Recapping the game vs. Portland doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, it was a familiar script complete with a fourth quarter collapse. There were a number of things that happened in this game that will have a more lasting impact and will talk about some of those. The game in general was a terrible one from an entertainment standpoint. It was close through the first 3 quarters but not in a good competitive way. Neither team could buy a three, in fact Portland ended this game going 0 for 20 from three which is another one of those whacky records that the Raptors seem to have been a part of this season be it winning or losing. Blazers still won this one going away 92-74.
1: Injuries: The banged up Raptors got more banged up in this one with Andrea Bargnani going down injuring his elbow. He had x-rays that came back negative which is positive as nothing was broken. It does pour cold water on any Bargnani trade talks for the moment as no one is traded for an injured Andrea Bargnani. Kyle Lowry also got banged up and did not come back. It was his back or his shoulder not really sure. He was not playing well most of the night and apparently was trying to play through whatever was bothering him as the injury apparently happened in the first quarter according to talk in post game.
2. Johnson Ejection: It was a really strange situation in which Johnson and the ref ended up wrestling for the ball like two little kids. Some words were exchanged and Johnson was kicked out. If it had ended right there Amir probably gets fined and plays Wednesday. However Johnson after learning of his ejection seemed to snap and chucked his mouth piece at the official. That likely gets him a game suspension at least no ruling on this of yet.
3. Frustration: it is reaching a boiling point with this team. The Johnson ejection was just the most obvious example. But you saw at the end of Clippers game frustration as well. It has been on of the toughest road trips in recent memory for the Raptors. Raptors go 0-5 on the trip that ended last night in Portland. A lot of frustration seems to get directed at the other team or the refs but some of it has been with each other at this point.
4. Change Gets Even Harder: If Bargnani is out as mentioned that kills any trade options with him. It also means any package deals with him and Calderon go out the window as well. Colangelo went on record that he has no plans to fire Dwane Casey. While if you fire him than you almost certainly are going to have Ed Stefanski step in be on an interim basis or they could make it a long term hire. Neither option appeals to me at this point. So this leaves the Raptors stuck in place with no way to shake things up from a roster point of view really.
5. Fan Anger Meets Frustrated Team: This could get ugly at the ACC on Wednesday with a possibly under manned Raptors team going against a more talented Brooklyn Nets team. Fans meanwhile are frustrated as well and the ones that show up at ACC on Wednesday likely will not have a long leash in terms of supporting the Raptors.
In short this team is 4-18 and a complete mess at the moment. No one is happy and no one should be.