Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Too Many Missed Chances; Even More Missed Jumpers
Make no mistake about it, tonight's clash with the East's titan was a big game. With one of the best records in the NBA since December, the Toronto Raptors arrived into Cleveland on a high. Unfortunately, with the lights on (game broadcasted on national TV), the Raptors were unable to come out of it with a victory.
The final score of 108-100 is a bit deceiving, as the team in black and red actually managed to stay with the Cavs for most of the game. Every time the Cavs would make a run, the Raptors would pick up their intensity and throw a punch back. But when the game reached its climatic peak, the spotlight proved to be too bright for Toronto. Outside of Marco Belinelli, the team began to take unnecessary outside jumpers for a majority of the fourth quarter. I'm not sure what was discussed in the huddles, but it surely HAD to involve encouraging the good things they did in the first half...right?
I hate to peg him, but this really falls on Chris Bosh. Out of his team high 16 shot attempts, I maybe saw him drive to the basket two or three times. On one of those, he chose to kick it out instead of taking it to the hole, and on the other, he fumbled. Don't get me wrong, Chris Bosh is a great player, deserving of all the praise he gets. But I'm sure everyone saw how he was getting his points. They were practically all on jumpers of a high degree of difficulty. When you have slower players like Big Z or Shaq guarding you, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to get past them and draw the foul.
Again, it still baffles me how we totally went away from what was keeping us in the game in the first place, and that's taking it to the basket. Why put in a struggling Turkoglu for Antoine Wright, who had seemingly made it his mission to drive into the lane? Why keep a tentative Jose Calderon on the court when Jack seemed to be on tonight? Both Jack and Wright don't view their outside shot as their strength, and yet they were not placed on the floor when the Raps finally cut it down to 3 after trailing by 10 in the 4th quarter. The only sub I didn't mind was Marco for DeRozan, who was being outmatched on the defensive end.
Besides all that, Raptors Nation must move on. It's not like we just lost to the worst team in the league or anything. The Cavs are awesome at home, and they are the best team in the Eastern Conference. What's got to happen next is that the Raps learn from this. The lesson? In the clutch, good teams dig down on defense and take it to the rim. Tonight, the Raps did neither.