From the day the schedule for Toronto Raptors came out I was concerned that this team would struggle despite the changes. I would see all the people so excited and optimistic about this team and think have they really looked at this schedule? I am not sure when it happened exactly but I started to think maybe they can be as good as people are thinking. The reality of things has been much more like my fears.
I didn’t expect Kyle Lowry to play out of his mind and than get injured. While I didn’t have high expectations for Landry Fields, I did feel he was an upgrade. Both were out of the line up last night and the Raptors missed one of them. It started off well and things started to fall apart near the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was just an embarrassment in which the Raptors could only score 7 points in the second quarter. The Raptors record for their worst performance in a quarter was in a second quarter as well in November also in 2003. It was at Washington against the Wizards. It may well be a record for the worst quarter at home in quarter.
Add the fact the Raptors were not stopping the Sixes either as they score 32 points in quarter. Quite simply injures or not, playing good defense or not this team is not good enough to fall behind and play catch-up. They may well prove to be more talented when all is said and done but they are still not a team that can afford to play from far behind.
Dwane Casey says he thinks his team is getting close to a break through. They have played solid games minus certain gaps in their performance. In last night’s game that would be the last 3-4 minutes of the first and the entire second quarter where things went wrong. Casey says he sees a light ahead. Raptor fans might suggest the light he sees is an on coming train.
Normally I would point to Jose Calderon being matched up against Jrue Holiday as big point to why this game went the way it did. But honest Jose did a decent enough job. The issues came in two main areas. Two major issues were the bench which only produced 12 points for the Raptors, and rebounding where Philly had an 11 rebound advantage on the night.
The crowd which was listed as sellout did have some empty seats; they were as inconsistent as the Raptors at times. They would boo at times than as if to try to will this team to a win would cheer at times. Even a fan doing a contest was not safe. He some how thought Las Vegas looked like Seattle and he heard it big-time.
More bad news on the injury front as Alan Anderson who was given the start would leave this game with an ankle injury of his own. Given the situation I would be stunned if Lowry is not back on Monday for Utah.
There seems to be some frustration settling in for this group. The danger is if they fall to far behind digging out of this whole will be difficult.
Casey also has not stuck to his original plan for the rotation. You can say injuries play a role in that. However, the Raptors have been going 11 deep on almost every night and that is not normally a recipe for any team’s success.
In the end it is another loss 93-83 but it flatters the Raptors as it really wasn’t this close. Andrea Bargnani seems to have found his offence as he had 23 points to lead the team in scoring.
We need your help with TWIR this week pick a topic for us to talk about or a question you have. If you have Twitter send it to us there with #TWIR5 if not leave it in the comments on blog.