Playoffs? Playoffs? I just hope they can win a damn game. Too much panic for game two of the Pre-Season right? The Raptors on defensive end of the floor have been pretty awful through two games. Which makes this even more concerning is that is suppose to have been the focus for the Raptors in training camp. The Raptors showed no sign of a pulse on defense last night against Minnesota. The Raptors were able to keep pace in the first half because Minnesota was about as defenseless as them. But in the third quarter the Raptors got torched 28-16 that was enough to roll on to a 101-89 victory over Toronto.
The Raptors did not have the greatest game on the defensive end in Boston either but a 20 rebound advantage on the glass made up for that to some degree. The Raptors got beat on the glass 41-35 last night at the ACC. Another problem in Boston was turnovers. While they did clean that up a little bit they still had many of the 14 they committed last night turn into easy scores for Minnesota. Steve Novak got his first action as a Raptor and was as advertised going 3-5 from long range. The rest of the team was brutal going 3-17. Dwight Buycks led the long range brick parade going 0-5 from distance.
About the only thing that you could hang your hat on if you are in desperate for something positive was the performance of DeMar DeRozan. He was working in the post and the paint and getting the job done leading the Raptors with 17 points going 6-7 from the field and 5-6 at the line in 22 minutes on the floor.
Some other lines to be concerned about begin with Rudy Gay who was just 2-7 and had just 11 points. Terrence Ross after drawing some praise against Boston was just 3-10 from the field with 7 points and 3 turnovers. In addition Landry Fields was a team worst -18 with just two points going 1-6 from the floor. In the case of Landry you wonder how much is physical and how much is mental at this stage of the game.
The Raptors still have 6 more games to sort this stuff out but also just 20 days until they open up the NBA Season for real. I have alluded to the fact their schedule is challenging to start the season and if we do not see major improvements on defence and shooting from distance they could be in a lot of trouble.
The games come fast and furious in the pre-season as the Raptors will be back at it at the ACC on Friday as Andrea Bargnani’s new team the New York Knicks will pay a visit to the ACC.
A couple of programming notes for the DNB. The Week that was our feature on all the news around the NBA is getting a week off. Stephen will be back next week with all the news of interest from around the NBA. In addition another episode of This Week in Raptorland should get taped over the weekend with me and John Chick looking at the Raptors pre-season so far. It should be out to the masses on Monday.
Lastly you likely heard last night that The Raptor the team Mascot has been injured and unable to do his thing this year as he tore his ACL. I mean this in all seriousness that it was a blow to learn this news. He is one of the most entertaining mascots in sports. I have always been a fan of mascots and think it will be a shame to have a season without him. Someone else will try to fill his claws but it can’t be done. So to the Raptor I sincerely wish you a successful and healthy recovery and hope you are able to continue entertaining us all for years to come.