1/22/12

Raptors Get Slammed In La La Land.

It was likely a sign when the first play of the game was a lop to Blake Griffin for an easy slam dunk. There would be many dunks that would follow. Despite having Jerryd Bayless back for this one it would matter very little. He was not going to stop DeAndre Jordan from slamming it down. Ed Davis wasn't either as he got posterized early. It was the same script as the Raptors have been following of late. They would dig an early hole make a fight to come back only to get slapped down again. But if anything the way the Clippers were doing it to them was entertaining. The first quarter was better than some slam dunk contests. Amir Johnson again with 2 early fouls would be a spectator with 6:24 left in the first. Raptors couldn't hit a barn let alone a basket early in this one(started 3-16) . Caron Butler the better Butler in this game, he hit a 3 with 5:27 left in first and Clippers were up 16-6 and they were as it turns out well on the way to victory. The Raptors by time the first quarter was over had just 11 points and the Clippers had 27 on the board and this game was done pretty much.

Sure the Raptors would put on their spunky little charge back going on an 11-2 run in the 2nd quarter. But it was more a case of the Clippers taking foot of the gas and Raptors taking advantage. A time out and Vinny Del Negro had his troops back and focused and they quickly went right back to work. Raptors would outscore the Clippers 26-22 in the 2nd but still were in a big hole down 49-37 at the half. Clippers would storm out of the locker room and pretty much took care of any doubt early. By the end of the 3rd this in effect became an exhibition game. While the Raptors continued to play it's top players the Clippers had called off the dogs. The final score of 103-91 was not a clear reflection of the Clippers true dominance on this afternoon. The stat line of DeAndre Jordan of 16 points and 16 rebounds with a highlight reel full of dunks was. Mo Williams had 26 off the bench to lead all scorers. The Clippers didn't have Chris Paul and didn't need him as Chauncey Billups had 14 assists despite only 5 points. On the Raptors side of things DeRozan tied his career high in NBA in L.A but that is only 15 points. He continues to have struggles returning home. That will be the Raptors only visit to L.A this year as the Lakers will travel to the ACC next month but the Raptors will not be returning the favour in the shortened schedule. Only 33 points for the Raptors starting 5 as a whole. If not for Kleiza with 16 and Barbosa with 19 the Raptors would have been challenging the team all-time low in points of 54. The Raptors had more fouls (12) than points (11) in the first quarter.

You look for some signs of improvement but in reality the Raptors seem to be the same movie over and over again. If you are a fan of Elvis movies it is kinda like that in a bad way. The story is only a little different but ultimately Elvis will sing a few tunes and act awful and it will be over. Same thing with Raptor games. They will come out flat, get behind big, make an attempt at a comeback only to have it fail. By the end, the game is not in doubt, you have sad faces on the bench and the other team's starters chilling out. This losing streak could go a long time if the Raptors can't find a way to beat the Suns on Tuesday. That will be much easier with Andrea Bargnani who officially has the slowest healing calf muscle on planet earth. D-Wade is second if you were wondering.

Raptor fans based on my twitter account are to the point of being fed up. Not as many folks talking about pounding rocks, much more focused on how this franchise is hitting rock bottom. Which it is hard to argue. No matter if you are rooting for this team to lose and tank or not. Tanking alone will not solve this. This young core the Raptors have claimed to have is not as deep or as strong as advertised. Jonas and the mystery pick in the ultra funky(fixed) NBA lottery is not going to change this team into a winner. The truth is as shocking as it is to say the only piece fans can feel confident in is Andrea Bargnani. This is of course assuming he continues on the path he was on prior to his injury. There is no guarantee he will. That is why his chances of making the All-Star Game are slim to none. He has not played enough games not that anyone has but him especially. He had a great 10 or 11 games to begin the season. If he does not come back as good as that this team will be in more trouble than we even realize.

If you are frustrated and upset with how this team has played....you should be. If you are not than you should be. Rebuilding or Reloading, or whatever Colangelo is calling it these days, this team is not good and quite frankly an embarrassment. The NBA lockout ended and it was suppose to bring basketball back. What the Raptors have been playing the last 8 games barely qualifies as basketball. It could be considered torture in some cultures. I am tired of hearing apologists, let's call this what is which at this point is an epic disaster. They say things have to get worse before they get better. Well it sure can't get much worse. If this remains the same the Raptors need to re-think who is running this team's offence. Along with the people in that offence. Improved D at times is great, but it leads to some ugly basketball until we see some results on the other end of the floor. I can except ugly and winning, but ugly and losing is not good for the soul. Maybe we need co-head coaches. Jay Trinao as your head coach of the offence and Dwane Casey as head coach of the defence. Is that an insane idea? Absolutely, but is it any worse than what I am watching on a regular basis....Not really. This is going to be a long and painful season and the rainbow and pot of gold at the end of it you just might find out is fool's gold.

I used a word that I consider the most scary word in sports today. Apathy, and that is what I am starting to see in terms of the Raptors. Once you have people going that route it is hard to bring them back. It is going to take more than just modest improvement if people truly give up on this team. I for whatever reason and am not one of them. But I am not the one to worry about. If you are reading this you likely are not either. It is the people that are not and basically have become fed up with it altogether that are. This franchise will always have a loyal core of fans. But if it is ever going to grow and not shrink, than things will have to improve at a rapid rate in the next few years. Which is not as likely as it might have seemed starting this season in my opinion.

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