No Defense, No Wins For Raptors

By Clinton Hosannah
Updated: November 24, 2008

Toronto Raptors TORONTO — It’s not the loss to the championship team or the incredible play from the Celtics that was the hardest to swallow; it was more the disgusting lack of defense and lackadaisical play from the Raptors’ starters and the bench that has yet to show up to an NBA game this year that has Toronto fans in a state of shock about a terrible game at the ACC on Sunday.

The Celtics are a great team, so are the Raptors. But how does an NBA team allow another NBA team to shoot 64.9% from the field and expect to win, when they only shoot for 37% from the field?

The Raptors played virtually no defense in a 118-103 loss that they should have used as an opportunity to build back some much needed confidence after the last two games that were debacles in of themselves.

“We’re just putting a lot of pressure on the other team’s defense,” said Boston head coach Doc Rivers. “With the way we play defense, if we can score points like that, it makes us feel good.”

Boston is number one in the Atlantic division and the team’s cohesiveness as well as the top notch play from the big three makes it so you expected them to win the game.

If the Raptors made it difficult for them to win and challenged the Celtics ability to score they would have something to be proud of and no one would criticize them. By the third quarter, Boston had 26 more points in the paint than Toronto. It was Kris Humphries and Chris Bosh who showed any grit in the paint.

They just didn’t have any help. Where was Jamario Moon?

13 games into the season and you would think Moon would be ready to make his presence felt. He has the athleticism but acquiring heart and game IQ are not always a matter of rote.

As a matter of fact the Raptors’ bench has been visibly struggling on a whole. It is especially telling when a forty point and eighteen rebound game from Chris Bosh against Orlando, still results in a loss for the Dinos.

How will the Raptors adjust for upcoming contests?

“The past two games were bad. So we’ll go back and break down tape and tighten it up,” said Sam Mitchell. “It makes it tough considering the way we lost the Jersey game and then come back and play the way we played today, but it’s early in the season and there’s a lot of basketball to play.”

“Up until the Jersey game and the Boston game our defence was pretty good, we just got to get it back. Everything that happened out there we can repair.”

The Raptors can reverse this trend. The inadequacies seem to come from a mental breakdown. Anthony Parker, usually a leader from the rank and file took the blame for the New Jersey loss.

That’s arguable, he did come up with a big three in that game’s overtime play that kept hope alive for the Raptors. In that game like in the Orlando contest and this Boston loss, where was the second string. At times it seems like will Solomon works for the other team.

Roko Ukic has the speed but lacks control. They both have no plan for a play once they’ve passed half court. Yes they are both new to the league, but Jose needs some help, although Roko’s efforts could allow him some leeway, Solomon needs some more development.

In regards to the team on the whole A.P. had this to say:

“We’re still a group. There are no chinks in the armour as far as that but when you lose a couple, especially at home, people are going to start pointing out stuff. What about this what about that? When you’re winning all those things kind of get overlooked. That’s the reality of the situation.”

Not much of an answer regarding a weak bench but he makes a good point. So where can the Dinos improve as it relates to utilizing their bench? With O’Neal injured they have to use Humphries more.

With his presence under the rim, teams will have to collapse to the paint. Hump could dish to Chris who can score from inside or pass out to one of the Raptor’s many perimeter threats.

Speaking of which; Kapono is underutilized. No field goals or attempts in almost nine minutes of play against Boston. That is ridiculous for a player of his ability and basketball intellect. Is it time to blame Sam Mitchell?

This writer thinks Mitchell is a calm cool and collected coach but Mitchell plays his team from a reactionary position. It is like he tries to thwart the other team’s efforts instead of playing Raptor bal and forcing their opponents to adapt to that game.

With the Raptor’s inside and outside ability and the speed plus athletic ability of the big men, 6-7 is not cool.