan do?

Coming off a career high going against a player in Ray Allen who has caused him fits in his young NBA career. The answer was pretty good scoring wise with 27. He should have had more in terms of he missed 3 free throws and should have got more calls then he did. He had 5 turnovers which is not good but he was looking for his team mates and not just focused on getting his. Celtics are very good on D and against a lesser team a few of those turnovers would be assists against bad teams. The defence has a long way to go. But even with some of the greatest stars in this game the last thing they developed was strong defence. He did have 3 steals in this game and as he learns can really be effective when he learns how jump the passing lanes when opportunities are there. I said at the beginning of this season the most important thing this Raptor season would be the development of DeRozan and I still believe it. The signs that he can become very good are growing and he is a guy that works very hard. I am confident that Demar can be very good in this league.

I am Sorry Jay Triano....

I admit that I am starting change my opinion of Jay Triano. This team with all it's injuries could just roll over and die and no one would be surprised. However this team is playing hard for Jay Triano. That is one of the things I respected the most about Sam Mitchell, he demanded his team play hard and if they didn't he would place your butt on the bench. Jay Triano's team is playing hard for him. This team did not do that with Chris Bosh. Is it Bosh's fault or Jay's for not being as demanding as he is now when Bosh was here. Jack Armstrong said to me when we were talking about Triano that you can't coach on egg shells. Well this year Triano isn't and the team as a whole is better for it. The difference in 3 games vs Boston has been eye opening from this season to last season. In the games last season Boston basically punked the Raptors and they knew they could go out and push them around. This season the Celtics have had to earn everything and no longer seems like a bully of the Raptors. Toronto is the only team in the Atlantic to beat Boston. I may never be the biggest Jay Triano supporter. I still have some issues. But if this team will give this effort then I will live with my issues about Jay. At the end of day the record is not good but if Triano carries on in this direction the Raptors can be a team that with better talent both through development and adding new players can be successful under him. I was not convinced of that in the past. Is he the answer to win an NBA title or coach this team when the day comes they are a legit contender? Not sure on that. But for the moment he is getting the most out of the team more often than he doesn't

Little Moves Work Well For B.C....

Joey Dorsey had 13 points and 13 boards and was a late season pick up for Colangelo. 30 NBA teams could have had him. Bryan took a shot and has found a decent player that will battle on the glass and fill a role for you. B.C kinda missed the boat on Marco Bellinelli but in true B.C fashion he did not take long to correct his mistake. Julian Wright got off to a bad start as a Raptor. But he is quickly gaining respect for his effort energy and hustle and many Raptor fans want to see Julian Wright get more minutes. B.C has always done a solid job at finding role players for the Raptors roster. It is the big moves that have been the problem. I am not sure Kleiza is considered a big move but I remain unimpressed with his play. Granted he has picked it up with Weems out. I still just think he forces his game at times and is not as good a 3 point shooter as he thinks he is or this team thinks he is. Barbosa struggled today but I liked that move much more as he unloaded another mistake in Hedo Turkoglu. B.C next big moves have to be right. This off-season once the CBA is sorted out is going to define the Raptors future for the next 5 years. If Colangelo misses after setting himself up with cap flexibility with the Peja contract and Bosh Trade exception that will be the final straw in terms of Colangelo.

Raptors Getting Some Warriors....

Amir Johnson and Jerryd Bayless have shown toughness that we have not seen since Alvin Williams wore a jersey and not a suit for the Toronto Raptors. Bayless could not go today likely because he pushed it to hard to try to play. While Amir with a bad back has played through the pain and played like a champ while doing it. Even Jose Calderon today I will give some credit for sticking with it and playing through pain. When you have guys willing to pay the price and play through pain it makes it hard for anyone else to not do the same. It can be a fine line between being hurt and injured and I would rather have a guy that pushes that line to the limit than a guy like Vince Carter.

This Team Can Rebound....

One of the many concerns I had heading into this season was could this team compete on the boards night in and night out. The answers appears to be yes they can. Andrea Bargnani still might not be rebounding it and being injured he really won't. But Johnson, Dorsey, Davis are all working hard on the glass. It is rubbing off on others too DeRozan had 6 today...Kleiza had 9. Raptors have becoming when they are playing at their best a scrappy team that will battle on the boards. They lost the game today but won the battle on boards. Also they are getting after it on the offensive glass and getting points out of it.

At the end of the day the Raptors will not be a playoff team. But they are showing more of the intangibles it takes to be one than a team that fell a game short of post season last year. It seems easy to stick the blame for that all on Bosh. But in reality it is also how others acted in relation to him that was part of the problem. Nothing was stopping people from stepping up and doing the right things. I will give you an example from the Raptors past. Vince Carter was injured and out for the rest of the season. The Raptors playoff chances looked bleak. But Antonio Davis would lead this group on an incredible run and make the post season. They were minus Chris Childs meltdown almost able to upset the Pistons winning in 5 games....back in the old days before 7 game first round series. No one stepped up when Bosh went down and did that for that Raptor team. Now with him out of the picture some guys are stepping up and some are expected and others are not.

Ok so that didn't have a lot to do with the game today. But they are some important observations sparked from watching today. Also you have to give it to Raptor fans with a sellout for a team that is 11-21 prior to today's tip. Granted I am sure a lot of Celtics fans helped make that happen, but still the Raptors continue to draw fans in what is a challenging season at best. Raptor fans are some of the best in the NBA and they deserve a winner.

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